A Blind Man’s Vision-Part 2

—— Continued from  http://pramskite.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/a-blind-mans-vision/

As I was looking around while Mr.Lokesh went in to get a chair I found a old PC which reminded me of my high school computer lab. Mr.Lokesh got a plastic chair.  My chair was facing towards the door and his chair was facing the computer, I thought Mr.Lokesh was confused. However, I realised that I was confused when he opened the cupboard of his computer table and took out an album. This album had photographs of the inauguration of his organization. I could see the pride on his face while he was showing me those pictures. I had a look at all the pictures and Mr.Lokesh waited for me to complete patiently. This moment of my life where I was shown pictures by a person who cannot see was flabbergast.

Our discussion continued, I asked him a few more questions to know more on how does he work and maintain his organization. Mr.Lokesh visits other organizations and distributes pamphlets of his organization and tries raising funds. He told me that a few corporate employees will be very generous that they help him with good amount of money, a few ask for a receipt and a few do not bother. Mr.Lokesh seemed to be okay with all kinds of people. While discussing with me Mr.Lokesh used a couple of English sentences. I was curious to know how he would speak English, I started conversing in English and his English was better than any other BA graduate in our state I have ever seen. He can speak and understand Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and English, he can read and write in Kannada and English.

And yeah, I also took his photograph before climbing the stairs of his house.

Mr.Lokesh's Photograph

Mr.Lokesh

Mr.Lokesh knows about all the opportunities that a visually challenged person can have in our country and he is helping many of them find their paths in life. In the same way the people in his hostel are finding their paths with his help. It was around 6’o clock in the evening and all the visually challenged folks in the hostel were still at work and none hadn’t returned as yet. I wanted to know if Mr.Lokesh worked somewhere before, it was interesting to know that he was working at a garments factory before on someone’s recommendation. His job was to count the buttons of shirts and trousers. He was happy doing it, however once he got to know that his job was of no good for the company and he was given the broken buttons to count. He was depressed that he was just given a job just for the sake and his job was of no importance to the company. Mr.Lokesh wanted to do something which will be helpful and important for his company; he said he always wanted to do justice for the money he takes. He also indirectly got to know that he wouldn’t have any better opportunity at the garments factory and they might just continue to have him as an employee just for the sake. Hence he decided to quit that job and started his own organization to help visually challenged people in getting the skills to be employed. Mr.Lokesh was also clear in his goals, he mentioned his goal is to construct a building for the hostel and have good amount of monthly income to run his hostel with more people and facilities.

I understood that Mr.Lokesh is getting help and also he needs a lot more help. Pointing at the old computer he had at his home Mr.Lokesh said it was donated by someone and that PC do not have audio drivers to install the software which reads the text on screen. He requested me to ask my friends if anyone has old unused PC’s and if so, donate it to his firm to arrange for computer classes for his hostel folks. He said there are many people ready to teach but there are no computers. Mr. Lokesh said he has to arrange for around 15 to 20 Kg’s of rice every month. Also, he has to bear the costs of vegetables and the salary for the cook. It was difficult for me to imagine how could he maintain all these with just raising funds. I asked him to plan some strategy to generate more income, he rather told me to give a working idea so that he shall surely implement it. I told him I will get back if I get an idea as its very easy to advice and he was very practical person.

I had nothing else to speak, I decided to get back home and said thank you for his time. He said he is very happy that I went till his hostel and was interested to know about him. I informed him that I would write an article for my blog about him and he was happy about that. While I was about to leave he reminded me again to ask my friends if they have old unused PC’s to donate, I said I will surely try. Mr.Lokesh finally said, he requires more of moral support than financial support. This last sentence said by Mr.Lokesh was buzzing around my mind for a long time. I walked back to the bus stop alone while it was still drizzling and reached home.

And yeah, his firm has a website. If you are interested to know more and interact, here is the link www.darideepa.wordpress.com

A special thanks to Mr.Lokesh for being my inspiration, I am sure he has inspired all the readers of this article as well.

 

-Pram’s Kite

A Blind Man’s Vision-Part 1

It was a rainy Bangalore evening! I was reading a book on a great Indian poet Tenali Raman while I was travelling in the air conditioned (blowing) Bangalore city bus listening to the FM radio played in the bus. The book was pretty awesome with strategies filled with humor . I was nearing my destination, hence packed my book and walked towards the door to get down in the next stop; I stood near the door waiting for it to open. Someone held my hand suddenly and I gave an uncomfortable look towards that person and then I noticed that he cannot look at me. Yes, he was a visually challenged person. He did not simply hold my hand; he said “Sir, did you feel bad that you had to hold a blind man’s hand”. I was a bit embarrassed; however I knew that it’s my responsibility to help him in getting down. I told him not to worry that I might feel bad and we got down from the bus and reached the bus stop while it was drizzling. We stood in the bus stop and I started conversing with him, his name is Mr.Lokesh. He was very confident, well groomed and had a fine tone of voice which could attract any listeners.

I had a few questions running in my mind from long time on how do these visually challenged people challenge the challenging situations of life and I thought this is a great opportunity for me to spend some time with him and know about him. Fortunately, we were heading towards the same destination and had to catch another bus. However, I stared asking him questions while waiting for the bus. I asked about his profession, I was shocked to know that he was an entrepreneur. He said he has founded a firm called “Darideepa” and he is the managing trustee for that firm. He is working on providing basic needs to the visually challenged people through this firm. I was very excited and wanted to know more about him, the bus stop became crowded due to the rain and people around were also getting interested on our conversation as Mr. Lokesh was explaining about his organization. A great deal of passion and commitment were evident in his tone and hand gestures while he was speaking. I saw the arrival of the bus I was waiting for, it was still drizzling and somehow me and Mr.Lokesh managed to get into the bus.

Mr.Lokesh stays 4 kms away from my place, I purchased a ticked to his place and he had a bus pass. We continued our conversation, I was very interested to know about his childhood and education, on asking him about this Mr.Lokesh said he is visually challenged from birth, he has not seen this world as we do and he has his own patterns of this world. He has studied in the braille school and he is a BA graduate. I asked him about braille and he told a story on how braille was invented and its history. He was an amazing story teller; I noticed that everyone around us in the bus were listening to our conversation. I wanted to know if he had any situations in his life where he felt depressed about his visual challenge and how did he get along with those kind of situations .We had enough conversation till now which made me comfortable asking him about this. He explained he was very depressed at times but now he has adapted to this adversity that god has given and he no longer feels bad. As we continued our conversation, Mr.Lokesh talked about the activities of his organization, he is currently providing food and shelter for 12 visually challenged people, he has hired a 2 BHK house for this and also appointed a cook. He has dreams of growing this organization to greater heights and serving more people.

We reached the destination, got down from the bus and I decided to walk with him till his house, he stays with those 12 visually challenged people whom he has provided shelter. As soon as we got down he asked me to take the service road and take a right. We walked for two minutes; he said we gotta take a left turn here. We continued to walk; this was a bit congested area with small roads sandwiched within big buildings. He suddenly said there is a speed breaker here, and there was a speed breaker just a couple of steps ahead.  He gave me clear cut directions to reach his home. I had a question poking in my mind! Who is helping whom here? He mentioned that he will remember the places and routes soon after visiting ones! We reached the destination and Mr.Lokesh’s home-cum-hostel was at a first floor in a small apartment. I thought of going back, however Mr.Lokesh forced me in. There was a small tunnel between two houses. He held my hand and took me through the tunnel and a sudden turn by Mr. Lokesh showed me steps for the first floor where he lived. I went in , he introduced me to a semi visually challenged person who had recently joined his hostel. I sat on a chair and Mr.Lokesh walked into one of the rooms to get a chair for himself. I was looking around and my mind was telling me “You have become a journalist” :-D

A great deal of determination has given Mr.Lokesh the courage and confidence to sail in this ocean of uncertainties and adversities. I found him happier and focused unlike any other normal person.

Continued in . . .

http://pramskite.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/a-blind-mans-vision-part-2/

Adapting to Adversity-1

I got into a bus , got a window seat and felt I would have a great journey with music and sceneries outside window, I plugged my ear phones in and started with a tune of  Yanni . But,  I suddenly heard a song in the bus, that was live and i could see that a visually challenged person is singing with a small musical instrument in his hand. I pulled out my headset and watched him sing. He had an expression of enjoyment on his face, he seemed engrossed into his song and his hand was busy collecting coins. He was not scared that the bus would move, the conductor was signalling the driver to move on, but the song did not have any pauses or breaks or did he show any anxiety or fear that the bus might move. May be he is used to this bus,  but still, he is visually challenged and people who are one hundred percent fine in their health get scared. He stopped singing only after completing the last row of the bus and then got down when the bus almost left. He had no one with him. It dint seem like he is begging, he sang and he is enjoying his song. Also a few people including me did enjoy that song. I was blown away with the way he was earning his bread and butter; he was no less than any musician or an artist. That was a live show and you pay only if you feel like paying, his hands just passed over the seats and did not demand anything. Live music at your ears and you pay only if you feel like paying.

I saw people cribbing and also a few people paying him. People who crib had a lot of problems with him. They felt that he is very used to this, he knows the driver and conductor very well and they too get a share. They also feel that he should probably do some job rather than begging and also they doubted that he might not be blind. The way I look at it, he is an entrepreneur; he is earning his bread on his own. He is not demanding money, he has trained himself very well to handle his music and his movement in bus to be perfect and independent.  One hand is busy with the musical instrument, the other one is busy collecting money. He knows the architecture of the bus so well that he is not even missing a step and he cannot see. Wow, how well we know our working locations!

Well, I felt very embarrassed on how should I react. Should I feel pity or should I feel proud of him. He has an open challenge from god of not able to visualize the real world in his eyes and he has accepted it and moving forward. There are a lot of people who collect money in the name of god and misuse it, people pay them. This person is performing despite of his visual imparity to get his money without giving any false hopes. Why not encourage him and treat him normally?  Do not look at him as a beggar, no he is not. He is doing a lot of work to ask money, a normal man cannot balance himself and sing in a bus with an instrument and also sing so loud which will be audible to all, it is our responsibility to acknowledge that before we pay him or decide not convincing ourselves that we do not have change.

-TO BE CONTINUED

True Topper

I was dreaming to get first Rank in my school and always felt bad that I was not able to get it, I was nowhere even close to first rank, and I was disgusted. My dad always wanted me to score a distinction, 85% and above, but I was always stuck at 80% to 83% and could never cross that. So, even my dad was unhappy.

In my 9th standard there was a science exhibition organized at my school, I was a part of the team which built a hydraulic power plant demo model and I took up the responsibility to explain the model to the audiences. I was very good at explaining things. My explanation was a blend of interest, passion and happiness. One of the audiences said, “You explained it very well, you must be the topper of the class! Correct?” I just gave a smile and started with the next audience. I was very happy; an unknown happiness was struck in my mind. I have a feeling that I found out something!

I could analyse and know the reason for my happiness; I found out that you need not be a topper only by securing first rank. You can be a topper in your attitude, you can be a topper in your behavior, you can be a topper in so many other things that you love to do and getting a first rank is only one of the ways to be a topper.

Enjoy your life and be a topper in whatever you love to do :)

-PrAm

Tenali’s Trick

I hope you would be familiar about the great poet during the reign of krishnadevaraya. Yes, he is none other than Thenali Raman who was also known as VIKATAKAVI. Do you know the speciality of this title? We can pronounce the same even if it is read from left to right (VI-KA-TA-KA-VI)!

Once a businessman was travelling on his cart, but he met with an accident and fell into a small stream of water. His horse died while struggling to pull the heavy cart out of the water stream.

horse

The businessman was helpless with the dead horse and the stuck cart. He ran to a nearby house for help and fortunately met Thenali Raman there. The businessman explained his situation and cried for help. Thenali Raman asked the businessman to calm down and said he will help him move the cart. Raman thought for a while and said Shankara will be able to rescue the cart. The businessman was curious about who Shankara was. Thenali Raman showed his old horse named Shankara, but the businessman was not sure if Shankara could pull the cart out of water as the horse was very old.

oldhorse

However, Thenali Raman was very confident about his horse. Shankara was tied to the cart by Raman, the businessman was anxious! Raman suddenly started shouting pull Naga! Pull Soma! Pull Srinivasa! Pull Rama! Pull Shankara!

The businessman was confused with Raman’s act, but surprisingly Shankara had pulled the heavy cart out of the water stream. The businessman was very happy, he thanked Raman, kissed Shankara and curiously asked Raman that why did he shout so many names? Raman replied saying Shankara is old and blind as well, as long as he feels part of the team, he doesn’t mind pulling.

Confidence kills fear, will power is the source of strength

-Pram