Words of hope, resilience from a differently abled writer

Maya, who became bedridden at the age of 15, now has three books to her credit

When life dealt a tragic blow restricting her to bed with rheumatoid arthritis at the young age of 15, Maya Balakrishnan could have easily given up.

She never did. And now 35 years down the line, Maya boasts of three books to her credit with the promise of more to come. The autobiographical Naalam Viralil Viriyunna Maya was released earlier this week.

“It’s about my life from the hospital days to the years on the bed, my sights and insights, my near collapse to depression and how I turned the corner after finding refuge in writing. It talks on behalf of all the differently abled while telling the new generation to realise that we also have an identity and that we should be treated with dignity and compassion,” said Maya spiritedly.

Writing proved to be the light at the end of what seemed a very dark tunnel for her. She started keying in on a laptop nearly a decade ago though it wasn’t easy as it sounds. With her joints increasingly getting frozen she had to do it with a single finger.

Social media also came as a blessing as it helped her reach out to the world and brought acceptance to her writings. She is now active in several writing-related WhatsApp groups while reading remains another passion.

“As writing became more frequent I shifted to a tablet as it was more convenient to write lying down,” said Maya. But still, she cannot keep on writing for long stretches and has to intersperse it with frequent breaks.

For someone hailing from Nayathodu near Angamaly, the birthplace of great poet G. Sankara Kurup, poems remain her favourite. She has already penned two collections of poems while more poems and a few children’s stories remain to be published.

With her mother, two brothers and their families steadfastly supporting her literary pursuits, Maya remains confident of coming out with more books. “It is my way of motivating differently abled people like me to keep fighting and remain hopeful,” she said.

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