The seventh debut of Miracle on Wheels (MOW) held to an overflowing audience at Midlands Convention Centre last night awed all present once more. There were school children, the elderly, workers and professionals, many coming as families and friends from the community from around Klang Valley area and beyond who were priviledged enough to take up the invitation extended by MySkills, the organisers with a vision. One family came from as far as Butterworth, staying back in a hotel, and sacrificing daily rated wages, to watch the performance after spending time with their son/brother enrolled in MySkills.
A twelve year old was very appreciative of MOW. He termed MOW different and outstanding. His boy shared with Mr Krishnan that it was trully worthwhile starting his school holidays by being at the performance of MOW. For Jude Benjamin and his friends who are used to efforts of groups with the disadvantaged, the whole programme was beyond expectations, both the performance and the story of MySkills.
Our cameraman, Rama, who is usually very busy focusing to take his shots, shared that these performances ( he was at four venues) were something different. He was spell-bound he said. He was so energised that the pictures he took were better than what he expected. Throughout the shows, he kept talking to himself “ I must take perfect pictures”( perhaps this self-talk was an outcome of a recently conducted coaching session by Mr. David Nair of IXL ). Meeting new people each time, Rama seized the opportunity to promote MySkills too.
Dr. Pasha took time off before the show to share his feelings, experience and message. Sitting at the far end of the hall, he was also communicating with his team who were on the stage, from time to time, just using sign language. One can appreciate this fact bearing in mind the distance involved. This simply adds to the abilities. Reflecting on his experience and the team’s unique to Malaysia as opposed to their performance globally (Europe, Middle-East, Russia, USA etc), he shared that the experience was a spiritual one. Bearing in mind that the Indian land mass was once connected to this region (South East Asia), it was like coming back to roots, with the work of Miracle on Wheels reflecting ancient cultures.
It was all the more special on several counts. For one, it was the group’s first performance in South East Asia and Asia, outside of India, Nepal and some venues in the Middle East. This was echoed by Mahiraa . It was very exciting for launching Miracle on Wheels for the first time and in addition, for the first time, going all over in seven venues in one country in a short period of time. Usually it has been just one or two performances in one country unless in the USA there are more shows over an extended period of time. Mahiraa says it is an honour and priviledge to have performed at seven locations. After having travelled to far off countries, the idea of coming to Malaysia was attractive, given the regional connectedness.
For Mr. Pasupathi, she said that it was a bold step to take up the challenge to host MOW with an effective and dynamic leadership in addition to the good networking he has. The hospitality and kindness was family like with the whole MySkills team. It has been emotional unlike where everywhere else it has been commercial, without interaction. With MySkills, the support from all, the team, staff, the boys was tremendous she shared. A relationship has been built. There was lots of care and hospitality, not as part of a job, but coming from their hearts. The MOW performance through MySkills has also been special as other interested potential hosts were capable of only one show.
Another first, according to Dr. Pasha, was also that of one cause supporting another cause. It is a very proud moment, a milestone, an unforgettable experience for Miracle on Wheels, a team of people with special needs, supporting a programme for “normal people” using a common platform. For the team of Miracle on Wheels, its about outstanding abilities while for MySkills, their “disabilities” are what they have missed, related to social, moral and issues of the mind.
Voice of the specially abled
Every member of the specially abled team was very happy to have performed in different locations and seen so many places, said Priya the only female member. For Soonuvarma who is a pure vegetarian, food was not an issue. Seeing so many cultures was exciting too. He added that though people spoke different languages, the audience everywhere is otherwise the same, appreciating their performances. Manoj shared that coming to Malaysia has been different. They did not feel any religious barriers. On the contrary, they experienced lots of love from different people.
On another point, Manoj observed that Malaysia was more friendly for the differently abled compared to India. He referred to the availability of ramps, parking bays and walk paths for the sight challenged. The lack of these facilities in India does not enable them to move about more freely.
Dharvinder is grateful to MySkills for their performance here in Malaysia and for being treated as brothers and sisters, and not as persons with disabilities. Ashiq agreed with him. His message to the boys is not to lose hope. He says “if nobody is with you, don’t be scared. You have will power. Recognise it. Do something you are good at. Adolescence is an age of too much dreaming. Focus on one thing. You can be very good and reach that level of success”.
About abilities and disabilities
Mdm. Mahiraa hopes that the boys and girls at MySkills find their purpose in life, even if its extraordinary and become somebody eventually. “All have big dreams; you have to work hard to make your dream come true. Like the artists, you have to work hard. It’s unconditional; you have to persevere and have endurance. You have to go through hardship. It is the same for any profession. It is not going to happen overnight. Many students ask if they can become stars and go places. Our team has worked hard for anywhere between 9 to 15 years. With the right guidance, which is available through MySkills, you can come up in life”. This is Mahiraa’s advice, one that is also shared by her husband and Guruji as the specially abled refer to Dr. Pasha.
For the audience, Mahiraa wants each of us to remember that “when we see a disabled person, there is some extraordinary talent and not to discriminate them. Each of us is disabled, she continues. Our tempers, our depression are not obvious and so we are seen as“normal people. However, nobody is normal. What is obvious is the broken hand or the missing limb or defected eye and so we discriminate. Those of us with two eyes and two hands may not be able t do half of what the specially abled are doing”. She ends by asking a piercing question “ so who is disabled”.
A restored self
In a strangely almost direct response but totally unknown to each other, a member of the audience, shared the impact MOW had on her with Mr.AK Krisnan. Being the man responsible for filling the hall, together with a committed team working from different locations, he took it upon himself to talk to random persons in the audience. This person, a married lady said that she was very egoistic. She shared “that ego was broken tonight. I cannot match up to this couple (referring to the special needs husband and wife team of MOW). Now I know how much I must give in. I used to argue with my husband constantly, saying I cannot, for everything”.
Both Dr. Prasha and Dr. Siva spoke of the God within each of us. Dr. Prasha believes that we are all creations of God and that God lives in each one of us. We are human beings with different characteristics; some can’t speak, some can’t listen to music. But it is a matter of giving love and living together as one community, reaching out to one another. Dr. Siva, a Director of MySkills, shared about each of us being a temple of God, about God dwelling in us. So, that God dwelling in us, enables us t reach out to those in need. He thanked all present for the support and appealed for continued support for the Mission of MySkillMr. Pasupathi besides joining Dr. Siva in his appreciation and appeal reminded the need for support, particularly the well to do among the Indian community. He referred to the late Tan Sri Yeoh donating to RM 6 Million to…..Chinese schools and RM 2 Million to 19 NGOs, MySkills being one of them. He also appealed to restaurant owners to employ Malaysians, treating them with dignity enabling them proper rest through 8 hours work, proper wages and yearly bonuses. Mr. Deva the CEO of MySkills once more reminded the audience to support financially, through volunteerism as well as to show the way to students in need the path to MySkills.
Dr. Pasha rightly summarised in saying that MySkills does’nt need mercy but rather, it needs opportunity as it created dignity. The audience at different times gave a standing ovation, raising and shaking their hands in appreciation bearing in mind the precense of three persons with hearing impairment. Dr. Pasha and team saluted the audience and MySkills as a way of appreciation. It was the best of the seven performances he said. The feeling of patriotism was high as the night began with the Malaysian anthem after the solo performance of sight challenged Mr. Raman who sang some modern numbers. And it ended with the Indian National Anthem as the Indian nationals remembered their motherland while performing in a different country. Till we meet again, on a wider scale for a wider audience across more venues in the not so distant future…..treasuring the memories, the relationships and lessons learnt.
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