On one morning, Shivanand had to leave for work earlier than his usual time since he had an urgent appointment. Generally, we both travel to work together as our offices are in the same area. But that day I had to travel all by myself, because he was not there to escort me. (Those days I had some slight vision but now I am totally blind.)
I could have engaged an auto rickshaw to the railway station but foolishly, I decided to walk instead. I was finding it difficult to walk alone as I always needed an escort. In addition, I never used a cane while walking, because I felt shy and had a complex as to what people would think about me. I always tried to conceal my handicap as much as I could. There was no one on the road that could help me or I could ask help from. As a result, I continued to struggle. I decided to walk on the footpath along the road, trying to hear noises of the traffic passing by. I was also worried about the street dogs sleeping on the footpath as earlier once I had accidentally stepped on the dog.
I walked until I reached a point from where I had to cross over to the other side of the road. At this stage, I needed an escort badly and there was no one around. I decided to wait there for a while thinking someone might come for help. Ten minutes passed but no one arrived for help and I was getting late for work. Suddenly I saw a small moving figure next to me. I wondered as to what it is until I figured out that it is a street dog, which was standing there possibly to cross the road. Without thinking much, I decided to cross the road with the dog, since I was getting late to work and there was no one around to help me.
As the noise of the traffic subsided, the dog slowly started to move and with the dog, I moved too. We were almost in the middle of the road when suddenly I heard the noise of a vehicle approaching; the dog ran away. I was stunned, and was left high and dry in the middle of the road. I did not know what to do. I was terrified. All of a sudden, I heard the screeching of the breaks and could feel an auto rickshaw, which had just brushed me slightly. I heard the driver yelling at me “Dhek Ke Chalne Ko Nahi Atha Hai Kya?” (Can’t you see and walk?) In the meanwhile, someone who knew me helped me cross the road.
Shivanand did not heed a bit to give his piece of mind to me when I narrated the whole incidence to him in the evening.
By this incidence, I realised that because of my inability to accept my handicap I was not only putting my life in danger but also making other people’s lives difficult. A conscious effort to work on ones behavioural abnormality and accepting ones handicap can definitely go a long way in living a better life.
Now it is more than eight years that I have been using a cane, and I am very comfortable and confident using it. It also helps other people to understand my disability and help me accordingly.