Can you see? Then you are mentally impaired!
She said, ‘Sir, can you see?’, he added ‘Sir, this is your walking stick’, I responded ‘Uhh… no no…okay okay..’ Suddenly, the beautiful girl seemed a stranger, the boy holding the stick for me, a savior. What am I to do? Expect nothing of me, I see nothing.
Came from somewhere I know not, a girl who held my arm and soothed me to a very noisy place, [wait, did I say very noisy? Ahem…did not realize it was noisy until I could see], said she, ‘this is your first task, you have to cross the obstruction.’ I wondered, ‘don’t you see on my face, my trembling hands, the moment you shut my eyes and handed me the stick, I feel everything around an obstruction. I don’t know who you are, yet I let you hold onto me, because this is not my house and I know not, where to go. Not after you said ‘obstruction’ did I hit the stick on the floor and around, but the moment you handed it over to me. Because I know you are walking with your eyes that can see, see what may not seem an obstacle to you, the same pebble pricks me!‘ Is this the Human Instinct!
I slipped on the slope, felt the descend of the ramp, held myself upright, only a tinge of fear and doubt in my veins. Another girl held my hand now and uttered, ‘Sir, this is your money, a 10, a 50, a 100 and a 500.’ Instantly, my fingers caressed the notes, feeling them the way I never did, for the last 26 years. She ushered me to a table, I know not the shape, I hit it with the stick and escaped a dash, asking her, if I am at the right place or is the table by my side. ‘Buy a pack of cookies, toothbrush and a soap’ her voice bleak in my ear. My ears rose high to hear her right and I repeated, a pack of cookies, toothbrush and a soap? Once I started digging my hand in one of the boxes, a male voice said ‘there are 6 boxes’. Human brain is so wonderful and gracious, the feel of a toothbrush and a soap made me so euphoric and confident that my trembling voice was replaced by confidence.
Once again a new girl stepped in, asking me to buy ‘a shirt’ from the stand. I touched every garment, silky, satin, coarse and hanging. I exclaimed, it is women’s section. Gladly, she agreed and asked me to buy a garment for my girl friend. I measured the size with my palm stretching end to end, I know not the color and style, yet happy with my choice
A thin boy, wrapped my fingers around his arm and said, ‘lets go play football’. Never imagined in my wildest, play football in total darkness around me. A chime inside the ball alarmed me of the ball’s position and the claps from the goalee told me where to shoot! Yay, I kicked it right one after the other, which I wouldn’t have, if I could see.
My fears heaped in me, when she told me ‘we are in a restaurant, I’ll get you the menu’. Can someone tell me where’s the chair for me to sit, should I stand and eat? Swaying both my hands in all directions, I found a chair, in a different orientation, should I sit according to its position or should I turn it this way? I then found the table, placed myself slowly on the chair, moving me hands on the table, patting it, to find if something is there for me. My legs stretching little by little to stay at ease. I don’t know why, I moved my hands around and felt a girl sitting beside me on the left and a boy on the right. Then came a girl with the menu, reading it for us and to order, I had to remember the sequence to ensure I don’t miss any. Strangely, instead of the items appearing before my eyes, I felt my tongue mouth-watering, imagining the taste.
Abey andha hai kya?? (Are you blind?)
Every time, when someone bumped into us, we for sure would have yelled the same, ‘are you blind?’.
Have we ever taken a moment to feel what the visually impaired feel? It’s a different world. We name it dark, we make it dark but on the contrary, it is full of life. When one of the senses stop working or feebly work, the others take responsibility of the completing the task. Unbelievably intelligent is the human body!
All through the 45 minute event of walking in the shoes of visually impaired, I experienced, fear, pain, joy, trust, success. Only question running in was ‘everything around is so settled, why do people complain?’
Having closed my external eyes, the eye within surfaced with life. Kudos to St. Xavier’s College and Viviana mall, Thane, for having thought on this and worked together to let everyone know how blocked our minds are!
Many people across the world have put together their thoughts and ideas to make life easy for the differently-abled by including them in their routine and thereby, inventing these gadgets:
These cards have pins that pop up for every character as per the Braile system.
Every line you see on the screen, gets transformed to Braile.
The gadget is moved on the newspaper / book and thus, it appears on screen and in Braile.
This one is Ruby. She is for the people who can feebly see. She works on the software named ‘Magic’, a product of Freedom Scientific.
Why don’t we help them?
Slender and sleek. It reads the text and transforms into audio. Excellent!
Kudos to the people who thought of this. Yes, life is fun in various angles.
How daring are you?
Now, that’s a news!!
Sad that these gadgets are made abroad and are very expensive that not many can afford. We all should do our best in gifting colors in lives of many.
‘Antarchakshu’ is the name of the event. Rightly, named – ‘The Light Within’.
I am happy for I am enlightened. A special appreciation to everyone involved in Antarchakshu and Viviana mall, to be the First Visually-Impaired Friendly mall.
Lets all extend our hearts of friendship with everyone and stop mourning about people and life.
I personally believe, ‘Life does not end in darkness around you, it ends when there’s darkness in you!’