I have been greatly amused by a little toddler of late. Barath comes running to me and joyfully hugs me whenever his mum drops by my house. I would get my helper to place the cute little boy on my lap, so that I could hold him and offer him a bite of his favourite chocolate snack.

Even the simple act of being able to hold a child is an achievement of sorts for me.

I have never experienced what it is like to walk or run. When I was eight months old, I was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy.

It is a genetic disease characterised by progressive weakness and degeneration of the skeletal or voluntary muscles which control movement.

Whatever Barath could do, I could not to this day. Oh, how the thought of being carried around like a baby frustrates me. I need delicate, nursing care round the clock.

How I wish I could get down from my wheelchair and play with Barath. He’s so adorable, and the joy on his face never fails to lift my spirits.

As I held Barath with my feeble fingers, it dawned on me that some of my peers are on the verge of being grandmothers themselves. They have adult children who are married.

I have always loved working with children, and my years as a home tutor back in the 80s, where among the most fulfilling.

After finishing my Form Five, I started home tutoring for primary schoolchildren. Those were the days when enthusiastic schoolchildren would make a beeline to my house, and wait eagerly for lessons to start.

They used to bring their monthly report cards to show me how well they had done for a particular test. I rejoiced with them when they showed marked improvements in their academic performance.

Their proud parents would buy me gifts as a token of appreciation. Soon word got around the neighbourhood and my classes grew. Those were the days. I loved teaching and I loved kids, too. And home tuition was a winning combination for me.

Today, I still hold classes, but on a much smaller scale.

I have learned to be contented with life, whatever the circumstance. Sometimes circumstances seem to surround us with a fog that sunlight cannot penetrate. Yet faith, hope and trust in God will enable us to hold our heads high when we find ourselves in life’s valley.

When we learn to look to Him, God will enable us to rise above every challenge.


Beyond Barriers is a platform for sharing and raising awareness on disability issues and any chronic medical condition. We welcome contributions from readers who have a disability or any special needs, caregivers, advocates of disability groups, or anyone living with any chronic medical condition. E-mail your stories to star2@thestar.com.my. Contributions which are published will be paid, so please include your full name, IC number, address and contact number.