If you want to understand the inequalities of the world, you just have to do one thing: walk along the busiest arterial road of your city or town. A busy road is an interesting place. Especially in India where it is harder to evict the hawkers who sell all odds and ends by literally ambushing you on the middle of the road. Well…so much for ‘ambush marketing’.
The most obvious of those inequalities on the blacktop is how a motorist, a man behind the wheel of a car, and a cyclist behave. You don’t need eyes to notice this. The motorist would sneak in wherever he finds space to overtake vehicles before him, while the car driver keeps leaning over his horn reminding everyone else who’s the big man out there. The cyclist is left clueless and as for the pedestrians, well…, they are considered nuisance, an unnecessary disturbance to those privileged enough to be on a vehicle.
Goes to show how challenging it is to walk, the simplest of human acts. All of us, especially the visually challenged, could understand the sense of inevitability about the situation on the road and find our own means to handle it.
All of us understand how unfair it is when a car bulldozes its way between a group of bikes and a motorist rides on the footpaths to sidestep a bottleneck. We know it is futile to explain or even argue with the violators and so we find our own means of negotiating such situations and we are no worse for it.
A sudden disability is something like this inevitable situation. If a condition is beyond treatment through medicine or surgery, we have no choice but to come to terms with it. It puts most of us at a significant disadvantage. We feel god or nature has treated us unfairly and find our condition unacceptable.
A patient’s outrage against the world that considers him invalid just because he has a disability is quite understandable. Who would like to be pushed around senselessly on the pavement by people who have no clue how to help a blind person? Or spoken about as if they have a severe understanding deficiency? And how exactly they would feel confident when the majority of people around them treat them like animals? The world very easily underestimates a blind person. Those who could see often mistake a blind person’s need for help in an unfamiliar environment for a fundamental intellectual deficit in him.
But there is another way to look at it as well. All human beings and living organisms need its own challenge to prolong its life and overcome potentially life threatening environmental conditions. We are so lucky to have a pliable body and mind that could adapt to virtually any situation to make us function effectively.
If we look at the world around, we realize that people struggle with many things. Exams could be a challenge for some, finding the right job or the real purpose in life is a challenge for quite a few, while a majority run around like wild bares trying to make all the money they could possibly make before it’s too late, not realizing that too much of money brings an entirely different challenge.
Living with a disability is the mother of all challenges. So should we feel bad about it or should we thank nature for having given us the challenge of all challenges? If you enjoy challenges, which all of us do, we will be absolutely thrilled by the greatest challenge. Ok its life, but still it feels like playing a game in which we hold all the cards because apart from us no one knows quite how it could be handled. Isn’t it interesting, if not intriguing, to be an expert of your own condition? Think about it, embrace it with open hands, and you would find life rewarding you with many wonderful things.