Monday, December 3, 2012

Those who are behind the fence are not just safe...

In the age of padminis and savitris (iPad mini and save trees by e-communication), do you remember the ruled notebooks we used to write ’home works’ and not projects and assignments? I, even without knowing I am one, loved the space in the margin than the stuff that was spread all over the lines. What are important are the questions and answers which travel on the lines and at times touch the end of the paper, the font size getting smaller through the end and even trespass into the margin of the next page. I wonder why words like asafoetida, recommendations, appropriateness always occur at the end of the lines and people break it like endations will be hanging under recomm looking like ants running under a branch of a tree and there will be an |____ shaped boundary line too, to avoid cross country affairs with the word below. That is how we started reading between the lines, I presume!

God, let me write something seriously without these comical distractions or nostalgia of a novice.

The stories, the poetry and the answers, even the questions with wrong answers, lacking grammar and spelling, stood majestically inked on the lines, while the numbering either alphabetical or numerical stood behind the line of margin. I was an a), b) or c)… just like someone holding the door or fence and looking into the world without entering into it. The space behind those a, b, c’s were fully theirs. But, they cannot peep, poke or penetrate beyond the margin. I loved the space up to the margin, I used to try different fonts of my own, spread the wings of creativity in numbering or drawing smaller images and enjoy my restricted space as far as I could, without being aware that I am marginalized too.

Then, like everybody, I had grown up too. The whole country looked like a ruled notebook. The contents were there on the lines and the disabled were restricted to stay behind the margin.

We go to beach; stop at the sands.
We go to an office; stop at the stands. 
We wish to explore; stops us, the strands.

If we still struggle for access itself, how can we fight for opportunities? How long will it take for us to get rid of eating near the parking lot at restaurants, meeting officers near pathways and tweeting about it to let it go unnoticed?

Be it education or food; or be it travel or entertainment – in everything, we are just on the edge! We are marginalized. We can just see from a distance, but not mingle with others or participate!

Well, I drive my bike, then get into my wheelchair and go up to the steps and crawl the distance up to stage or a class. Unless I have a concert, I don’t go to temple, attend weddings, a birthday party of even close friends or relatives. We are sinners who are allowed to see the deity only during idol procession of temple festivals. I met The State Commissioner  for the Differently Abled Welfare Development and gave the applications for providing makeshift or permanent ramp for wheel chair access in the temples (of all religions) of our state. To begin with, they can introduce in some places which are famous like Madhurai, Chidhambaram, Kanchipuram, Pazhani, Srirangam, Mosques and Churches of our state. In addition to that, I had also given two separate applications for the Railways and Bus Services. 

In this piss-a- dominated (domino’s pizza)  nation, even kids have mobile phone, one can order and pizza will be delivered even if someone is sitting on a barricade right at the middle of mount road, you can call any bank from under Gemini Bridge and the agent will be obliged to see you there itself sanction a loan or credit card. I think, the government with good concern and noble intentions, is planning to launch facilities for the disabled like  ‘Dial A Toilet', ‘Call A Lift' &  'Ramps at Your Doorstep’ by 2099, just eighty seven years from now.

Some may have been born with a leadership quality with a capacity to be a role model, a guiding light and take hundreds of us to places. Even they will go unnoticed not because lack of opportunities and ability, but because Access is Denied. A ramp with proper angle of elevation and a handrail is what all of us want to make it possible.

Why let places where millions of people walk around be untrodden for us forever?

குனித்த புருவமும் பனித்த சடையும்
மனித்தப் பிறவியை வேண்டினான்
என் முப்பாட்டன் ஒருவன்

கால்நடைகளைப் போலவே
இப்போதும் உண்டு
நான்கு கால்கள்;
வட்டங்களாய் வளைக்கப்பட்டு
விளிம்புகளில் நின்றபடி.

கடலாய் ஒரு முறையும்
கடைகளாய் ஒரு முறையும்
கோவிலாய் ஒரு முறையும்
கோப்புகளாய் ஒரு முறையும்
தோட்டமாய் ஒரு முறையும்
ஹோட்டலாய் ஒரு முறையும்
கல்விகூடமாய் ஒரு முறையும்
கலவிக் கட்டிலா ஒரு முறையும்
காட்டிலே ஒரு முறையும்
மலையாக ஒரு முறையும்

மனித்தப் பிறவியின் ஊனங்களின்றி,
அதுவாகவே இருந்தேனும்
அறிந்தே கொள்கிறேன்
அச்சமில்லை பிறவிகள் பற்றி.

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