‘I’m Possible’, a short film, documents Syam Prasad’s battle to overcome hurdles posed by cerebral palsy to become a reputed economist.
The word ‘impossible’ may also be read as ‘I’m possible’ if one is to give the rule of space in language a slip. The same can also happen if one is an incurable optimist. However, there are also people, who can make seemingly impossible things possible with their uncompromising resolve and hard work.
The story of Syam Prasad, a young man from Edakkanam, Iritty, in Kannur district, which was made into a documentary film ‘I’m Possible,’ is one such – the story of a child’s seemingly impossible ascend from the depths of misery to success.
Syam was born to a teacher couple, K. Usha and A.P. Prabhakaran. But he was soon afflicted by cerebral palsy, which confined him to the bed, restricting his movements and delaying his milestones.
The documentary, directed by Robins M. Issac, begins with Syam’s parents narrating how the family came to terms with their child’s physical condition a few months after his birth.
With the help of doctors from Government Medical College Kozhikode, they decided to do what was medically possible to give him a near-normal life. He was unable to do a thing on his own initially. But slowly Syam began to respond to medicines and physiotherapy. He had great difficulty in speaking, holding things and walking on his own though.
When he was ready to go to school his parents, instead of taking him to a special school, enrolled him in a regular one despite his visible disabilities. “Although Syam had problems with the normal movement of his body, he was very sharp in comprehending things,” says Usha, his mother.
The documentary develops through the narrations of different people, including his relatives, childhood friends, doctors, school and college classmates and teachers.
Shot in the same settings, where he grew up, struggled and studied with the help and support of his family and well-wishers, it also covers Syam’s evolution from a physically challenged child to an emerging economist, who has already presented papers in as many as 13 international seminars, including one in Germany.
A post-doctoral fellow at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development research (IGIDR), Mumbai, Syam is an assistant professor at the Central University in Kasaragod now.
Produced by the Alumni Association of Nirmalagiri College Kuthuparamba, where Syam graduated from, the film also asks serious questions about the inclusiveness of our society when it comes to taking care of its differently-abled citizens.
In addition to being a motivational story, particularly to differently-abled people, the documentary also gives valuable lessons on how society and the system should take care of its differently-abled citizens. It also points to the lacunae in the system with regards to its preparedness to accommodate such people in the society’s mainstream in such a way as to utilise their potential for the common good. “When such a child is excluded from society, that is the problem of the society, not his,” says Syam in the film.
Various doctors and specialists, including speech therapists and physical medicine experts, speak about how such children should be brought up in various stages.
“Syam is an inspiring example for the fact that any such differently-abled child can excel and make it big in life,” says former Finance Minister Thomas Issac, who speaks highly of Syam’s achievement in the documentary, which is scripted by Krishnakumar Kannoth.
Syam’s request is: “Never exclude someone from the mainstream of society because he is disabled or less intelligent.”