Dear Parents,

It was a day at work for me at the bank branch when I got a message on WhatsApp from Anusua Didi asking me if I’d like to contribute a piece of writing for the SAHAS website. Having been one of the first beneficiaries of the SAHAS model of rehabilitation, I jumped at the opportunity to share my story.

My story is extraordinary only because of my parents and their perseverance and dedication in rehabilitating me. I was born with a profound hearing loss of 110 dB in both ears because my mother had an attack of German measles (Rubella) during her pregnancy. I was detected deaf at an early age – 9 months – probably because the doctors were aware of the side-effects of German measles.

I speak fluently in Bengali and English, and know a smattering of Hindi as well. I did my B.Tech in Civil Engineering from NIT Durgapur. I sat for the SBI PO exam held in 2019 and currently am working at State Bank of India as Probationary Officer. If I have been able to come this far with my hearing impairment, your child can also reach for the stars, provided you have the faith and self-belief!

I cannot help but recollect an incident that happened to me when I visited a well-known ENT surgeon at CMC Vellore a few years ago. She expressed disbelief that I had a hearing loss of 110 dB in both ears when she interacted with me and heard me speaking. She even did a couple of confirmatory hearing tests on me to check my hearing loss. When the results remained the same even after three tests, she was surprised and exclaimed that it was a miracle that I am able to talk so fluently even with this quantum of hearing loss.

It isn’t a miracle. It is possible. But only if you have that self-belief and work hard for your child’s oral rehabilitation. I believe that all deaf children can learn to speak and live absolutely normal lives. Do you believe the same?

With love,

Abhik Mukhopadhyay