Have you ever experienced the joy of gifting someone? If yes, was that gift a key to power that would last a life time enabling and empowering them to find dignity and respect in their life? I have experienced the joy of giving in many instances but after hearing Ruma Roka of Noida Deaf Society in the “TEDxGateway Mumbai Dec 2012 partnered by Franklin Templeton Investments”, I realized that I am yet to experience the real joy, ie of enabling and empowering someone differently abled to reach their goal. In the last few years she has worked tirelessly with the deaf in India, training them in different skills and eventually finding job opportunities for them to lead a dignified life. She is driven by an extraordinary passion to bring joy into the lives of people who are often marginalized.
We take all our bodily abilities for granted, the ability to see, to feel, to hear, to smell, to taste. What if one of these were to get switched off one fine day, how would it be? It’s hard for us to imagine but millions in the world live without one or more of these. We are all created by the universe impartially. Actually, we are all born equal, when one of the five senses is muted, the others are heightened which can be harnessed to bring out the best in them. While most people think that they are hearing impaired and cannot speak, in reality they speak a different language that we do not understand and rarely make an attempt to. The issue is with us and not with them since they always make an attempt to learn our language and know us better. In fact, they are spared from distractions of the world filled with sounds of different decibels and are far more sincere and dedicated to their work. If each one of us take a small step to remain alert and be sensitive to their ability, we will automatically cultivate patience, acceptance, compassion which will take us a long way since these skills have to be learnt from the university of life and no school or university can teach them in a classroom. Having said that, not everyone of us will be capable, motivated and driven like Ruma but there are other ways to do our bit and support her and other crusaders who are working towards a similar cause.
- Next time we honk relentlessly and utter expletives at the person walking in front refusing to give way, STOP !! the person may be hearing impaired and patience is key.
- Next time we walk into a customer care and vent out our anger and find the person across the counter smiling and writing something for us, STOP !! remember the person may be hearing impaired and while they did not hear a word we spoke, the language of the body and the eyes is universal
- Next time we meet a person who is hearing impaired or a family member of the person is, and we are about to unleash waves of sympathy, STOP!! An assuring smile that beams acceptance would do the needful
- If we happen to have a co worker who is hearing impaired, which overwhelms us leading to continuously chaperon them, STOP !! it is a form of sympathy, be compassionate, be around to lend a helping hand so that they learn to survive on their own.
- If we happen to meet someone from the economically weaker section of society with a child who is hearing impaired and is being pushed to a corner, STOP!! let them know of the organization who can help and may be do that bit of connecting and helping them stay on course
- If we happen to find someone looking askance in a public place and is being harassed for the inability to express themselves, STOP !! they may be hard of hearing, step in for the person and offer help so that they are not harassed for just being them
- Women and Girl children who are hearing impaired tend to be more vulnerable. If we see someone in such a situation, STOP !! step in and do the needful
- We need to have our sense of sight heightened to come to their aid,to recognize the pain in their eyes, in their body language since their cries have no sound.
While Ruma is working in some regions of India, there are others who are doing so in other parts of the country. She has proved that being hearing impaired does not relegate a person to the back seat and ordinary laborious work, they also have the innate talent to take up white collar jobs which often goes unnoticed. It will help to bring everyone on to a common platform to share their best practices and model their curriculum to the needs of the jobs and be an integral part of the National Skill Development Organization.
I am a traveler on this earth and everyday is a new beginning with the first rays of the sun, the feel of the earth under the feet, chirpy birds on the trees, the sweet scent of the blooming flower and the taste of the food that melts on my tongue. Ruma Roka awakened me to walk with my fellow travelers who can see, feel, taste like we do but need a little bit of support to hear with our ears and then express in their language hoping that we will be understand. All we need is oodles of patience, acceptance and embrace them in our lives.
This post is also submitted to “Idea Caravan” a joint initiative of Indiblogger and Franklin Templeton India