One of the questions we are asked whenever we meet with able bodied people is that how much it hurts to be blind? “Jeese man! Are you not brooding over your blindness every day? Are you not feeling bad that you can’t see so many beautiful things?”
True, I can’t. But my question to so many people who can see is how many times do you fail to notice a known person, a familiar face, a friend on the crowd? If you be honest to yourself, that’ll be a lot of times. How many days do you get up in the morning and tell yourself ‘god it’s wonderful to have the visual sense; it’s so beautiful to see and appreciate various colours and images around me!!’
The idea is not to put you down or to impress on you that blindness is somewhat better than sight. My point is very simple: ‘we look before and after and pine for what is not’ to quote Shelley. We only look for things we don’t have, and, run behind things that we badly want, and in that mad rush, we forget to appreciate things we do have. Look at the millions of us who can’t see!! God has a purpose of creating someone who’s short of a sense: to let the world know how important it is to appreciate the extra sense that gives most of you a comprehensive experience of life. Now… that doesn’t make all of us a little inferior or unhappy. The way I learnt to look at blindness is like this: you’re happy with what you have and I’m happy with what I have.
Blindness is sometimes an inconvenience. It doesn’t make me recognize an emergency and run in the right direction. I ask for help at least once a day, stray a lot of times and get stranded against a wall. Hell, I even dash against a lot of things and look a little awkward before strangers!! But I also keep asking myself if I should be ashamed of all this? If I’m ashamed of who I am and how god has made me? Hell no. That’s because blindness also has a lot of advantages which I have learnt to appreciate over the years.
Let me begin by saying this: blindness has made me understand the value in people. When I stand at an intersection with all those heavy vehicles swerving around at mind-numbing speed and struggle to cross the road, all I need is that one hand. Most of the times, I observe people walking past me. They all speak English and surely look fine and are on their way to their respective offices. They all reach their respective work place with the passion and hunger that has made them successful in their pursuits. But it’s sad that none of them could see a man struggling to cross the road holding a big white cane in his hand. Sadly… Sadly… all of them could see.
Ok. I’m not saying that none of them come to my rescue. A few occasionally do. But most of the times, I feel the soiled hands of a construction worker holding mine or a hand smeared with crease. I mean, the people who we consider illiterate, badly dressed and poorly looking are those who come to help me at my hour of need. Naturally, I appreciate them. A lot of them may have failed in many ways, but they never fail as human beings.