Nivedita Vasant tells that being spastic does not deter her from living her dreams

I was all jittery to meet 22-year-old Nivedita Vasant. My fear was how would I be able to communicate to a spastic? Will I have to talk slowly? Will her mother speak on her behalf? Will a question offend her? Will I even be able to get something to write about? Once I reached her residence, Nivedita’s warm welcome and clear speech clubbed with the best smile ever, put me to shame. As I sat across this youngster, it was not a disabled person that spoke, but a beautiful young girl with dreams, hopes and aspirations.

In spite of her physical limitations she is an achiever. Nivedita was born in the fifth month of gestation and weighed only 1.5 kgs. Having lived her first five years as a “vegetable” to becoming a musician, Nivedita has beaten all the odds. Today, she is not only a graduate from Christ University in computer applications, but also a pianist, music composer and a self-taught guitarist with the help of youtube. That’s not all, she is also learning German from Max Mueller Bhavan. “I celebrate life everyday as each day brings new challenges that I have to face ,” laughs Nivedita.

In fact, Nivedita’s laughter is so infectious that I find myself joining in too.

Are you always so happy? “Yes, I am,” she replies and asks me how I got to know about her and adds: “I am thrilled that I am being interviewed. I took to music at the age of seven. I started with Indian classical music in Arya Samaj, Indiranagar. But people there did not know how to teach me so I stopped going there. Later I met my piano teacher Kripa Noronha who gave her best to work with me. That’s how I got into western classical music,” laughs Nivedita again. Today she has passed her grade seven in piano.

“I started with the keyboard and then ventured into playing the piano. The difference between the two is that the keyboard’s keys are very light and you cannot express yourself well. Whereas the piano has heavy keys and as a musician, you can find new ways of expressions.”

What made Nivedita take to music? “It makes me happy. I believe there is music in every heart.”

Nivedita then explains that every piano teacher she worked with was different from the other. “With Kripa I was only playing from the book. Then it was Usha Aron, who insisted that I write my piano exams as she found a ‘lot of potential in me’ and got me hooked to the piano. Now with Neccia Majolly, I am enjoying music at a new level.”

Nivedita was so frail when she started playing the piano that her mother had to “tie” her to the chair to “keep me from falling,” says Nivedita, who has also started performing on stage. “To achieve so much feels so great. People applaud me wherever I go. Especially The Catholic Club, which has encouraged me a lot.”

Nivedita has won numerous prizes at talent competitions. She has also learnt to resolve her own problems. She has “sweaty palms” so she prefers to play the piano either early in the morning or late evenings. She is “inspired by Ludwig Van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Yiannis Chryssomallis, and Frédéric Chopin” and soon plans to do a diploma in music.

She also loves technology. “It inspires me in my work. I like to read on the net, connect with people on Facebook and also write my blog. Apart from that I like chatting with my friends and listening to music”. She is right now looking for a job in the IT sector and says that she enjoys coding and designing. Nivedita also dreams of driving a car one day.

Before we part she plays a piece on the piano for me. She is so unselfconscious of how she looks to those around her that she forgets the physical world around her. The passion with which she performs is deeply moving and leaves me feeling really blessed meeting her.

“The only gift I can give the people who come to listen to me is my smile. That’s how I want them to remember me.”

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