With everything that is going on in this country, I’ve been disturbed and sad and mostly ashamed of humanity. We’ve lost sight of our humanness and fighting/killing other human’s over what -
So when I visited Jyoti Seva Home for the Blind today I went in hoping that my gloomy outlook to life changed and my god did it change.
There were about 15 children, and the first exercise each of the children were given was to build a chair in groups of 4 each. They were given newspaper, chart paper, ice cream sticks, toothpicks, gum and cello tape.
While I watched the children, I’m thinking in my head of all the challenges ahead:
- They haven’t seen a chair ofcourse but they’ve sat and touched aplenty
- They would all have to agree as a team on the same version
- The versions of the chairs in our heads could be different
- You are making everything by feel only
But what a pleasure it was to watch them, they discussed, they giggled, they laughed, the chairs wouldn’t fix, the tape couldn’t stick because one person holds the object and another tries to tape it - but they DID build chairs. One team made two dimension chairs on the chart paper, one built a stool, one built a 3 legged chair(almost...one leg toothpick kept coming off). But they were able to put their vision(pun intended) of the chair together.
I spoke to the kids about obstacles of my life, and I kept thinking they had bigger challenges, while they felt the same way about me. I was asked interesting questions “What do you miss doing the most now” “Did you ever want to give up” “How long did it take for you to become ok with your disability” .
This was one of those days that I was extremely emotional (yes thank you pms) and I think I teared up through most of my answers. I think I was actually glad they couldn’t see me because I was meant to be strong not an emotional wreck.
What I loved the most was a little girl who stood up and said “I think today I feel I can do anything I want with my life and achieve all my dreams. My disability is by birth and I’ve been blessed enough to deal with it, it’s only sight that’s missing, your challenge is bigger because you weren’t born with a disability. So if you can do it, it’s easier for me”.
The question really is - is it better to be born with a disability as you adjust early on or is it better to be disabled half way through your way because you see the other life atleast once? I’m not sure what the answer to that is. But it’s important to acknowledge that me having a typical childhood of school, college, corporate life has given privileges of skills, life lessons, awareness, friendships, human connectivity that probably makes me confident person inherently and therefore my disability does not dent it. And if I were born with a disability I might have the school, college and job - albeit a very different version of it.
I’m struggling with the answer to it, but I guess the answer really lies in both cases in how we want to deal with the disability - our life depends on how we want to deal with the adversity, our choice to endure it with courage or unhappiness.
I came away today full of hope, courage, love and gratefulness - and I so needed it!!
If visually impaired children can build a chair out of paper and ice creams sticks - I would like to hope there is scope and space to hold dialogues in this country...we just need to find the will and the humanness within us.