Posted by Dr. Shanti Auluck, New Delhi
The pandemic has made the whole humanity realise the stark reality of uncertainties of life. It needs thorough re-orientation in our thinking and living. Observing Puneet’s response to various kinds of lockdown has been a great learning experience for me.
Puneet my son, has Down Syndrome and is 44 years old.
His first lockdown started in March 2018 when he developed severe spinal problem which ultimately needed a major surgery in January 2019. He lived a life of confinement and pain for almost a year. It was a very tough situation for him and us.
As his life was normalising with partial resumption of his work in the hospitality sector (since November 2019), another disruption came up with Covid-19 pandemic.
His adaptability to new situations, living in now, love for work and structured daily routine, and capacity for love and happiness gives me strength. It reminds me to look at what is important in life rather than endlessly worry about the future.
It has given us time to enjoy basics of life – interesting variations in food, light conversation with each other and helping in household work. Puneet keeps the atmosphere in our house light and fun filled. We keep joking with each other.
What is the secret of Puneet’s positivity in most situations in life? He is a very friendly person with cheerful temperament. Self-reliance and emotional well-being has always been the focus in his upbringing. There has been years of nurturing relationship between Puneet and myself. He has and still continues to respond to my needs and difficulties and vice versa.
Puneet was never forced into doing things. All do’s and don’ts were explained with simple reasoning. He was helped in understanding various options and final choice was left to him. This helped him in being conscious of his needs and likes. It also inculcated a feeling of responsibility with a sense of ownership for what he did.
Learning from Puneet and many boys and girls in Muskaan, I realised the importance of emotional well-being in every child and person. Essential conditions for it are respect for differences, value and appreciation, discipline, sense of responsibility, freedom of choice and competence building.
I started enjoying his world view and it evoked curiosity in me on how our minds and perspectives are shaped. It also revealed the deep conditioning of our minds which make us lose wideness in our perceptions. We adopt a judgemental attitude without recognising and appreciating differences. Slowly with my inner transformation, I developed great deal of respect and appreciation for Puneet. He is a very good companion to me and my whole family.
However, the present situation has heightened my worry and concern about him. What if something happened to us? Limitation is mine. I cannot accept a future for him which makes him live away from family. His sister is in London and the lockdown has closed all aviation facilities. What if he is left alone…