The Colours of Hope: ‘My Daughter, A Bharatnatyam Dancer, Was Told She’ll Never Walk Nor Hear’
Ujjwala Sahane was contemplating ending her life when her daughter had a fall that left her deaf and paralysed. A Bharatnatyam dancer today, this is her story of hope.
Ujjwala Sahane and her husband were excited to start their family in 1985 when they were blessed with a baby girl. Things were wonderful until their baby had a fall when she was six months old, which left her paralysed and permanently damaged her hearing centre.
The couple was devastated. Their dreams of Prerana growing up to have a normal childhood felt distant.
'Men Don’t Wear Ghungroos': Smashing Stereotypes, This Man Quit His Job For Kathak
Dance has no gender. When Ghaziabad's Suraj Kumar quit his job to devote his time to Kathak, everyone jeered. Now the same people come to his shows.Read more >
But, as Ujjwala recounts, even in the darkest of times, there is a ray of hope. All you need to do is see it.
This ray of hope in her case was reading Helen Keller’s autobiography, ‘The Story of My Life’. “At least my child can see,” she thought to herself. It was this positivity that became the family’s pillar of strength.
As time passed, Prerana regained her ability to walk with regular exercises. But her hearing impairment prevailed. Her parents were keen that Prerana’s disabilities should never come in the way of her dreams. So, when she displayed a fondness for classical dance, Ujjwala was intent on letting her pursue it.
She terms the bond between Prerana and her guru Shumita Mahajan as “magical”. She says, “Despite not being able to convey the mudras to Prerana through words, guruji never lost heart.” Years of practice were met with success when in 2007, Prerana stunned everyone at her Arangetram — a graduation ceremony in dance.
As Ujjwala and her husband look back on the day they were so devastated that they contemplated ending their lives when they learned about their daughter’s fall, they say Prerana was the best thing that ever happened to them. “It taught us that hope never dies,” Ujjwala adds.
Edited by Padmashree Pande
This story made me
Tell Us More
This Indian Bharatnatyam Legend Chose Her Love for Dance Over An Offer to Be India's President
Rukmini Devi Arundale wanted to transform the way people looked at Bharatnatyam, a dance form which was once performed only by devadasis. She and her husband established a dance and music academy called Kalakshetra at Adyar near Chennai to encourage others to learn such art forms.Read more >