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Updated: January 13, 2014 12:42 IST

Singing away his blues

Shyama Rajagopal
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Sarath Mohan, student at Adarsh Special School, sings with playback singer K. S. Chithra.
Special Arrangement Sarath Mohan, student at Adarsh Special School, sings with playback singer K. S. Chithra.

Having sung with the nightingale, K.S. Chithra, at a recent fundraising programme by Adarsh Special School, Sarath gives out only a well-measured smile when someone mentions it.

Sarath Mohan is on a new high. But he has too serious a demeanour to show his pride.

Having sung with the nightingale, K.S. Chithra, at a recent fundraising programme by Adarsh Special School, Sarath gives out only a well-measured smile when someone mentions it.

He is 22 years old and is looking forward to earn a living. On a wheel chair, affected by cerebral palsy from birth, Sarath dreams of putting together a troupe and longs for companions for singing along with him.

It was only in recent years that Sarath started to dream. To be precise, it was after he joined Adarsh. The school spotlighted his special talent and supported him by providing music training.

His first major platform was the school assembly. And all students and teachers turned his fans instantly. It was at the school that he first learned to hold the microphone in his hand, said his teacher Sarala Ravindran.

He used to go to a regular school till Class IV, said his father N. P. Mohanan, a daily wage earner. After that, it became difficult to carry him as he grew older, he said. For a few years, he was confined to his home in Chottanikkara till a friend told them about Adarsh eight years ago. Adarsh also had a bus that would take him to school and back, he said.

He had been singing in his earlier school and also at some club programmes, but it was at Adarsh that his talents were honed, said Mr. Mohanan. Besides the in-house music trainer, Sarath gets special training in classical music and film music from two teachers, courtesy Adarsh.

“The boy sings well, but had lacked confidence,” said his teacher. “It was after I joined Adarsh eight years ago that I gained confidence in my singing,” said Sarath. He has shared stage with some other singers such as Anuradha Sriram and Radhika Tilak and these programmes have done wonders to his confidence.

A couple of surgeries helped the boy’s hand become more flexible. Nothing has been done for his legs so far.

The only hurdle that he now sees is the Class X exam he is focusing on through the National Institute of Open Schooling. He finds the going tough as he battles Malayalam, English, mathematics, general science and computer operations, taking two at a time.

He wants to take up an income-generating job and he feels singing is his forte. He knows his strengths and weaknesses. “I can’t sing fast songs because of a respiratory problem.” Singing devotional songs and melodies gives Sarath the adrenalin shot to pep him up.

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