Author, 13, seeks to inspire the disabled

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Muskan Devta will donate the money earned from her autobiography, I Dream - out in November - to the Starship as a thank-you for all its help. Photo / Natalie Slade
Muskan Devta will donate the money earned from her autobiography, I Dream - out in November - to the Starship as a thank-you for all its help. Photo / Natalie Slade

Muskan Devta admits she sometimes talks too much. She also writes a lot and can often be found hunkered down with a good book at the library.

It's this love of words that has led the 13-year-old to pen two of her own books. The second, an autobiography, will be released this year to raise funds for the Starship hospital.

"I write like I talk ... and I love talking," says the teen, who has battled numerous health issues.

"I'm taking you on a journey through my life. People will read [about] my ups and downs, my struggles, how I've been bullied ... I'm not scared of writing and admitting that. I'm open about it."

Muskan was born prematurely and with a condition called partial hemiplegia, which paralysed the right side of her body. She also suffered under-developed lungs, weak eyesight and a hole in her heart. Doctors did not expect her to survive.

Just before she turned 5, the family decided to migrate from India to New Zealand, where they thought she would have a better chance at life.

They now live on the North Shore.

Muskan's autobiography, I Dream, is sponsored by her mother's employer, BNZ bank. In the book, the Westlake Girls student talks about life as a child with special needs.

"I just want to inspire people, especially if there are kids with disabilities reading this book - it's for them and the parents of these kids.

"I want to get their spirits up a bit and I want to challenge people's thinking. I want to make them aware that this is happening in society."

Mother Jaimini Devta said she and her husband, Arun, had always encouraged their daughter's love of reading and writing. "We just think she is a great little girl who just wants to help others," Mrs Devta said.

Muskan's first work, The Story of Ganesha - based on the Hindu mythology of the god of wisdom and success - was published in the NZ School Journal in 2010.

Muskan this year had corrective surgery and, as a tribute to the hospital that helped her and her family, she will donate all funds raised from her autobiography to the Starship.

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Terri Bidwell said Muskan had been an inspiration to all of her doctors and nurses. "Muskan has achieved an enormous amount for her age. She has handled her health challenges with ... a great deal of maturity."

- NZ Herald

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