‘Differently’abled

Pradeep : 4th from L-R standing

Pradeep was walking on the road, neatly in-shirted and wearing shoes, a flattened hair with oil on the head makes him look more of a Civil services aspirant rather than a Volunteer of Seva Bharathi. This friend and collegue of mine is walking towards the slum nearby in Kachiguda the Sanjay Gandhi nagar near chadarghat. He has a programme there to supervise and has been closely working for a couple of weeks not mattering the time day / night. He knows all the 1500 population of the slum by name so is the case with all of them for pradeep calling him anna. Its the same with a couple of other slums Krishna Nagar and Kamgar Basti. Petty quarrels, family disturbances, depressions, domestic violence all all of them are handled by this one person. Its not just volunteering that pradeep is good at but buddy take note he can recollect any person by his footsteps or a touch no matter if you have met him a couple of years ago. Pradeep reaches the slum and gets greeted “Namaste Anna”, (Hi Brother) responds with a “Namaste Akka or tammi or Anna” (Hi Sister / Brother thats a mark of respect attached to a person even if it is not ur own) and procedes to the near by house at the entrance of the slum. Wishes them takes a sip of coffee. The family works in the Municipal corporation of Hyderabad and they reserve their coffee session with Pradeep whenever he is visiting the slum.

Not that it is anything great or extra-ordinary for a person like Pradip or for me and my other collegues (we all are used to pradeep and treat him normally in my seven years working with Pradeep I hardly helped him fill an application form or taken him to a place that he wanted to visit and its the other way round whenever I wanted to go to some place he woulkd take me. Wondering how thats his ability thats how he is Differently abled). Only that Pradeep lost his Vision by birth. His father a small time tailor in Nizamabad tried all he could travelled as far as Mumbai to get the vision to his son. Pradeep can swim as deep as it is possible, drive a bike ofcourse with little support from Shivakumar another volunteer. Pradeep had a vision to work for people like him sometime later and now he is working with people like him but with less self Esteem than him. He’s driving the motivational for them. Pradeep now works as the Public relations face or the reception incharge at the Nizamabad District Govt area Hospital.

It was holi and we all were drenched in colors after playing holi with the Slum dwellers and a group of friends while returning pradeep took the bike started and wanted shiva to sit behind him while with a direction here and there a LEFT a RIGHT and a slow speedbreaker ahead he was driving smooth when a Traffic police stopped us. Pradeep talked out to him and told him that they were comming from a nearby slum and thats how they missed the Helmet rule. The traffic police couldnt even make out to whom he was talking and all of us were looking normal. It was much later that when we settled we all burst into laughter what would have been the Police officer’s reaction if only he was aware of Pradeep’s differently abled status. I dont mean to highlight the risk and make him a heroe of such things but its a fact that most of treat them with pity, sympathy and other filthy words rather than treating them with respect equality and empathy.

And will quote one more incident from my experiences. I was reading out an article from Hindu that Pfizer foundation has financed a Differentlyabled person (visully) to scale the Mt Everest and was all wowing for him. Pradeep’s reaction was take me to the base of Mt everest and I will take you to the top of Mt Everest. Thats Pradeep for me and Thats Differentlyabled for me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disability

International Day of Disabled Persons
3 December 2006

2006 Theme: “E-Accessibility”

UN Programme on Disability Working for full participation and equality

Facts and figures
The World Health Organisation estimates that there are 600 million disabled people worldwide, about 10% of the world population. It is also estimated that about 80% of all disabled people worldwide live in developing countries.

More and more, disability is seen as a social issue which is not only based on medical reasons. The organisation ���Disabled Peoples��� International��� defines disability as the interaction between the person with impairment and environmental and attitudinal barriers he or she may face. Therefore the reasons for disability are always complex and can only be understood within the context of societies and cultures.

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12 thoughts on “‘Differently’abled

  1. Mahesh Khanna T

    great to about the ‘differetabily’ of Mr.Pradeep … thanks for letting us to know about him – the unsung hero .. I wish him all success and luck for his future endeavors – sorry I should not say luck, coz he him self destined his luck – say my hi to him, Viru 🙂

  2. i am at facebook

    wow Mr.Pradeep is an awsome man Veeru. I have one of those handicap tags for my car as I am “Differently-abled with Multiple Sclerosis. But I truly LOVE your word for my son, who is autistic. He will ask me “Am I retarded?” and I tell him no way because he is very smart. He graduated on high-honor roll this past June. I tell him what the doctors tell us, that he has a mental disability. Now I will tell him that because he must re-invent a way to learn, he is not mentally disabled, but Differentlyabled. I cant wait to tell him this. Thank you so much Veeru. I love you!

  3. Dilys S

    Very inspiring! Wonderful. I work with “differently abled” teens as a teaching assistant, and I too appreciate the ingenuity that they sometimes have so that they may be successful in their lives.

  4. svelliyod

    I am reminded of “An Elegy written in a Country Churchyard” by Thomas Gray – “full many a bloom is born to blush unseen…”

    It’s people like Pradeep who, despite this ugly world of greed and selfsihness, make this world go around, help us retain faith in the human race…

  5. ॐ nina infinite ॐ

    I think most hear the word ‘disabled’ with their ears, but something happens when it hits their minds and it turns into ‘DISSED-abled’, as in DIS-missed and DIS-respected!

    Differently abled is the only way to see human beings. Well said, and a great tribute to your friend, Pradeep.

    Excuse my ignorance, but please, what does ‘Anna’ mean? or ‘Akka’?

    smiles…

  6. Veeru వీరు

    Thank you Everybody all 10 of you that have responded and that shows the concern. And if we can remind ourselves that they are just differently “abled” and not DIS “abled” it is more than fulfilling not for them but for all of us.

  7. TabithaDarling

    Great post. Thanks for sharing your story of your friend. I also have a blind friend and really asppreciate the humor of the bike story.

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