Hi Shadab:

Sorry for an equally longish mail, but this’s an interesting topic and
I’m sure it’ll be useful to our friends.

Yes, I totally get the point. Our interactions with the so-called
mainstream society often leaves us with the feeling that we’re either
handled with kiddy gloves or excessively praised/compensated because
of our disability.

As mentioned in my previous mail, people don’t do anything for
charity. The marketing folks say that sales of a product or service
depends on this principle called WIIFM –What’s In It  For Me. Whether
knowingly or subconsciously, able-bodied folks look up to us for clues
of resilience, a spark of positive feeling to handle challenges. So,
whatever little extra you’re getting, whether it’s money,
love/friendship, relationship, high-paying gig, or even so much as a
hello from the next door neighbor, remember they look for something
positive in you and whatever concessions/considerations they offer
it’s all a part of the transaction.

And, for heaven’s sake, never mistake the value of your work and it
deserves high pay and no one, not even a charity, would reward your
disability. That’s not the way you’d like to approach work and
compensation.

And,  this’s how we transact/interact with any life form in nature.
Example: you water the plant every day to derive pleasure out of its
growth; you feed your pet, keep it in the best possible condition to
afford the pleasure of its company. Between humans, it’s more
sophisticated but no less transactional.

There was a time in my life when I wondered why people kept a distance
the moment they saw me smoking (yes I did smoke at one point). The
same people who would consider a privilege talking to a blind
journalist (tennis coaches, umpires, sports media managers etc) shied
away from me when they noticed that I smoked with other journalists. I
first thought this was a kind of discrimination because they put me on
a pedestal and expected me to behave flawless. But, as usual, I was
wrong.

Apply the WIIFM principle and you’d realise that these folks spoke to
me expecting something positive and the moment they saw that I’m no
different from the others, they stopped believing that I could have
something different to enrich their life experience. I think our
positive attitude/behavior/approach to life is our greatest asset and
that’s the only thing that attracts us to people. Even people who
never met a blind person in their life have this vague idea that we’ve
something positive in us. And I certainly believe disability has given
us the strength to take on the challenges. Most of us don’t realise
the value of disability because we’ve been taught to look at it
negatively.

As you could see for yourself, it’s important you change the way you
look at people’s offer of help because if disability is a
consideration in things you’ve mentioned there’s nothing negative. For
example: your child’s teacher might consider your disability and give
her phone number knowing that as a parent with disability you need the
information more than the others. And in a fight or dispute, if your
disability is an advantage, then you should probably play it up in a
reasonable way. No, I’m not asking you to stoop to a lower level and
put up an emotional drama, but if disability is a factor in whatever
has happened, it’s important you explain it clearly so that you can
sustain the advantage in the situation. After all, no one gets into an
advantageous position so easily, so why giving it up because some
cynic thought you’ll play the “ disability card”?

Hope it makes sense. And yes, I shall certainly let you and everyone
else here know when my second book is out. Please buy my book and let
me know how you like or dislike it. The greatest reward for a writer
is the feedback from people who take time to read what he/she is
writing.

Stay home, stay safe and good luck.

Subramani


On 3/23/20, shadab...@gmail.com <shadab...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Sir,
>
> Thanks for your detailed and insightful email.
>
> Can I get more specific about my situation?
>
> Well, it may not be the wisest thing to do on an open platform like this.
> But I believe folks reading this email are my friends and might have faced
> similar situations therefore I can open my vulnerable side in front of them.
>
> Right?
>
> So a few specific examples:
>
> 1. I felt a great level of embarrassment to ask the phone number of my
> daughter's teacher because I felt that if she gives it to me, it would be
> out of her pity for me. This was despite the fact that many parents take
> phone numbers of their children's teachers.
>
> 2. I was on a project, getting huge money, but I requested the authorities
> to slash the sum because deep down I had this self-loathing feeling of being
> overpaid for my blindness.
>
> 3. Almost every time when I go to purchase something, I can't bargain for
> the same reason that the salesperson might pity me and cut the price.
>
> 4. Recently I had an ugly spat with some people. I resolved to make them pay
> for it, but one of them said that I'm going to use my disability card, so I
> backed out.
>
> I can tell of more such instances but you have got the point.
>
> This nasty feeling, which probably is rooted in falsehood, prevents me from
> asking favours from the sighted, and consequently I'm not able to progress
> with the pace I should.
>
> Sorry to drag you in this conversation...but I don't think that this problem
> is unique to me. Some people don't speak out.
>
> And am going to read your book!
>
> No price cuts, please. (Winks)
>
> Thanks and cheers,
>
> Shadab
> http://www.husainjournal.blogspot.com/
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: AccessIndia <accessindia-boun...@accessindia.org.in> On Behalf Of
> Subramani L
> Sent: 22 March 2020 17:12
> To: AccessIndia: a list for discussing accessibility and issues concerning
> the disabled. <accessindia@accessindia.org.in>
> Subject: Re: [AI] 5 tips for the blind to stay safe from Coronavirus
> pandemic
>
> Hi Shadab:
>
> Thanks for the reply.
>
> Yes, I agree that most of the problems we face in our social interaction
> isn’t actually due to blindness. It’s a combination of a certain insecurity
> or lack of confidence in us and the almost total ignorance on the part of
> the person who we deal with.
>
> The issue is, we almost immediately assume ourselves to be the aggrieved
> party, the proverbial victim, in any situation where we’re forced to handle
> things from the position of disadvantage (which is almost all the
> situations). So, quite naturally, we consider the other person as the
> villain of the story, the insensitive, callous brute who hurt us badly.
>
> But the reality is very different. The other person is impacted equally
> because he/she is as fallible as we are. He/she has lived in the same
> society where people have a stereotyped opinion about disability since
> they’ve never encountered disability in their lives.
> Those who treat us well, by which I mean human, naturally have a backstory
> in which they’ve had some exposure to disability from childhood.
>
> So, ask the sighted individual whether he or she had met a disabled person
> before and if so, how closely or clearly he/she had seen them.
> Their answer would help you adjust your expectations and save you from
> getting disappointed.
>
> This apart, I think it’s difficult to be entirely objective about social
> attitudes because it’s so personal and sometimes people are definitely nasty
> and inhuman. We can’t put the experiences in black and white.
>
> I believe the change has to happen from us. We should stop talking about the
> limitations created by blindness and instead talk about the positive things.
> When I give a talk, I never fail to mention how my blindness helps me focus
> on the work at hand. It’s scientifically proven that vision provides almost
> 70% of sensory perceptions and the lack of it gives a kind of
> internalization and concentration that can never be achieved by someone who
> can see. The problem is, we don’t often feel positive about our condition
> and therefore end up sounding like victims in the public space.
>
> Yes, we should talk about our rights and fight to win our space, but much
> more important is the fact that we should highlight the uniqueness of our
> experiences and talk more positively in the public.
> Many disability icons had done this before and we should do the same.
>
> I know some people may not agree, but this’s the only effective way to
> engage with the society.
>
> Hope this answers your question in some way.
>
> Rgs,
>
> Subramani
>
>
> On 3/22/20, shadab...@gmail.com <shadab...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi Sir,
>>
>> Your blogposts have great fodder for anyone interested in blindness.
>>
>> Visually impaired aren't seen as common folks as evident by our
>> experiences and which you so well put down in your blogposts.
>>
>> I feel that sometimes the problem lies in our own perspective--which
>> is obviously shaped by what we go through.
>>
>> I mean that sometimes people don't treat us differently, but because
>> we have been treated so in the past, so we automatically presume that
>> it's a treatment meant only for us.
>>
>> Sometimes people talk rudely or politely or sweetly or angrily with
>> me, and I'm quick to attach their reaction with my visual impairment.
>> Curiously, afterwards I learn that they weren't even aware about my
>> condition, and therefore it was their natural behaviour.
>>
>> Additionally, many of my sighted friends tell about their common
>> every-day dealings, describing how someone was insulting or helpful
>> for them. I put myself in their place, and think that had such a
>> behaviour (good or bad) been done with me, I would have quickly linked it
>> with my blindness.
>>
>> In these practical, ever-speeding times, it might sound stupid for me
>> to ask this question, but bear with me...
>>
>> Is there any test to know that the treatment done with us was provoked
>> due to our blindness?
>>
>> I have racked my mind a great deal on this question, and am guilty of
>> ruining my limited time and potential as its consequence. I have even
>> incurred financial and professional losses on myself due to this question.
>>
>> Oftentimes (not always) the impacts of disability get apparent in
>> different ways. Some get depressed, some overconfident, some
>> irritable...and in me it probably manifested in this way.
>>
>> Anyway, now I try to tell myself that it's a first-class foolishness
>> to shed this point any thought, and eventually it's improvement what
>> matters--so I must squeeze out all my energies there.
>>
>> Any insights?
>>
>> Sorry for such a longish email.
>>
>> Cheers,
>>
>> Shadab
>>
>> http://www.husainjournal.blogspot.com/
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: AccessIndia <accessindia-boun...@accessindia.org.in> On Behalf
>> Of Subramani L
>> Sent: 22 March 2020 00:47
>> To: accessindia <accessindia@accessindia.org.in>
>> Cc: Voice Vision. <l...@voicevision.in>
>> Subject: [AI] 5 tips for the blind to stay safe from Coronavirus
>> pandemic
>>
>> 5 tips for the blind to stay safe from Coronavirus pandemic
>>
>> Blindness in the time of Coronavirus could be dangerous for some,
>> especially if they live in a densely populated country like India.
>> What makes it even more of a risk is the fact that it won’t be always
>> possible to avoid physical contact.
>>
>> I’m not sure if this’s the case if you live in a Western country where
>> independence is highly encouraged and people don’t so readily
>> intervene in the activities of a blind person, but at the same time,
>> without personal experiences, I wouldn’t like to make a general
>> statement about life as a blind person in the West.
>>
>>
>>
>> Read the rest of the blog at:
>> https://grapplingwithrp.wordpress.com/2020/03/22/5-tips-for-the-blind-
>> to-stay-safe-from-coronavirus-pandemic/
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Search for old postings at:
>> http://www.mail-archive.com/accessindia@accessindia.org.in/
>>
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>>
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>
>
> --
> L. Subramani,
> Chief Copy Editor,
> Deccan Herald,
> Bangalore,
> Sign up to my blogpost here:
> https://app.convertkit.com/landing_pages/406190/edit
>
> M: 91-9738422284
>
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>
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>
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>
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>
> If my mind can conceive it, if my heart can believe it, I know I'll achieve
> it.
>
>
>
>
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>
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-- 
L. Subramani,
Chief Copy Editor,
Deccan Herald,
Bangalore,
Sign up to my blogpost here:
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If my mind can conceive it, if my heart can believe it, I know I'll achieve it.




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