When a Neurotypical Asked Me, "How Can I Be Like You?" by Keshav Porwal

I would like to tell you that it is possible for us to be our best, without having to compromise, while being respected for who we are. This happens when we come into a healthy transaction with the world - able to give to the world what we have to offer and take back what we need (respect and confidence).

I would like to share the autistic journey of my strengths where my defects had no place and were treated just like a neurotypical's defects. Yes, this is possible. It happens when we are put in the best environment that enables us to focus on our strengths. We, as autistics, are designed to be extremely good at certain things than most neurotypicals can get to at our age. Why? Because of our neural structure and the amount of time we spend thinking about "things" over "people". Just like our body needs food for nourishment, neurotypicals feel the need for small talk, gossip or social situations to feed their minds, and like them, we need situations where the thinking we do in solitude, comes into use with a skill or task. This is the "mental food" we lack while trying to fit in by eating neurotypical mental food. I am sorry but, that will only lead to chaos. 

I was sent to a hostel in my 1st grade. All the way from Uttar Pradesh to Andhra Pradesh, to a charitable school and University. It was inclusive of imbibing human values and was a closed system where we had no contact with the outside world online or offline. We were made to focus on a lot of talents along with academics. This turned out to be favourable to me. My autistic mind (which I didn't know before) was very good in the art side of all the activities and talents we were exposed to. Now you might think, "Oh, yes! People are gifted here… but not all". Before you say that, I would like to ask you: have you been in a community where all are starters and together learn something being guided by a good teacher? 

Kids have to be exposed to different things in order to develop. A child’s not going to find out he likes to play a musical instrument if you never exposed him to it… ~ Temple Grandin

The real issue is not with us, but with the economy. We need spaces that are optimised to our needs, just like neurotypicals have pubs and clubs to make themselves light via social interaction and surface-level connections and non-logical dances and drinks, same we need places that enable us to use our minds for something better.

This has a great impact on our mental health and is the most efficient solution. Because it doesn't fix us and lets us exist the way we are, doing things with an efficiency that neurotypicals cannot do most times (just not how intuitive way their brain is designed. Based on research, we have way more neural connections in certain areas than them in cost of a few in society). Trying to heal ourselves using support groups is only a short-term solution. We need more "awareness" groups, not for neurotypicals but for us that help us explore our mental capacity.

There is no greater joy than that of feeling oneself a creator. The triumph of life is expressed by creation. ~ Henri Bergson

I am a testimony of it, and my life is going to be an example of it, creating neurodiverse "pubs" for us. They are nothing but safe creative cross-disciplined and neurodiverse people run spaces to learn and make new things. From inventing to literature to crafts and hobbies.

Now to come to what I have achieved being autistic. This is not a brag but a hope for us that we just need the right kind of space to thrive. And we can begin making it online even now. It will take time but doesn't everything?

Also, do note that I am also proof of how messy we can get if not in the right environment (as the environment I have described above). I have come out of that place for 3 years now and have faced a lot of issues, loneliness, depression, and a lot more. I miss that state of existence, but I believe life gave me a "trial version " of it and now it's up to me… or up to us to make it into a "premium version" together.

Achievements, each of them has a beautiful story of how my autistic mind helped neurotypicals to do things to a level they could not have done, making it better than the 30 years of history of the university, not just in one field, but in multiple creative outlets, with autistic me being the only common factor in all, accompanied by other neurotypicals.

I remember, as people saw me do things even without thinking, improvising creatively (because I had been exposed to and put into projects from my small age) people including teachers said things like:

"The way you think, you get to the core of simplicity of the things that most people don't get to and come up with solutions that even our research scholars have failed to" (by a chemistry teacher when I was able to invent a method to light up different sections of our LED suits for a dance without the microchip that was to be made by research scholars).

"Bro, how do you do and think like this? How can I be like you? How you do so many activities so well and different from others. How do you play multiple instruments together to the extent you can perform on stage," and a lot more.

(Note, I credit the optimal environment and my neurodivergent side for this. Hence, I believe all of us can, once we help to overcome or just set aside the trauma and victim mindset that the inefficient environment has got onto us.)

For this blog's sake let me link the list of achievements via a post I had created on it, to remind myself of who we really are, when I was, and often am going through a hard time creating a safe space for us.

Here you go

To conclude, I will only say that there are many ways for us to feel better, but there are better ways for us to feel better in long run. Nothing is better than the joy of finding ways to exist that only we can do things in a certain way.

I am going to create that. It's going to happen, not by me, but by someone. I know I can't do it alone. Life has shown me my highest high and one my lowest lows and given me time to think study, research, analyse the situation and long term solutions for all of us. I don't mind failing at the end but would never want to die as "a neurodivergent who never tried and adjusted with society".

To end, (this time for real but just this post, not our ways) I would like to link a little short film about that space that I had created under competition by an organisation, not realising it was all about the above for we neurodiverse people. A pub for all of us like neurotypicals has the best of their time to get high. A place where they admire us, a place (check out makerspaces! It's already happening) where we feel the best we have yet for a long time. Thank you for staying here. Have a great day. 

Here is the short film.

Being alone can be a very effective way of calming down and is also enjoyable, especially if engaged in a special interest, one of the greatest pleasures in life for someone neurodiverse. ~ Tony Attwood

~ Keshav Porwal 


  1. Dear Keshav. A self made young man who is filled with creativity, a yearning to learn and a will to confirm. Great article. Keep shining.

  2. Thanks a lot for the kind words.


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