Nincy Mariam Mondly, Pallium India’s friend and a wheelchair user, writes:
Today being the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, let us bring to light how our lives as persons with disabilities continue to be lived – NOT to the fullest. While we are, for better or worse, inevitably different from the usual crowd, our dreams and desires refuse to be caged by the limits set by our bodies.
Goals to improve the quality of lives of people like us are loaded with adjectives like ‘inclusive’, ‘integrative’, ‘equitable’ and such. But how often do you see a wheelchair-bound person in a public place? Clearly what is on paper hasn’t been put to practice.
What connects the bits that make up the whole of a common man’s life is lacking for persons with disabilities. That is to say, if the common man/woman has or can find means to connect his/her health, home, education, workplace and much more in life, it is not so for persons with disabilities. For, even if the right to education may exist, he/she may not be able to pursue it because there is no affordable and available means of regular public transport. As for job opportunities, to go beyond ‘making a living’ to ‘loving your work’ seems more utopian for people like us than everyone else. The same walls that confine us can often comfort us a bit too much that we lose the courage to fight for the rights that remain in books.
And if we were to strive for the implementation of these rights, who would lead us? Because we are unable even to reach out to each other, let alone to the general public.
All of us, labelled either ‘well-abled’ or ‘disabled’, partake in the sunlight that falls over us and the air that we breathe. If a flood comes to kill, it can kill us all. We together form this society and if we were to join hands to uplift each other, it would be just like holding tight the baton and running the best race we can. For the relay we are, is best played together.