T. A. Kiran was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was just a toddler. He was visually impaired, couldn’t talk or lift his hands or legs. He would suffer from frequent epileptic attacks. He would need physiotherapy all his life.
He would cry a lot. The only way his mother calmed him down was through music. She got him admitted to a special school called Reach Swasray in Thrissur, Kerala, where he studied till he was 14. He learnt light music here, and also won state-level competitions.
His education after class 7 was completed at the Government Model Boys High School, Thrissur, where interacting with other kids without disabilities helped him with his music. He continued to win prizes in music competitions.
He studied music at Madras University and wrote examinations with the help of scribes.
Things changed for Kiran when he started his BA in music at the Chetana Music College. Being the only special student there, learning Carnatic music proved slightly difficult, the college’s Principal, Fr. Paul Poovathingal, told The Hindu.
“In Carnatic music, one has to maintain taalam, or rhythm, using the hand, along with singing. Coordination of two activities is difficult for those with cerebral palsy. Kiran had to memorise his lessons (due to visual disability). It improved his memory and ability to reproduce. He had sharp listening capacity too,” he said.
Now, 24 and after having fought his disability, Kiran is all set for his debut Carnatic music performance at his college for which he’s really excited. After his performance, he will pursue his PhD in music and also hopes to have a government job some day.