Day before yesterday, After I made hue and cry about a recent report
in the India today in which a judge has observed that blind people can
not give bath to their children is now being contested and rebuffed
strongly. The Tribune did the story on a blind couple living happily
in Jalandhar yesterday, and This one from the HT is the real depiction
of our daily struggles and joyous lives. Now I want to read an
editorial in any of the dailies about the judge fallacious
understanding about what blind people can do or not. Media friends, do
help us in bursting the myths about our lives. You are the gatekeepers
and we have great hopes from you.
Day before yesterday, After I made hue and cry about a recent report
in the India today in which a judge has observed that blind people can
not give bath to their children is now being contested and rebuffed
strongly. The Tribune did the story on a blind couple living happily
in Jalandhar yesterday, and This one from the HT is the real depiction
of our daily struggles and joyous lives. Now I want to read an
editorial in any of the dailies about the judge fallacious
understanding about what blind people can do or not. Media friends, do
help us in bursting the myths about our lives. You are the gatekeepers
and we have great hopes from you.
http://www.hindustantimes.com/static/groundglass/visually-challenged-couple-odisha.html

Bibekananda Tripathi, 42, first met his wife Sasmita, 35, at school in
their hometown Bhubaneswar in Odisha. It was a bond born out of love
and empathy. They were both visually impaired and became close friends
while learning how to negotiate a dark world at Bhima Bhoi School for
the Blind.

Hussein
The Tripathis perform a puja during Navratri. The family that prays
together, stays together.


Twenty-five years later, Bibekananda’s job as a stenographer with the
Central government led them to Delhi, where they live in a two-room
government accommodation in RK Puram in South Delhi.

Hussein
The Tripathis are hungry for information, and use all media forms to
stay tuned to the world around them.

Hussein
Good samaritans usually step forward to help the couple, but many
people pass by.


The Tripathis couldn’t be happier. They have a wonderful nine-year-old
son, Deepananda, who is a student of Class 4 at DAV RK Puram.
Responsible beyond his years, Deepananda has become his parents’ eyes,
helping them around and taking care of them. “They don’t need much
help. They can both find their way around the neighbourhood on their
own,” quips Deepananda.

Hussein
Shopping at the local market is part of the family’s daily routine.

Hussein
Sasmita dictates to Bibekananda as he practices his stenography during
his free time.


Bibekananda advises all parents not to repeat the mistakes that led to
him and his wife losing their vision when they were both around three
years old. “Neither of us can recall what anything looks like. We
experience the world through feel and touch,” he says.

Hussein
Bibekananda loves chaat and can find his way alone to the best chaat
shop in the neighbourhood.

Hussein
The family stays in their two-room apartment in RK Puram colony.


“Please don’t ignore minor infections and get your children treated
instead of going for home remedies,” he urges. Medical facilities have
improved in his village, but he fears parents’ mindsets have not. “We
both lost our vision from complications after a bout of severe
diarrhoea and dehydration, and the lack of medical attention. I don’t
want it to happen to anyone,” says Bibekananda.

Hussein
Cooking is easy, says Sasmita, who effortlessly works around hot oil and fire.


On busy Delhi streets, most people help Bibekananda and his wife
negotiate the traffic and crowds, but he gets more help from people
from poorer sections than from the busy middle-classes.

Hussein
Family time involves son Deepananda watching news on TV while his
parents listen to it.


“We rarely step out at night because of drunk-driving. People who
drink and drive are even more blind than the two of us,” laughs
Sasmita.

Hussein
Every morning, Sasmita helps Deepananda get ready for school.

Hussein
Selfies are great, but Deepananda quips he sometimes has to struggle
to get his parents to look at his cellphone camera.


Their sole wish? “People are helpful but life would be a lot


-- 
Avinash Shahi
Doctoral student at Centre for Law and Governance JNU


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