Krishna, An Author, Shares His Experience Of Being A Prisoner Of Autism

4 minutes

In December 1971 when Krishna was born, Jalaja Narayanan was happy to have a healthy and beautiful baby like him. Like any mother, she had several dreams for her child.

“I wanted him to be a great scientist. I wanted him to be a neurosurgeon. At times, I thought both.”

But soon her dreams were crumbled as her son did not walk or even utter a word even after his first birthday. He had not interest in toys and didn’t like being held or cuddled. At the age of 2, he was behaving differently by looking at his hands, flapping them, hitting his head against the wall and getting hyper tensed with strangers to name a few.

“He was that withdrawn and lonely,” remembered Jalaja. She said, 

“I had another child Malini two years elder to him. So I knew there was something wrong with this child. But those were the Seventies, and there was nothing available on autism. The doctors didn’t know how to diagnose autism, even in the US.”

When Krishna was a  year-and-a-half-old, the ignorant doctors diagnosed him deaf. They said he would never hear a sound.

“That was the first diagnosis,” says Jalaja, “but I didn’t believe her because I had noticed him turning when the telephone rang, but not when we called him.”

At four, at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, Krishna was diagnosed as severely autistic. The doctor informed Jalala that he would never understand the human voice.

“I was all alone with the diagnosis, and I didn’t know what it was,” she shared.

“When the doctors said my child would never understand human speech, I told them, no, I will make him understand. They asked, how? I said I have 24 hours a day. They said you cannot overbake a cake. I said, don’t say that about my child, my child is a living being. He’s not a cake.”

Krishna had heard and even understood what was happening around him.

At 24, Krishna wrote,

“To my parents, I was not dumb. In reality, I was never dumb. I knew the alphabet, I knew many words, and I knew how to fashion sentences. The tragedy of autism is being unable to communicate in words. An autistic’s mind is normal, even brilliant, but the complete absence of verbal expression makes his behaviour totally misunderstood. To the world, I was weird and insane, given to funny movements with no speech. To me, I was normal in intelligence, feelings and emotions, but afflicted with a debilitating disease that robbed me of speech and coordination, and endowed me with enormous tension and fear.” 

Time and again Krishna was made to feel different. At the age of four he often got scared inside an elevator. To distract himself, he would stretch out his right hand and watch his fingers. The security person in the life ridiculed him for doing this. It hurt Krishna, but he was living in a silent world. Such incidents often occurred with him.

Jalala, a Carnatic singer herself sensed her child’s ear music. Music helped him calm down. Krishna who use to whine all night started sleeping well with the help of music. Years have passed and Krishna is a profound writer. He expresses himself through his words.

His first book, Wasted Talent: Musings of an Autistic, co-authored with his mother was published in 2003. Ever since he has written several books about what it feels to be autistic. He is an avid dreamer. He dreams of learning more mathematics and teaching young students. He also dreams of the US Congress allocating enough funds to research both Eastern and Western treatments for autism. His third dream is that the world will not abandon him to an institution when his parents move on.

His final dream is, ‘An angel would descend from heaven to marry me and give me happiness and a family.’

As he asks, what is life without dreams?

We celebrate the #BraveSpirit of Krishna and his family for looking at the brighter side of life and not giving up. We hope the world understands autism better through him!

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