By MUHAMMAD YOUNIS
Crossing a maze of corridors in Kashmir University’s Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmir (MAK) hostel, a breathless Javaid finally reaches Room 101, the place he shares with his friend Tauseef.
All perspired, Javaid has only walked a few steps from the main door of the hostel. It is his physical limitation that makes even a distance of few metres feel like a mile. However his friend and roommate Tauseef ensures that a tired Javaid rests but never gives up.
Common people make normal bonds but the special make exceptional. And among those specially-abled are Javaid Ahmad Malik (23) from South Kashmir’s Kokernag and Tauseef Ahmad of the same age, from North Kashmir’s Baramulla district. This unique duo shares a common room in Kashmir University’s MAK hostel, where they have come to bring their dreams to fruition.
The story of Javaid and Tauseef is very similar; both of them have a certain kind of disability in their bodies. Javaid has an “unnamed problem” in his joints which do not work properly hence landing him on a tricycle to move out. Tauseef shares the same problem but in his right leg only, which he has to hold tightly near the knee by the hand to walk a step.
Javaid while coming out of the dining room of the hostel, where all the student boarders gather for lunch or dinner, rests once in the middle of the corridor; on the stairs; so that he invigorates to take further 15 to 20 steps to his room. “I get hell tired after walking few meters; my breath pants,” says Javaid.
Javaid is not the only person in his family facing this problem as his younger brother and sister also suffer from it.
“When I was little, I would go to school on foot but as I grew older my body started to grow bulky; hampering my desire to walk normally on my legs,” says Javaid who uses a tricycle to go to the Political Science department every day where he is enrolled in Masters Programme in the subject.
Javaid, whose limbs are too weak to pedal the bicycle, has never thought them an impediment to take a long walk in his academic life. 81 percent marks in 12th and 61 percent in graduation, Javaid aspires to pass his Masters degree with flying colours and bring laurels to his family and teachers, who have always been there to encourage him.
Unlike some healthy people, Javaid is fully satisfied with his life. “When I see people healthier than me, it bums me a little but when I see those who are weaker than me, it gives me a hope and that hope has afforded me unbounded satisfaction.”
Javaid however misses a lot, his going out in the woods at his home village, when he was able to walk. “We would go for shepherding the cattle in the woods at Kokernag but now when I’m home I spent major time of the day in reading and sleeping,” says Javaid while struggling to hold the handle of a cup of tea by his right hand to take a sip.
Meanwhile Tauseef, who is doing pursuing his Masters in Commerce from University of Kashmir talks about his life. Tauseef had been fine till he was seven years old but fate had ordained a different life for him afterwards. In his childhood, when he was playing on a frosty winter day, his friends had shoved him in icy cold water wherefrom he couldn’t come out for four hours. He had fainted and when was drawn out of the water, his whole body was paralyzed.
“For twenty days I was in deep oblivion. My mother took me to every doctor of the valley. Though my other body parts recovered but my right leg couldn’t,” he said.
The duo goes back home after a month or more and prefer to concentrate on their studies only.
“Tauseef goes home after one month and I mostly go after three,” said Javaid.
“Our parents want that we shouldn’t think much about our family but to study more and live our dreams,” he said. Javaid wants to qualify the National Eligibility Test (the qualifier for lectureship) and be a teacher. “I’m confident that I can be a good teacher,” he says.
His friend Tauseef believes that they are the truly specially abled as they get lot of attention, care and supplications from everyone. “We love the way people treat us, but it is encouragement that we seek and not sympathy,” he said.
The duo have been living in room 101 of the MAK hostel for the last nine months and their friendship has become so intense that they are afraid of the day when they would be leaving the hostel. “I would miss Javaid a lot. I would always be in touch with him,” said Tauseef, who considers that nobody in the world would have cared so much about Javaid as him; as they understand one another very perfectly.
“We are friends forever,” they both said in unison.