Purushotam skews his head up and looks at the monitor. I’m reminded of the frequent mails that we get regarding body posture while sitting in front of the workstation. The 45 degree look down angle at the monitor cannot be applied in this case. The plastic chair doesn’t help much either.
Remotely bothered he hits the arrow key and navigates the word document. He is almost through with the test on Basic ‘C’. Moments later he hints he’s completed the test. A few corrections are done and a jubilant Purushotam walks out with his mother’s help towards the door.
Uttam seated a bit away smiles looking at the table. I wonder what his mind is concocting in the vast expanse. I introduce myself and sit beside him. He’s faster than me in socializing. A few minutes and we’re discussing almost everything under the sun. Soon we strike a deal – He teaches me Marathi and I teach him English. Thoughts fly by his mouth in Hindi/Marathi but when it comes to English, he’s blacked out. Soon Shekar, Baaji rao and Preeti join the conversation. Shekar, BaajiRao and Uttam are pursuing their 12th grade at Fergusons and Garware College. Preeti has completed her MA in English and currently plans to do her M.Phil.
Biswajeet and Aditya soon join us after having a quick chat with Purushotam’s Mom. Suddenly the topic of Indian independence pops up. When asked what they feel about the independence movement, Shekar is prompt in responding – India shouldn’t have been given Independence. He reason’s out saying they would have been in a better position today had the British continued to stay. Point taken!
They’d just had a session with Dhananjay – A graduate from University of Pune. Most of it was in Marathi, so there wasn’t much that I understood. But their jubilant responses and the questions on career development takes me off my feet. They know where they need to be few years down the line. Much better planned that me! It’s only about how they work towards it that would decide how far they go towards reaching their goal.
These people had different interests and passions; were from different backgrounds, schools and colleges. Just one thing bonded them together – All were visually challenged! A few dyslexic and physically challenged too.
Just two hours with them and you learn what life is all about. Believe me; they’ve seen things from a much better perspective than us. Every statement from their mouth makes me realize how little I was in front of them. They teach me – It’s not the vision that is important, what’s important is how you visualize it. They tell me, they’re no more afraid of darkness; all that they’re afraid of is light.
At 07:00pm as the class ends, Uttam requests us to show them the Infosys campus. I’m stumped! We promises to take them in the forthcoming weekends, bid goodbye and walk out. The sparkling smile on their faces as we shake hands and walk out still lingers in my mind. I’ve never seen a livelier smile than that till date – a smile of true thankfulness.
All that they were asking for was a few minutes of our time to see the world from a visionary perspective, to learn things from the so called fortunate people like us, to understand and reconfirm if what they’ve been visualizing in their abstract minds is actually what is present out there.
As I walk out of the old school building, I’m ashamed of things I’ve been so proud of till date. I’m belittled and humbled by the prowess that these people possess. There’s so much that we’ve lost sight of in our endless quest for a better life that we’ve lost track of the minute details of living a worthier life.
If you’re from Pune and can take some time off on your weekends, probably you may want to do some unlearning and pay a visit to the Snehankit foundation. For all you know, it’s we who are blind, light just being a camouflage.