In Jo's Blog

When Moy Moy was small, Shaila Faleiro – the first trained special educator we ever hired – used to come by our house on the odd Saturday morning to ask if she could “borrow Moy.” Borrowing Moy meant a few hours of fun and games for Moy (Shaila was a wellspring of ideas, plus there would always be Maggi Noodles and hot chocolate) and a few hours of peace and quiet for me. Shaila made it seem like she was the winner, though. She came to “Borrow” Moy Moy.

Paula used to do the same thing. She would come by in the afternoon to ask Moy if she had the time to join her for a walk. I would help Moy Moy get into her stroller and the two of them would march off to the Forest Research Institute or the Tea Gardens or just around Vasant Vihar. Paula always made it seem like Moy was doing her the favor.

Smiling girl in pink with her mother and sister beside her in blue and green respectively


Lately, however (and you know I hate to complain), Moy doesn’t get many requests for her company.

Maybe people think she’s too busy. (She’s not.)

Maybe people think taking her out is complicated. (It isn’t.)

Maybe people think we’ve got it all under control. (We don’t.)

The fact is: everyone needs a social life. Everyone needs friends who aren’t controlled by their parents. Everyone needs something to look forward to and everyone – EVERYONE! – likes a little fun.

Routine is not fun. Predictable is not fun. The same damn thing, day in, day out, is not fun.

So call Moy Moy up on the phone. Ask her when she’s free. If your house is on the ground floor, I can drop her off and pick her up. If you live on a first floor or above, she’s got an amazing stroller. You can go for a walk together. She’s sitting right here and she is waiting for someone to arrive.

But maybe you don’t live in Dehradun. Don’t worry. There is – I guarantee it – someone else like Moy Moy in your neighbourhood. Maybe right on your street. She may be an elderly woman whose children live too far to visit or a teenager with autism and no friends. He might be an alcoholic who needs company every afternoon to stay sober. Or a young adult with Down Syndrome who just wants to connect with someone his own age.

Look around! Reach out! We are all so shy, so diffident, so worried about protocol and manners. We think we can’t introduce ourselves to strangers; we think we can’t just walk up to a person we don’t know and try to make friends.

But the thing is: we do know these people. We just don’t know that we do. Think it right through. All the way to the end. You know you know somebody with special needs. Remember what they look like. Try and come up with their names. Call. Make a date.

Girl holding a telephone

Moy Moy will say yes.

Call. She’s waiting.

Showing 14 comments
  • Samuel Caraballo

    This is so true! Thanks for your dedicated work to help individuals with special needs. Blessings to Moy Moy and all of you!

  • Miriam Martinez

    This shows what is in my heart. I am the mother of a special child, and like you said, I’d like people to know that although it seems that our family has everything under control, actually not. Thanks for writing this!

    • Jo Chopra McGowan

      Thanks for writing, Miriam! Where are you located? I wish we could get our kids together and meet each other too!

  • Rupi

    thank you Jo for waking us up !I have a old age home next door . Plan to go across and cheer up the inmates , as I haven’t done that for a long time .

    • Jo Chopra McGowan

      Thanks, Rupi! That’s the best possible response! Do it! They will be so thrilled to hear you sing!

  • sumita

    Thanks for this . Something that really needs to start thinking about and doing it. There are days when we have enough time and we don’t know how to make it worth. This will be the best.

    • Jo Chopra McGowan

      Same here! So many days I just fritter away. If I put some thought, I could really make them worthwhile. A lot of it is just the time it takes to think.

  • Mamta

    What a lovely post! And so very true…I feel doubly blessed now…and look forward to all my dates…:)

  • ana

    there you go again jo… making people across the world feel connected through your words. i’m sure we all read and feel inspired. some maybe be inspired to act, others to consider… but all of us, i don’t doubt for a moment, can relate. your words ring true and it’s been too long since i’ve dropped by to tell you so!

    unrelated but related… have you seen that commercial for orange juice? this line you wrote reminded me of it: “Routine is not fun. Predictable is not fun. The same damn thing, day in, day out, is not fun.” it’s a guy waking up and going through routines… saying “same” … “same”… “same” as encounters each daily task. but then he takes a sip of oj with mangoes mixed in or something, and says “different!” and suddenly the sun is shining brighter and happy music plays — alright, so it’s a commercial, but it’s a reminder just like you said… we can choose differently. and something as little as a mango (figuratively or literally) can change our whole day. and perhaps someone else’s too.

  • Sonali Gupta

    I’m so touched reading this. Sharing this on my Facebook Community – Mental Health Diaries. Would love to contribute in whatever way I can. You weave magic with your words and inspire so much action.

  • Shy S

    Wish I lived around where you lived, I would take Moy Moy with my children for a walk or down the park or for a cup of hotchocolate!

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