Kruthika Ramakrishnan is a young woman who prefers the term ‘differently abled’ than being referred as special. She is an individual with a huge bundle of dreams of being an entrepreneur and someone who along with her brother Koustubh is striving to keep the written word in the form of handwriting alive.
Kruthika talks about life, family and Wrilax an organization that is trying to make a mark for the written word through handwriting.
She is also an individual who has over 90% hearing impairment problem but has refused to let her impairment be a barrier in going ahead with her dreams thanks to a super supportive mum.
“I was said to be a lovely bubbly child, and playful and naughty like any other. I couldn’t speak, but I would understand everything that everyone was speaking from their facial expressions or body language. I used to hear someone ringing the doorbell, or the cooker whistle, the telephone ringing and so on, so no one in the family suspected that I was having hearing problem.
They only assumed that I was late in speaking. Only till I didn’t speak even after I turned 3, I was taken to ENT specialist and the hearing problem was known. But my hearing or speech didn’t hamper my other works. I was good at drawing, colouring, dancing, I used to keep my toys and things very organized and I used to be empathetic towards everyone for everything, and I was a loving doted child.
My family realized when I was around 4 because I wasn’t speaking till then, and I was found to have 90% hearing loss. It was then doctor advised me to wear hearing aids, be sent to special school, learn only one language-preferably English and so on.
My parents got the hearing aids. With that my hearing improved, and with that I began to speak little by little. I got excellent speech therapy provided by a therapist for a few months. After that it was my family trained me and helped me learn all words one by one.
But my parents didn’t want me to stick to one language, and that too only English. They firmly believed that letting me learn the mother tongue would help me greatly. So my mom taught me Tamil words too, later slowly I learnt Hindi too, and after coming to Kolkata picked up little Bengali too.
I never even learnt the sign language, though I was lip-reading till I started wearing hearing aids. When I taught calligraphy to the children at the oral school for deaf, I realized that my problem is no longer a problem. I had started seeing myself as a new person.
I am currently pursuing my Post Graduation Diploma in Human Resource Management. I have done courses in Calligraphy and Graphology and shortly taking up a course in Graphotherapy.
I am managing my own venture – Wrilax with my brother Koustubh. Wrilax stands for Write to Relax. We want to tell people to take up writing with the pen at least for a few minutes every day to in order to lead a stress free life, because we are all too much bogged down with the mobiles and laptops leading to a stressful environment.
We recommend people to just write anything every day, or learn Calligraphy, a very beautiful art that helps you develop concentration and patience. It is almost like meditation. We also help school students improve their handwriting and by changing their handwriting, we hope to help them correct their behavioural problems.
Kruthika’s mum, Akila shares her point of view on being a parent to a child who despite health challenges didn’t give up, “Kruthika, despite her difficulties, has always been a child and a daughter anyone would love to have. And, I am proud to own her! Yes, bringing her up as a child was challenging, though not tough. That was because her extra calibre and talent more than compensated for her loss. There were times when I used to do nothing but cry thinking about her future, but not anymore. She has overcome all hurdles with love, care, help and support from us. I know I have done my duty fairly well and she can carry on life easily henceforth.”
Kruthika shares, “Life at school was a struggle till class 7 because I was lagging behind in my speech compared to my classmates and I wasn’t having friends because of this. I didn’t get good marks also, and I used to feel withdrawn and depressed. Life became miserable when my school at Delhi failed me in Class 7 not agreeing to promote me.
But this turned out to be a blessing, because otherwise I would not have known success at all. That failure made me stand up and look at life and my problem differently. God gave a change of place by chance and we moved to Kolkata and I got into Apeejay School headed by Mrs. Rita Chatterjee. She guided me like I could never have imagined. With good teachers and good friends and a new environment and unending support from family I bounced back! Then my Loreto College Principal Sister Christine Coutinho, her encouragement and support helped me achieve great heights.
One of my teachers advised me to take up Calligraphy and that it would be an ideal art for me. But at that time I did not take it very seriously but then the advise was lying somewhere in my heart! At Loreto College luckily we had various enrichment courses, and Calligraphy was one among them. I jumped on to it and after that there was no looking back.
Me and my brother want to make Wrilax a household word; we want to create the most innovative, high fashion handwriting experience for people.
One thing I would like to advice parents whose children have such kind of problem is –‘please send them to normal schools if that is possible’. With inclusive education becoming order of the day, normal schools welcome special children with open arms. It is only when you mix up with normal children, you tend to become normal. You can never get that feel in a special school. We are differently abled and unique, but we are not special as the world calls us.”
Mums and stories wishes Kruthika a great successful future ahead and thanks her for sharing her story with us.