The victory dance
It is easy to throw up the hands in despair when things don't go our way and blame it on the world. But what do people like Saylee Agavane do who do not even have the notion that nature has been unfair to them - they dance and dance, celebrate life and make life joyous for others like them.
Born with Down's Syndrome, Saylee may not fully realize how different she was from the others. But the doctor's verdict came as a shock to her parents. Over the years that shock has given way to pride and the pride was further multiplied manifold when Saylee received the "National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities" from the President of India on February 6, 2013. Saylee is a Kathak exponent and trains other disadvantaged children in this dance form.
It has been a journey of courage and determination for the 22-year-old. The parents, after coming to terms with Saylee's condition, enrolled her in a school for special children. But they were always worried about the girl's future.
On the request of the parents, the dance teacher of Saylee's younger sister allowed her to sit in the class and observe the students. Through observation, Saylee picked up the steps and the teacher finally agreed to train her too.
And the result has been outstanding! Saylee today conducts dance classes of her own and teaches children who are similarly afflicted.
The parents say that they have brought up Saylee like any other normal child and she was not made to feel that she was a special child.
Saylee's accomplishments have earned her a name in the society and the parents say that they have come to be recognized because of their daughter. "Today we are known as Saylee's parents," they say.
As for Saylee she says she wants to continue to teach dance to special children. Saylee has won numerous awards including the National Trust Award whose citation says, "Ms Saylee Nandkishore Agavane despite being mentally challenged has chosen a path where she can excel. Though formal education opportunities have been limited, she built up on her potential for dancing. Excelling in dance, she is training number of other children, earning her livelihood and is economically independent. She would be a role model for others to follow and will inspire others to avail and facilitate opportunities to children and young persons with disabilities."
(Sourced from local newspapers)