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 . . .