Published on March 3, 2021

Ahmedabad: The Masani family of 15 was overjoyed when Mahavir, the eldest brother among five siblings, gave news of a childbirth four years after his marriage. The Sanand-based family was however crestfallen when they got to know that the child had cleft lip, had a hole in her heart, could not hear, had three and four toes on her legs and six fingers on one of her hands.

“But I could not easily lose hope – the god had given me a gift in form of a daughter, and as a father I was ready to do anything it takes to ensure that she gets a shot at a better life,” recounts Mahavir, manager of a brick-kiln near Ahmedabad.

As Priyanshi, who would turn four this May, is going to sing at an event at GMERS Gandhinagar to mark World Hearing Day on Wednesday along with a group of children who got implants or hearing aids, her parents give a peek into the struggle they went through to ensure that she gets a chance to explore her potential.

Thus, the ordeal for the family started with heart surgery when Priyanshi was a little over six months old. Before she turned three, she also underwent the surgery to dislodge her tongue which was stuck to her palate along with the cleft lip. The last challenge was to get her the sense of hearing, and by extension speech.

“The MRI scans did not show the canal which was required for the cochlear implant to succeed. We were turned down at four hospitals, as the doctors warned us that the surgery might not be successful. But we were ready to take a chance,” says Mahavir.

Dr Neeraj Suri, associate professor at GMERS Gandhinagar and ENT surgeon, said that they performed the surgery without giving any hopes to the family. “But it was successful,” she says. “We waited for three years to hear her speak. Who wouldn’t want their child to speak to them,” says Mahavir, adding that the bottom line is to never give up.

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