The two years I spent abroad as a young adult, going where I pleased, entirely on my own, were therefore among the most fulfilling in my life … and yet I chose to return to this chaotic country with its incomprehensible ways. Maybe because all said and done, this is where I “belong”. This is where I feel most at home. Because something in the atmosphere strikes a chord in me. Quite simply, broken pavements notwithstanding, I have started acknowledging the fact that I like living here!
Still, it would be so nice if India could make a bit more of an effort to cater to people who are physically disadvantaged, not to mention mentally disadvantaged or lacking in other respects. This darker side to our attitudes and to our mentality is also a reality. I have so often seen deaf people get laughed at because those with normal hearing find the way they talk, hilarious. The physically handicapped are ignored when streets and housing or public spaces are planned. The mentally retarded … well the less said about society’s reaction to this group of people the better. The blind…they are pitied as much as they are cheated when shop keepers/taxi drivers and others feel they can get away with it. This is what I learnt from my blind friend Venky, who in spite of everything has managed to travel all over the world on his own - from Xanadu to Zurich or London.
Oh well. I continue to grumble but not as viciously as I used to. Things take time. It will take time for us to catch up with the west in matters where we need to catch up. I’m learning to be patient!