The Vision We Have
"It is like an eclipse. Reversed eclipse...? It's dark around, but light in the middle. A big reversed eclipse. Over time, I know, it will grow smaller. Smaller and smaller, until it vanishes; there will be nothing but darkness. Nothing, but night," Sanjay said, pondering upon the future. He looked deep into the sky, as if her was trying to memorize the exact color of the world. The exact way the trees bend into the sunlight, how they reflect and shadow. The exact hue of the sky as the sun sets into the horizon. The exact vision he had.
"I really didn't need to know that. I really didn't, not again," I replied, feeling a little sad for him. But, knowing Sanjay, that is the one thing he really hates.
"Attention-seeker," I remarked, laughing.
"Eh, you got me!" he replied, smirking.
What do you think make the disabled uncomfortable in society?
It is a human need. A societal necessity. The longing to fit in. And, for people with disabilities, the dearth of fitting in consumes them. More than the disability itself.
"Sanjay, the all-seer of Mahabharat. And here I am..." he continued, smiling ever so slightly. He smiled on his destiny, "ironic."
"You know how much I appreciate you not treating me differently?" he asked me, rhetorically.
"You're being philosophical today!" I replied, trying my best to avoid the topic that we were inevitably approaching.
"Don't try to change the topic!" he said.
"Thank you, for being my friend, and not one of the sympathizers. It's funny how everyone demands equality for us, but even when they are doing that, they pity us. They make us realize that we are different from them. 'Those poor people!' I mean, seriously?! They call us divyang, yet, should they pity the divine?"
So, should we not treat them differently? (Hint: No!)
Like I said, the dearth of fitting in consumes them. They are hesitant to go out of their homes and face the world with a white cane (like Sanjay). They are hesitant to roll out their wheelchairs out of the doors. They dread to be looked at with pity. They are more scared to face the world, than dealing with their disability.
What can we do? Ignore them as a divyang, or a disabled person.
Yes, you read that right.
Look at them as a person: they are a person with a disability. Perceive them as just another citizen. They are not defined by their condition, it is not their only identity. Don't pity them! Don't look at them if you are just looking at them as a divyang. They are people, just like us.
Sanjay is not just the blind guy. He is the friendly guy, the funny guy, the guy living beside the city park. Let him fit in the society, without referring to him with his disability. Let him fit in on the accounts of his appearance.
Let him be truly equal.
Image Source: eurodiaconia.org