This post is contributed by Nikita Jain in response to an article we carried about Mirakle Couriers where the headline created a stir about how a specially abled person should be addressed. Nikita wrote in to us saying, “I am a visually impaired person. I started losing my vision when I was in class tenth. I am living life of both sighted and visually impaired as I am not completely blind. You cannot guess it just by looking at me. This transition is hard to accept but the thing that is helping is support and understanding of people around me. I just want to add a different perspective that can make this reading more empathetic instead of sympathetic,” and this is what she had to say…
You see the love and colours of the world in the eyes of someone you love. Have you ever tried ‘seeing’ all this without actually looking? I have. At the risk of making you feel sympathetic towards my situations, I would like to say that I am visually impaired. But that does not stop me from feeling the beauty of the summer Bougainvilleas or the deep orange of the morning sky.
I can feel life in the fragrance of the wet soil by touching the tenderness of leaves. Water makes me excited even when I cannot see its depth. I cannot recognize colours, but my friends say that I am colourful.
Missing out on 80 percent
Most human beings gather 80 percent of information through their eyes. I got an opportunity to see things in an unconventional way, and I do not see why people should be sympathetic towards me?
I have a name; I work and meet and socialize with people, then why do they forget who I am and just remember what I cannot do instead of looking at what I can do?
So many questions and no answers; why? Because people like me are less in number? Someone asked me why can’t we start creating jobs separately for those who cannot see? My counter question is, “If someone is ill in your family, do you start keeping that person in the out-house instead of treating his illness?”
Can I smile being a person with disability?
Someone asked me, “How can you keep smiling when you know you will lose your vision completely one day?” I said, “It’s simply because I accept myself the way I am. Would you like to share my smile and make it bigger?”
And my smile got bigger and bigger…
Do I still have hope?
I take every day as a new day of hope, positivity and learning. But sometimes I am told to adjust, to not try to look at making my life perfect because not having an important sense is an inevitable loss.
Do you think I chose to lose my vision?
Someone on the way said, “People who are physically impaired don’t have an option but to beg as they need support all the time.”
To my mind, it is not the impairment that makes us handicapped, it is this kind of attitude of the society which is making people with disabilities handicapped.
But I have seen many people accepting and understanding me the way I am. On my face, they say they are impressed because of what I am doing, they also call me brave. I fail to understand why I am called brave.
If someone is trying to make their life good, want to forget things and walk happily, why do people remind them about the things they are missing?
Every person in this world has a disability — aggression is a disability, fighting with your own fear and failing to win also is a disability for which no one gets a disability certificate. Not empathising with people below your stature is another form of disability.
Empathy and not sympathy
The need of the hour is about building an inclusive tomorrow so that no one feels left out in the midst of so many opportunities of togetherness and progress that life keeps giving us.