After Nihal’s Story Gets Widely Shared On Social Media, Aamir Khan Meets The Special Child
“Thank you Aamir uncle for making my dream come true. Your ‘Taare Zameen Par’ always inspired me to face adverse situations and I was always knew that one day I will meet you .
Also a special thanks for appreciating the Ganesha I drew for you. Hope you will always keep it with you. The goodies that you gave me with your autograph will always make me remember our meeting.
I am feeling very optimistic and positive about life. I am sure you will help spread the word for the Progeria Research Foundation to identify 60 more kids like me in India so that they can get the right treatment.
Thanks again for making the time available for me and my family so quickly. And thank you Humans of Bombay, these small but precious moments really make life worth it” – Nihal Bitla
Here is his story:
"My parents found out I had progeria when I was 1 year old, but they continued to give me a normal lifestyle. Like any other child, I went to school everyday, played with my classmates and did my homework. When I was in the 4th standard and the movie Paa released, my classmates began teasing me and calling me Auro -- I felt terrible at that point, so I came home and told my parents. My dad told me to tell them 'to chill' and that 'i'm special' - so I did. I don't blame those who don't understand me, they like me are children after all.
I don't go to school often now but I have a lot of friends - we play cricket together in the evening. I'm fascinated with Robots, so I keep researching on them and playing with the Robot toys I have-- hopefully someday I'll make one of my own too. I love to paint as well...so I paint all day and do things that make me happy. I have a bucket list...I want to go to Disneyland and my father says we're going soon! I want to see the Honda Asimo Robot and I hope that will happen quickly too. I want to meet Aamir Khan and thank him for the movie Tare Zameen Par which gave me courage--but there's not much progress on that one yet!
To be honest I don't know much about the illness I have, except that I have the rare power of being young and old at the same time. That makes me believe that I can send a message to people. A message that life can go by quickly and that each day is more valuable than the next. I also believe that everything happens for a reason and I'm happy everyday. The way I look at it I've been given a finite time to do everything I love every single day without fear. Above all, I hope that people know that our time here is special and life is incredibly beautiful in every single way."
Like most 14-year-olds, Nihal Bitla loves playing computer games - and those who know him say he has bright eyes, a caring nature, and a child-like innocence.
But his body is that of an elderly man, with wrinkled leathery skin, a bald enlarged head and withered limbs.
He weighs 12.5kg - just under two stone - and is under 4 foot (1.2 m) in height.
Nihal, who lives on the outskirts of Mumbai, India, suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS), which causes him to age eight times faster than normal.
His mind will remain young, but his body will age and his health will deteriorate.
Now, he says he has three wishes in his life; to meet ASIMO The Robot made by Honda in Japan; to go to Disneyland in California and another secret wish he says he will reveal later in his life.
His father now desperately wants to make his son's potentially last years memorable.
To Daily Mail, he said: 'No matter how much time is left, I just want to try to fulfil my son's wishes for now.'