The seven-year old is the lone survivor in the Kaikkakom school van accident in February 2011

The occasional flashes of recognition on his face when someone mentions ‘house’ are the only clue to whether little Irfan is aware that his dream of living in his own house has been fulfilled.

The seven-year old, the lone survivor in the Kaikkakom school van accident on February 17, 2011, has over the past one year shown visible signs of improvement from his previous vegetative state.

But on Sunday morning, during the house-warming ceremony of his new house at Jawahar Nagar in Karikkakom, he was at his relative’s house nearby, under the constant care of his mother Sajini, as infections are still a threat and so large crowds are to be avoided.

Wearing a protective mask over his face, his mother made him sit up on the bed to see the neighbours who had arrived to meet him.

Hopeful condition

“We are hopeful now that his health is improving a bit. He can move his hands a legs a bit and cries sometimes. Since he has a tendency now to roll on the bed, I have to be around all the time. Even when am in the middle of hanging the clothes out to dry, I run back at least 10 times. Recently, he was affected by a serious fever and had to spend 25 days in hospital,” says Ms. Sajini.

The new two-storied house was built with the financial aid provided by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s wife Mariyamma Oommen, his daughter Achu Oommen, and a few relatives. Both of them were in attendance for the house-warming ceremony, along with Shashi Tharoor MP, CPI (M) leader M. Vijayakumar, and the party’s District Secretary Kadakampally Surendran.

At the front of the house is a board which reads ‘Irfante veedu’ (Irfan’s house). Inside, brightly coloured rooms are waiting to welcome the little owner.

“More than the things we say to him, he responds to various colourful items. So, these bright rooms can hopefully activate his mind,” says his mother.