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    Here’s how a 25-year-old is making the world notice his many talents

    NICHOLAUS Nero was born “deaf” — his parents confirmed this when he was about a year old, when he wouldn’t react to clanking steel plates, or noisy TV channels. But this impairment didn’t stop the 25-year-old from doing anything he wants. He attended a regular school, and went on to study English, psychology, theatre, Carnatic music, and Bharatnatyam at Christ University. All thanks to his father’s speech therapy sessions! He can lip-read efficiently. Speak slowly, clearly and loudly, and he gets you just right, and can even crack you up.
    He’s been a state-level roller skater, has taken lessons in flying micro-light aircrafts, does hip-hop, ballet and Bachata, and has contested in Salsa championship internationally. Later this year, he will represent India at the Mr Deaf World Pageant at Las Vegas, US.
    How are the preparations going, we ask. Nero smiles ear to ear, looking at his colleague in the Vaani office where he works as a communication officer. “I have to start gyming. They have a swimwear round!”
    Confidence shines through Nero’s personality, and that’s how he wants every hearing-impaired person to be. “Be confident. Don’t let anybody make you think that you can’t do something. But this has to start at home, with your parents. Only if parents understand this, they can help a child. I hope my example can make a difference,” says Nero, who competed with 45 contestants to win Mr Deaf India Pageant in January.
    While he has a long bucket list, Nero wants to work with deaf children and their families, give them a life that his parents gave him, and seal the gap between the world of those who can hear, and those who can’t. His work at Vaani, an NGO for deaf children, is one such step.
    He shares how his family stood by him, “My parents (Vinisha and Lawrence) did a correspondence course from John Tracy Clinic Los Angeles, plus my father learnt American Sign Language. He even quit his job, and would make me practise speech therapy and lip-reading for hours every day after school. While other kids would enjoy weekends and national holidays, I had none. These sessions went on through my school life. I get corrected for grammar and pronunciation even today.”
    — Barkha Kumari

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