Management Funda by N. Raghuraman
Her morning also starts with an alarm clock screaming and she switches it off like any of us do and oversleep for a while. Her day begins with a cup of tea that she makes herself. She spends some time on the mobile and takes a bit longer to get ready by putting that perfect matching bindi, carefully darkening the eyelashes, and goes online for hours together. She paints and her paintings get appreciation all over. Then she is offered a Kerala delicacy called “Appam” by someone and she finds it difficult to say no to it. But before taking that sweet, she uses hand wash for more than 20 seconds and while relishing the ‘appam’ she asks us “if it is so easy for me to use a hand wash what stops you from using it properly?“
Wondering why she asked such a question? That is because her hand is her legs! Yes, she doesn’t have her both hands and she did everything mentioned above with her legs. This is the story of the recently released Savlon hand wash advertisement.
I remembered this advertisement this week when the New York-based UN World Data Forum, which operates under the United Nations Statistics Division shortlisted ten people from all over the globe for their videos submitted for ‘1 Minute Voices of Youth’ contest. One of the ten belongs to 16-year-old Asha Patwal Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag town. The minute-long video, in which this deaf-blind teen makes a case for inclusion of those with dual disabilities in Census enumeration.
“We do not get identified in the Census and no one knows how many of us exist in the world. Include us in the Census and give us an opportunity to inspire others,” she says in the video which has no audio. “Data is an important tool to plan our future. Count on us and connect to us for a better world,” she says.
Asha was born with visual impairment, like her father and two siblings. “She had congenital cataract. The surgery was done in Delhi. Then, one Christmas vacation, when she went home to Rudraprayag, she contracted meningitis. With no proper attention, she lost her hearing. She studies in Class X now. She aspires to move to the US some day, learn more about dual disability and reach out to others. Her video was shot by Sumana Samuel, principal of Sharp Memorial School for the Blind in Dehradun, where she studies.
This again reminded me of an incident involving a Daink Bhaskar reader and an educationist Shubada Joglekar from Bhilai once shared with me. She once volunteered to teach painting to deaf and mute students from Chattisgarh in a special school called “prayas” organised by Lions Club. Some were called as Kondha and Kondhi (Chattisgarh lingo for deaf and mute) and had even no names for themselves. Some of them were studying in 11 or 12th std and there was one boy called Gokaran who had no arms also apart from being deaf and mute. He did everything with his legs and probably the best in the drawing class. Those children were disciplined and completely honest. Joglekar recalls that at the end of the ten-day workshop, she didn’t lose even a single colour pen and says that they were the most loving students in her entire 40-years career.
Funda is that shut the alarm with your hand but don’t forget to thank your creator for making you a perfect human being physically and extend your kindness to such differently abled people.