They flew all the way from India to Sharjah.
Neha D Thampan, 18, and Ayyapan Adoor 16, are in a league of their own. The duo – authors of a number of books in Malayalam – are proving that even something as debilitating as cerebral palsy can’t keep the human spirit down. On Tuesday, November 5, they flew all the way from India to Sharjah to launch another pair of books together at the Sharjah International Book Fair.
Neha struggled to get admission in a school when she was four. She was born with cerebral palsy, which meant her movement, muscle tone and posture were affected. After running from pillar to post, her mother Jaya T finally managed to secure a seat for her in a government school in Kerala. And there was no looking back for Neha since then. She took charge of her life and with her positivity and willpower, she has authored three books in Malayalam and is in the SIBF today to launch her fourth book, Maruppacha (which in English means Oasis), an anthology of 20 poems.
“I am now studying English literature in a college and although I like reading short stories and novels, I find myself expressing my feelings better through poetry. I wrote my first book while I was in Grade 4, which was mostly about nature and God’s creations. But as I grew up, I started writing about different issues, such as role of women and how the world stereotypes them, how nature is being destroyed by us humans and some other soul-searching questions such as who am I and what is my purpose in this world.” Neha aims to either become a lecturer or crack the Indian Foreign Services exam and become a diplomat so that her job takes her to different places around the world. Although wheel-chair bound, Neha loves to travel and her trip to the UAE for the SIBF is her first ever international trip. “I am grateful to the Indian Association Sharjah (IAS) for giving me a chance to fulfil my dream of travelling and coming all the way here to the SIBF to launch my book. I am so impressed to see how welcoming people in the UAE are for the determined ones like us. They truly make us feel special.”
Apart from being a poetess, Neha is also an artist, has acted in a movie, dubbed for shows and is also a motivational speaker. She said: “The priceless gift we can give to the world is a simple smile, which can spread positivity, that in turn can give positive energy. Tough times will come but remember time will anyway pass, just hold on and stay hopeful.”
Her peer Ayyappan Adoor, who cannot speak perfectly due to the severity of cerebral palsy, also conveys message of love, hope and gratitude through his poems.
Every word is an effort for him, but that has not stopped him from penning his message of hope and positivity through his second book Alamee (My World) that has been translated from Malayalam to Arabic, which was launched at the SIBF on Tuesday. His first anthology of poems was published when he was in Grade four.
Speaking on behalf of his son, his father Pradeep Kumar said this was the second time Ayyappan was coming for his book launch at the SIBF. “Ayyappan first came to the SIBF in 2017 to launch the book in Malayalam and this time, at the special request of Ahmed Mohamed Hamad Al Midfa, a patron of the Indian Association Sharjah, we got the same book translated to Arabic. Alamee is basically Ayyappan’s observations of life and nature. While in some poems, he writes about how humans have lost touch with nature and don’t value it, in others he mentions about his respect and gratitude for his parents who’ve given him unconditional support. “
Sporting a bright smile, Ayyappan said: “I don’t want people to look at us as any different from them. We also want to be a part of the mainstream society and the UAE is a front-runner when it comes to the rights of determined ones. I am grateful to IAS for giving me a chance to come to this great country to launch my book once again. I feel loved and respected here.”
Talking about the idea of bringing the duo from Kerala to the SIBF, IAS president EP Johnson said: “The idea behind inviting Neha and Ayyappan here was to show the world that even people of determination have talent. We want to encourage such children and promote them so that they can live a more confident and happy life.”
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