We take our faculties for granted and that’s a fact!
Have you ever tried looking at the world through the eyes of the blind? Or walked the Earth through the crutches of a disabled person? I am not even sure what you call a person with no arms. Amputee? But it goes without saying these are the people who ought to be hailed as true heroes. For they have faced life’s most cruel challenges and have emerged survivors.
Have you ever interacted with someone with no arms or legs? I have and it has left a deep impact in me, not for the unimaginable pain they must have endured, but for their attitude! Their never say die attitude! Literally! ‘At least I am still alive’ is what they say!
I was once travelling by train, going from Chennai to Kolkatta, I must have been 7 or 8 years old then. I remember seeing a man of about 30 years or so with no arms getting into the train. One arm had been cut just below the elbow and the other just above it. What remained was just a stump. But in that joint between the elbow and stump, he’d slung on a heavy wooden carton full of cool drinks to sell on the train. Seeing him was a shock to me, a child then. Most people turned their faces away. My father made him sit and asked him how he had lost his arms. He said when he’d been a young boy of 15, his arms had been hacked by a machete in an inter-village gang war. Since then he has earned his living selling something or the other on trains. What amazed us was his smiling face, his attitude. He loved Amitabh Bacchan he said and not a trace of bitterness or the pain he must have endured. What was shining was his will to survive and live against all odds.
I once had to scribe for a blind child. The only task I was doing was writing as the child sitting for her tenth standard examinations was accomplished in every way this world would expect of her except that she was blind. The indomitable spirit left me feeling how blind and shallow I’d been to believe I was doing a great thing by scribing.
We need to take a good hard look at the world around us and through their eyes. They live in our world with great difficulty. Our world doesn’t make it easy to accommodate them. How else would we explain the lack of infrastructure that could include them? The crowded buses with seats for the handicapped but to get in and out would be a struggle, the banks and malls with grand granite inlaid steps but no ramps, the post-offices and other offices perched on the first floor with no lift, schools with classes in second or third floor and navigating their way through would be nothing short of an obstacle race everyday!
When I start looking I can find 100 such examples, but it’d suffice to say, the sensitivity and the simple common sense that is required is sadly missing. They do not want dependability, but just sensitivity.
Stephen Hawking, Nick Vujicic and Helen Keller are exceptional examples. But if you can just steer yourself away from your respective iphones and ipods and ipads and your i-centric broodings long enough to look around, you will find many around you and possibly ways to make this world a better place for them.
Heal the world – went that song by MJ. I’d say heal yourself first and this world will heal on its own!