A pat is all that they seek

POISED TO TAKE CHALLENGES Visually challenged singers belting out a popular number along with one normal person (extreme left)

POISED TO TAKE CHALLENGES Visually challenged singers belting out a popular number along with one normal person (extreme left)   | Photo Credit: PHOTO: K.R. DEEPAK

They seem to forget their pain while entertaining others

It was a memorable evening for both performers and the scores of people who gathered at the `Sagara Tarangalu' open-air auditorium at Ramakrishna Beach on Tuesday. The differently abled have once again proved that given equal opportunities they can match, if not excel, normal persons in their chosen field of activity. The glow on the faces of the gathering and the sound of their claps and whistles as they presented songs and dance numbers from old and new films seemed to make the physically and visually challenged persons forget their personal trauma at least for a while.It was difficult for a person watching from a distance to make out that the performers on the stage were suffering from a handicap. One had to take a close look to understand that they had some disability. Youth went into raptures as Aruna, a visually challenged girl, sang "Innallaku gurthochhana vana... " the popular number from `Varsham'. They responded with whistles and claps as another visually challenged singer Simhachalam joined her to sing the popular duet "Hrudayam yekkadunnado... " from `Gazani'.They listened in pin drop silence as another singer sang the solo "Bommalu chesi pranamu posi chusevu neekidi veduka... " the hit song by Ghantasala. A group of deaf and dumb boys and girls presented an Independence Day dance to mark the occasion. It was clear that the differently abled do not want to be sympathised but seek identification and appreciation of their abilities.The crowd gave a thunderous applause as Dr. NVS Kiran Kumar, orthopaedician and founder of the Krushi Orthopaedic Welfare Society, announced the name of Mahesh, whose dance made Megastar Chiranjeevi rise from his seat and give him a pat on the back at a function in Hyderabad. The youth, who has no legs, had danced with grace."I will operate on the youth and fit light weight limbs imported from the United Kingdom to make him walk. The limbs cost Rs.4 lakhs and Mahesh seeks not just your applause but also your contributions, however small they may be, to aid him in walking," he said and within minutes Rs.13,170 was collected on stage.A little boy Srinivas, who lost both his parents, walked up the stage and contributed Rs.10. Dr. Kiran was all praise for the boy's magnanimity and his determination to study. He announced that the boy was looking for someone to sponsor his studies and a woman from the crowd, M.N. Kumari, spontaneously announced her decision to sponsor the child's education. Zonal Manager of Bank of India D.V.S.K. Murthy who made a personal contribution of Rs.500, handed over the amount collected to Mahesh. Earlier, he donated two tricycles to physically challenged beneficiaries on behalf of the bank. The highlight of the evening was Mahesh's dance to the song from the film `Style'. His facial expressions and use of hands to jump in the air were simply superb and they drew loud cheers from the gathering. The dances by polio-afflicted Deva and group and the Hellen Keller group were the other highlights of the evening.A retired teacher of Andhra University, Jacob Sastry, said that he would strive to secure funds from the Ministry of Social Justice to meet the operation cost for Mahesh.The event was organised by Sramajeevi Charitable Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre in association with Bank of India.B. MADHU GOPAL

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