Just saw an old man sitting alone at a roadside with his masonry tools. Its post noon, yet he is hopeful that someone would come to appoint him, for some work anywhere. Utmost, he could have got paid for a half-day now, or would have had to come the next day again. This perhaps would be continued until he fulfilled the promise of few pennies that he must had been making everyday to his family. Had he been educated, had he had to be this carefree of the weather, under the burden of a hope?
Everyday is a struggle for fitting our incompetency in the void, which is starving for perfection; in the world where ideally nobody is supposed to be perfect. Yet who cares of the increasing numbers in cases of depression or stress, nervous breakdowns, or the worse: suicides.
Amidst all these, we forget to think of the strata coexisting in our society with a significant percentage: the disabled, often called as differently-abled, for the sympathetic encouragement though. Shonali Bose’s ‘Margarita, with a Straw‘ (#MargaritaWithAStraw) is a beautifully woven film where she has narrated every aspect of such lives that is although so common, yet gets unnoticed. One-hour and forty minutes to feel wonderful about the life. The film deals with everything that one can’t even think of. And the ending is the best justice that can be done to this film, and may be applicable for anybody. ‘Until one can’t stay happy with oneself, can’t respect oneself: can’t expect others the same from others too.” I plead everyone to watch the movie, think about it, and post opinions and feedback (if any).
The system now has developed the consciousness to provide the disabled the right to rub shoulders with others. Families continuously put in efforts to make them independent, so that even they can manage their livelihood in their temporary or permanent absence. But sadly, we do not yet have an infrastructure to give them access to go everywhere they wish to. Perhaps because our narrow-mindedness can’t expect them to have a normal social life, forget about them hitting the bars, consume hard drinks, and dance (at least move with the beats). Forget the society, ironically the families themselves haven’t yet accepted their ‘normal’ desires completely. They have reluctance to take them out to avoid the hassle of handling them, slow pace, the continuous stare and the questions that follow. The discrimination affects their self-esteem, which nobody cares for. As per the society, they don’t need motivation, but sympathy! How many advertisements that we see, have employed handicaps in the lead?
The last thing their caretakers can think of is getting them married. The search revolves around in perhaps looking for a disabled or someone who is economically weak, or can be settled in exchange of a handsome dowry. Sail the boat towards the edge and get rid of it. Not their fault- how many of us would love to marry them if ever a connection develops, putting the disability at a side? Those who still choose to discriminate, are they really sure that a disability can never hit a ‘normal’ individual ever in life?
As such individuals are taken care like a kid in their houses, the larger context of their lives often gets wiped off from their families’ mind: their sexuality. How many of us have ever confronted of them acquiring a sexual desire, to flirt, feel intimate, to masturbate or to even have a ‘natural’ sex. I intentionally added ‘natural’ to signify how their non-denial or weakness can be an advantage to those who get enjoyment in exploiting. If finding a partner for them has been a task, imagine how would we deal with the ones with different ‘sexual’ orientation- that perhaps is another disease for our society. Our society does not even have space for able-bodied trans-genders. Who should we consider as able-bodied then? Since the system already categorizes who should be called as ‘disabled’, what such mentalities can be categorized as, is perhaps as: ‘SICK‘.