The years have not lessened the pain of losing their mentally challenged daughter Ammi but have spurred Ashok Trivedi and his wife Meenakshi to run free counselling sessions here for parents whose children are similarly afflicted.
The Trivedis were shattered when seven-year-old Ammi died in 1997. They had tried their best to save her, but nothing helped. After her death, the couple decided to help other mentally challenged children by sharing their hardships and experiences with their parents.
Trivedi and his wife have been holding free counselling sessions and training programmes in the city for all such challenged children and their parents for the last eight years.
'Each mentally challenged child reminds us of our daughter. We want nobody to undergo the pain that we suffered. But you never know what is destined for you, so all we can do is to make efforts. And we are doing it,' Trivedi told IANS.
'The passing away of our daughter left us in great distress and loneliness,' he said. We give free advice on the basis of our experiences.
Sometimes, hearing the pathetic situation of some of the parents makes it very difficult to control our emotions, especially as we too have faced a similar situation, he said.
He runs the training programme with the help of wife Meenakshi and their two children Mohita and Akshay. Meenakshi's long association with several local centres for mentally challenged children has been a great help, said Trivedi.
The training sessions are run generally on Sundays. 'It is not like any class room teaching. We train the children while playing with them, because if you want to help them in any way then you will have to see the world with their eyes,' he said.
He cited the example of one such child Ranu who due to her mental retardation could not move her limbs and palms.
We told her to play the character of a fish in order to get rid of her problems, said Trivedi.
She now pretends to swim like a fish, which makes her stretch her limbs and palms. The results are positive, he said.
The Trivedi family also runs an awareness campaign on mental retardation of children.