She doesn’t need ears to enjoy a song. Nor a speech to hum a song. Prerana Sahane just needed a passion to dance to the rhythm of music. Prerana conquered her deafness and muteness to write her own destiny. Prerana, who suffered from hearing and speech impairment since she was 6 months old has been excelling in Bharatnatyam since the last 16 years.
Despite the fact that she can’t listen to the music, Prerana feels the beats and dances. Prerana did her first dance performance in 2007 in Pune after which she has not looked back.
“We feel fortunate that she’s born to us. We are so proud of her. Even normal children can’t do what she has done. She is a God gift to us,” her parents say beaming with pride. But life was not that easy for either Prerana or her parents.
The 26 year old Prerana was born to the government school teachers of Keshav and Ujjwala Shahne in 1985 in Chakhan, Pune as a normal child. But fate had other plans and when Prerana was only 6 months old, she suffered a paralysis attack “Her entire body and body organs crumpled because of it and we were like struck by lightning. Her legs and below waist body stopped functioning and her sensory organs were also not functioning,” Prerana’s father Keshav Sahane said. He used to massage her with ayurvedic oil which he believes made her able to walk on her feet again. “By the time she turned 3, she recovered fully except that the hearing and speech impairment remained,” Keshav Sahane added.
“At that time, we were in such a state of shock that we had decided to end our lives. We had never seen a deaf and dumb girl. We had no money, we lived in a small village Chakhan in Pune and we had no clue as to how to bring her up,” Prerana’s mother Dr Ujjawala Sahane, a PhD in Marathi, said. Ujjawala’s sister, a gynaecologist by profession, came as a guide to them. She brought us a Helen Keller book on deaf and dumb and sat to encourage them the entire night to bring up their daughter as a normal child.
“Entire night she was explaining to us and when the first ray of sun struck, we decided we’ll make our daughter an inspiration in our lives and we changed her name from Priyanka to Prerana,” Keshav said.
The upbringing was a difficult time for the parents. Prerana didn’t understand school; she had to stay alone at home because both the parents had to teach at school. “She used to travel one hour for school from Chakhan because of which later we shifted to Pune. But despite all the difficult times there was no shame or embarrassment when we used to go out or introduced Prerana to our friends and relatives. We used to make her interact with other people. Prerna always interacted with normal children, had normal friends throughout childhood. We considered her a God gift to us,” Keshav said.
Keshav has a word of advice for the parents of such special children. “If we encourage them, they are not less than normal children, they just need help. And there is no need to get embarrassed.