Sherin is an amazing poet who writes words filled with lot of wisdom, understanding and appreciation of nature and humanity, a rare combination in a sixteen year old girl on the Autism spectrum. She is non-verbal, but her writings reflect her thoughts and touch your heart. Doing the Voices from the spectrum is a wonderful learning experience for me as I get to know so many wonderful souls and real super heroes. Sherin, you definitely are a ‘Super girl!’
Let’s get started by chatting with Sherin’s mother, Sangeetha.
Q) Please share your Autism journey with our readers…
This journey helped me and my husband Zacharia understand the true meaning and value of life. We supported each other in tough times and enjoyed every smile of our pretty girls. God has blessed us immensely when He gave Sherin , our non vocal autistic daughter , the ability to express herself in writing from a very young age.
Many people have helped and stood by us in our journey .
I can never forget a late evening in September 2009 when Sherin , then a 7 yr old wrote on a paper ” Do you now understand, how sad i feel?”. She had written it in Malayalam, our mother tongue.
From that day onwards, I encouraged my child to express herself on anything and everything. I started collecting her small pieces of writing , got them printed. It was her first book “Mazhavillu”(rainbow) . This Malayalam book had only 7 copies which I gave to close friends and relatives. At that time the world around us was not ready to accept that a non vocal autistic child could handle two languages with ease.
Sherin loves reading and writing most and soon two more books followed. Now Sherin writes regularly in her blog , both prose and poetry in English and Malayalam and has readers from Brazil to Japan across the globe.
Do visit her blog – http://www.musingsofsher.in/
Sherin was encouraged continuously by our local Autism club, Indian Association of Paediatrics , Kochi chapter and parents of other autistic kids right from her young age. My younger daughter Shreya and many of her friends, their parents and teachers appreciate Sherin for her writings.
The Rain Of Peace Poem
Music to ears, the raindrops fall
Over the trees and manmade towers.
Nothing goes untouched by the spray
That tries to clean every mind and soul:
Where only grime clogs,
Where remains the outlets blocked.
What can rain do but sink deep or
Wander along channels and back to sea.
Give space in your hearts.
Let the cool drops drizzle upon your thoughts
Soak everything hard and stiff
Until it flows as tiny streams.
Wash away the greed
Wipe clean all anger
Fill the hollows of earth with love
Cover the craters of agony with kindness.
When the clouds of intolerance accumulate
When thunder proclaims inequality
And cyclone of injustice brews
Let us hope for peace to shower
Upon you and me.
Sherin’s work was published in the book “Autisic Not Weird” by ANW community of London in 2016.
2017 gave big recognition for Sherin’s work when she won the award by National Trust in their Autistic marvel Talent Hunt. The award was presented at Vigyan Bhavan NewDelhi by The Union Minster in the presence of several dignitaries. It was a dream like experience for us.
Sherin also won first prize in the under 18 category in Asia region for the “Unseen and unspoken” poetry competition 2017 -held by the Common Wealth Youth Council.
A group of reputed English poets from all over India appreciated her with the “Reuel International Prize” in 2017 .
Writing, for Sherin is breathing , her way of expressing her feelings and thoughts and emotions and ideas. We are happy and grateful if her writings make other people happy. She uses her computer or pen -paper or the smartphone screen or the AAC in her tab or even writing on my palm with her finger to communicate.
Our brave soldiers poem
Our India is a vast country
There are many people living without peace of mind.
So many have no roof above the head.
Sisters and mothers searching for daily food.
Everyday is not sunny
Floodwaters inside the house rise steadily.
You sleep sound
For there is someone on your guard.
Very happy are we, secure
In our family’s care
There is no nightmare
That makes us fear.
Surrounds the nation mighty
With lives set for duty
Snow and rain are no matter
Desert winds do not bother
Peace in the ground of In
No power can make her their servile
For the brave soldiers defend the area
Even if attacks seem to challenge.
Dawn to dusk , shells explode
Tact by the enemy who try to invade.
The soldier’s house in the village
Prays- not he be a hostage.
For the nation he gives his life
Proud about him in their grief
The soldier will be forgotten with news
But his blood ; is everyday sun rise.
I have seen the nasty face of autism in her when she had to suffer several co morbid conditions of autism –seizures, sleeplessness, social anxiety, extreme sadness etc. She springs back to her “super girl ” identity (that is what she calls herself) with her reading and writing.
It is a tremendous team work of family ,friends, trainers , doctors, well wishers and total strangers.
Q) Your suggestions for other Autism parents..
Sometimes you may feel sad,miserable…. don’t give up. Do what you think will be useful for your child. Support your child always.
Noe let’s meet the star of the interview – Sherin.
Q) How old are you Sherin?
Q) You write mostly about nature, do you feel more connected to nature?
when we listen to nature we understand sweetness of life. My heart fills with peace and happiness when i observe trees and rivers. I like the calm and quiet valleys and fields.
Earth – A Memory Poem
The calf runs happily
Water dries suddenly
Slow runs the cow as it sees her disappointed calf.
Did the river come to her calf?
Did the fountains spray on the calf?
No, it is only the burning land crying of thirst.
All goats, horses, deer and birds;
Trees they sit and sing;
Drowning in the tears, helplessly.
Earth will be a memory in green and blue.
Man building dwelling places
Gliding in space, with antennae.
“A time was there when man lived on earth.”
Said granny floating by;
In her space suit very shiny.
“Neither you nor me were lucky;
To live on earth our home for ages.
Just the glass slides and jars;
We had never known
The warmth or safety of a mother’s womb.
Every rose must wither
Every tree must fall
But to give their lives
To new lives on earth.
Utter greatness of rising sun
Jewels the dewdrops form
Dancing peacocks and roses red
Waves and sprawling meadows green
Earth was our sea of beauty , of love
Of life, that we wasted on our greed.
Alas ! came the time to forget our earth
With gaping black holes ahead
War and plastic were going to space
Along with mommy Ms.Selfish;
Cows are not needed there nor water
Touch, swipe want more ? tap screen for anything …
Good and truthful lost hope
To live among stars
To head for another catastrophe
Green is no where ;not in memory too
Q) Please tell us about your Autistic Marvels talent hunt win….
I was so happy to get the award from Union Government minister.We enjoyed coming to New Delhi. So many people came to me and congratulated me. Some people were only talking in Hindi. my sister replied them.
We visited places like Qutab Minar. It was very hot. We bought new dresses , bags and sweets.
Q) Your work was recently published in Autistic not weird book, tell us more about it...
I was the only person from India.What the other autistic kids say is what I also want to say . Let us do what we love to do and we will do it the best.
What do you love most about life?
My mysterious journey with my autism is what I love most about my life. It makes me look like a superhero and a stupid at the same time. Most people think I really do not have any goals in my life but sure I do have a wish. Writing gives wings to my thoughts. My autism gives my pen the power to use my so-called disability to enable my fellow beings to live a meaningful life. Our world becomes only richer by the thoughts of autistic people.
Q) Tell us more about the Unseen And Unspoken poetry competition by Common Wealth Youth Council.
What a great honour it was to win the first place in the under 18 section in the Asia region in the poetry competition for people with disabilities. My poem “Mist of Myself” was selected for the first place. My sister recited the poem for the audio/video versions. Thousands of people have watched it. The sponsor of the competition M/s Reed Smith of London selected my poem to be displayed in their office.
The Mist of Myself Poem
From far away if you look
Seldom will you spot
The towering peaks rising
In the mist of myself.
Emerging silent but determined
To tell the world , aloud
Of me ,my wishes ,masked
By the mist of myself.
Valleys teem with colours
Of butterflies and flowers
When the radiant sun shines
Upon the mist of myself.
Dark clouds drift in at times,
To hide the eternal glow
That tries to draw its glory
On the mist of myself.
Down lies only darkness
Above there are stones sharp
You say ,without going deep
Into the mist of myself.
The blanket of loneliness
Thrown to me by the world
Would never warm my soul
When covers me the mist of myself.
I hope to reach my goal!
Understand and guide me!
With the light of love , when
I trudge along, in the mist of myself .
Q) What are your hobbies Sherin, other than writing?
My interests include reading, exploring nature’s beauty, listening to songs on my radio, walking around especially up and down the hilly roads near my Trivandrum house, listen to the wind and watch falling leaves in my grandfather’s house.
I write messages to my dear friend Neerada. I like discussing rich ideas with my uncle by email.
Q) Do you like travelling? What places have you recently visited? Your favourite one?
I liked going to Koorg. I visited a Buddhist temple. I saw many monks and many dragon pictures. Cool climate.
Q) How do you spend time with your sister?
we will go for shopping with our parents and shreya helps me to select my dresses. We like playing together in canals and other places. we take care of our cat. We like to buy ice creams and share with each other.
Sometimes we fight but we love each other.
Q) Would you like to share your future plans with us Sherin….
When we want to make money, we think of a job.
But I want souls of people to change, to be more kind and loving to each other.
I need to grow in wisdom to write down my ideas to create a better world. My words should become clearer. I need to read and observe the world more.
I think very few people are as wise as you are dear Sherin.
Last but not least, let’s meet Shreya, Sherin’s younger sister, her friend and a perfect example of a special needs sibling.
Q) How old are you Shreya? What are you studying?
I am 11 years old . I am studying in 6th in Bhavans Vidya Mandir school
Q) Do you enjoy spending time with your sister? Do you play together or enjoy any other hobby together?
Yes I do enjoy playing with my sister .We go for walks ,we go to meet our grandparents and cousins ,we buy craft kits and games ,we play with our cat Dussiya, we read books together and we do many other things.
Q) Do you feel your sister gets more attention from your parents?
Yes sometimes I feel like that.
Q) Would you like to share your experience of being a special needs sibling?
Yes I would like to share my experience. Being a special needs sibling I get to know more about children like this. Like I get to know what all problems they face and get to know how blessed I am . It also helps me to help children like this when i see them . I am also happy that my sister faces everything bravely.
Getting to know Sherin, reminds me of a quote I read recently :
Sherin has the gift of writing and the support of a wonderful loving family, I am sure she will illuminate the world with her writings. God Bless You dear!
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