It was a crisp saturday morning in Gurgaon. I was on my annual family visit. Before landing in New Delhi,I had linked up with Rahul Verghese, chief founder and believer at “Running and Living” a good friend/Samaritan. I had expressed the desire to run with the group. There was a scheduled 5k, 10k run at leisure valley on April 2, 2011. Thanks to my sister Deepa who runs regularly with the group, we both reached the starting point early. After some quick introduction and warm up sessions, Rahul announced that todays run was for –world autism awareness day and the run was flagged off by Sahil and his dynamic mom.
Sahil, is an autistic teenager who radiates with abundant energy, joy, determination, strength and positivity. On that journey of 5 kms with Sahil, he touched my heart in various ways. The sun was shining bright upon us, I could see that many first time runners had stopped, were cramping up, walking, and some expression of pain was evident on a few faces and there was Sahil who leaped above all those obstacles with a smile on his face and completed the 5 kms run and emerged a winner through and through.
I ran 5kms with Sahil and his mom and a beautiful friendship blossomed. In that journey of 5kms Sahil taught me so much about myself, about life, about the things that really matter! I have always believed in running for a good cause, it makes the “running” so much more worth it and gives a sense of direction and purpose and I happily dedicated my run to hero Sahil and his lovely mom.
Being a parent is hard. One has to deal with conflicts, challenges, lack of sleep and privacy, worry, heartache, tears, and the reality of never being able to eat a full meal without interruption. And that’s just with a regular kid.
When you add autism into the mix, you also add the sensory challenges, meltdowns, communication issues, various other autism-related challenges, and uncomfortable stares and rude comments from strangers. Sahils mom and me are good friends and I truly cherish this friendship. I humbly bow to her, for her strength and courage and admire her for the positivity she exuberates. And I know that when I visit Gurgaon the next time I will meet them and together we will go out for a run.
Some people walk into your life by chance, and then you thank God that they did!