At Smile Train India, we have been lucky to have had the support of so many bright, generous and loving SmileMakers over the years, who’ve found unique ways of lending their voice for our cause of bringing smiles to children with clefts. One such Smile Maker is LIVA Miss Diva Universe 2020 Adline Castelino, who recently made time for a fun, heart-to-heart conversation with Indumathy, one of our former cleft patients on an Instagram Live session.
We could see the excitement on Indumathy’s face and the curiosity in Adline’s eyes when they introduced themselves to one another, and the conversation flowed with such ease - as if they were long-lost friends!
Adline was surprised by how Indumathy is studying two very different streams - computer science and fashion at the same time. Indu explained that while she’s applying for a Master’s degree in Computer Science at the behest of her parents, her true passion is fashion and that’s why she’s pursuing a Diploma in Fashion Design. This little confession immediately piqued Adline’s interest, since she has forged a career in the entertainment industry. Indu and Adline couldn’t help but bond over their shared love for all things fashion, and soon the conversation veered towards getting to know each other more.
Indu spoke about her journey of growing up with a cleft, and how she overcame being bullied at school with the help of her mother, who always stood by her as her pillar of support. Adline marvelled at Indu’s bravery for undergoing multiple cleft surgeries since childhood and staying positive despite the difficult circumstances she faced. Indu also shared one of her favourite memories, when she got a chance to meet late SmileMaker and India’s former President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. She fondly remembered how he spoke to her with such warmth and humility.
When their talk meandered towards hobbies, interests and future goals, Indu spoke with great candour about how she was inspired by the late Dr Jyotsna Murthy who was a Smile Train partner surgeon at SRMC, Chennai, to dream big and help others. She told Adline how her ultimate goal was to make her parents proud, because all their lives, they’ve sacrificed their joys and braved challenges to give her a great childhood. Adline assured Indu that her parents must already feel proud to have a daughter like her.
Take a look at some fun snippets of conversation from their talk below:
“When I was a teenager, I used to dress up on my own, select outfit colours that would match well, help my mother with her saree pleats, and that’s how it began, I think,” quips Indu, on being asked how she developed an interest in fashion. ’ She added, “I want to achieve something in the fashion industry, because I’m inspired by designer Manish Malhotra, and love his lehenga collections. I hope to have my own boutique clothing line!”
To which Adline excitedly replied, “Really? I would love to get a chance to wear your collection someday, Indu!”
One person from the audience asked how many cleft surgeries has Indu undergone, and upon hearing that Indu underwent 8+ surgeries, they commented saying “You’re so strong and beautiful, Indu, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!”
Indu’s face lit up with a dazzling smile on seeing the support and love pouring from everyone watching the Live chat, which ended on a beautiful note with Adline urging everyone to support Smile Train India’s cause.
As per the Instagram Live Session between SmileMaker and LIVA Miss Diva Universe 2020 Adline Castelino and Indumathy, a former beneficiary of Smile Train India. Miss Diva Organization is the India franchise of Miss Universe Organization, which partners with Smile Train globally to build awareness about clefts. 21-year-old Indumathy is a bubbly, confident young college student from Chennai. Her journey to smiles, which includes eight surgeries, speech therapy and orthodontic treatment, has been supported at Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre, Smile Train’s Partner Hospital in Chennai.