- THE DISABLED TEACH US A LESSON
Courtesy: K.R. Ravi, Trainers forum
THE BLIND LEADING THE SHORTSIGHTED?
This was an experiment that changed the lives and perspectives of some people and taught them one of life's greatest lessons.
A friend of mine was requested to visit a school for the Visually Impaired to see how the Institution was functioning. The principal was keen that my friend bring along with him a few interested people, which he did. The group landed at the premises one morning. The principal led them to a hall and asked them to be seated in one corner in a round table fashion. At the other end of the hall were seated a few blind people, also in a round table style - students of the institution aged about 18. The principal asked his staff to place tea before the guests and the students. He then told them that he had an important telephone call to make and would be back in a few minutes. He left the hall.
The two groups had no option but to indulge in small talk.
The 'healthy' group took up the usual subjects that we are prone to take up-Corruption in politics, the Commonwealth games fiasco, Laloo Prasad and the fodder scam, Mayawati and her ill gotten wealth, poor performance by the Indian cricket team etc etc.
The blind spoke about how things were improving in India, how many opportunities are now available even for the diasabled, how Dhoni and company gave them lot of joy, how they felt Indians have something to be proud of these days and so on.
Unknown to the participants the Principal had arranged for the two 'group discussions' to be taped.
Discussions over, the Principal entered the hall and played to the entire audience the two conversations.
Some members of the 'healthy' group could hardly resist shedding tears. One of them said 'What a fool I have been. I am a healthy, reasonably financially secure man, holding a fine job, and I am cribbing at our country. Here are some blind people who I thought must be leading miserable lives, yet they are far more positive than I am. I am ashamed of myself'.
Another member of the 'healthy' group, possibly a cynic, remarked that the blind were so positive because they were blind.' Maybe if they had vision they may have little reason to be optimistic'.
I request readers to tell me how they would interpret this experience. Let us not get into the argument that some of us might be tempted to give, that it was unethical to tape a discussion without the permission of the participants!
Another experience that I myself had was a fund raising programme in Mumbai's Shanmukhananda Hall about 6 years ago. The event was in aid of the Baba Amte trust and was anchored by his son Prakash Amte.
One of the performances was a dance recital by a stunningly beautiful girl in her 20's who received a standing ovation for her Bharatnatyam dance. Even as the roar died down Prakash Amte came on stage and said 'I am glad you enjoyed this dance. Let me tell you something more about this talented and beautiful girl. SHE IS DEAF AND DUMB!' The audience was stunned.
Amte added 'You must be wondering how she manages to dance perfectly to the sur, taal and dhun. She sharply observes the musicians and dances to their beat'.
There was a stir in the audience at this astounding revelation. When the stir died down Amte said 'I have been trying to get this girl married. Many boys came and met me. But when I reveal that she is deaf and dumb the boys and their parents seek a hasty retreat. Is there anyone in this distinguished audience who will take her away as bride or daughter in law?"
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