What we know about a woman with disability? Mostly either she is super-talented or utter-dependent!
..Wish she could earn more..
..She is expensive
…it’s tough to get her married off..
…it’s tough to do service to her
…wish we could do something
…what’s her life when support system breaks off?
These are some thoughts that come to our mind, especially in the minds of care providers and doting parents. In a country, where proper care and education for the woman in general is a second priority and they be treated still as a burden on family, we scare to think of woman with disability, who is @the cross roads of life always…
Such cross roads may be
Different medical treatments
Over protection vs. total neglect
School .Vs. home based study
College vs. correspondence course
Job .Vs. Home based work
Emotional stability vs. physical support
Marriage Vs. independent career only
Initiatives with risk vs. future security
Life outside vs. living in a closet called home
Though, this cross roads are there in everyone’s life but they starkly visible laced with pain of burden in case of a woman with disability. In a society, where most woman trained themselves to be guilty (not all though!) for their birth itself, we can understand what kind of double guilt trap it can be for a woman with disability! But today we got to stand up and take note of woman who is confident, vivacious, and rebellious and a leader of her own forte! Above all, a woman who is at peace with her ABILITY AND AS WELL DISABILITY.
Dear friends… meet MS. DEBASREE BHATTACHARYA, from Kolkata, the city of joy, giving joy of living to Persons with Disabilities saying with a sweet and affirmative tone that THEY ARE DIFFERENTLY ABLED NOT DISABLED thru her network portal (www.dandnetwork.com)
Debasree , as most friends call her Debu fondly, was a naughty younger child of middle class parents, she was affected with severe polio to all her four limbs (most uncommon) at the age of two, seeing their beautiful daughter wither with pain, and her parents tried whatever medical service available and affordable to them! Again at the cross roads of physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, allopath and homeo among others. Some worked some didn’t, finally made Debu to sit. Being from a Bengali joint family debasree’s aunt saw the spark in the crawling child towards education and enrolled her in her home based tuitions. Due to over protective nature of her father, much to debug’s dismay they have enrolled her in nearby school instead of standard school which is away!
Access always plays games with life of disabled person, what Pwd take for granted in some developed countries is a utopian luxury for Indian disabled. But ABILITY don’t play games with hard-working persons, Debu excelled in her school, with the rightful support from principle of the school to students there who wants their miracle child Debu to exceed and excel in life.
Father’s retirement and demise with a long illness, made Debu look back at life and made her more resilient and quite independent in thinking. She says she learned to look at herself normal and the way we see our self only makes us what we are!
Disability and maturity laced with practicality comes a bit early for a woman with disability. To keep week body’s energies intact a severely polio affected person is not supposed to do hard manual type physical works. In this catch22 situation, only education is the light, Debu finished her graduation and wanted to pursue Chartered Accountancy, enrolled into it but couldn’t continue due to lack of accessibility of going outside and pursue the course. Without leaving a stone unturned she learned as many computer applications as she can learn.
A naughty girl turned into a calm and composed woman when Debu entered outside harsh world for a job and social welfare office for assistive devices. The harsh ways a disabled was treated by outside world and their remarks ignited a warm fire in Debu to be self dependent to a rage against system that is so inaccessible for the persons with disabilities. She proudly says the remarks taught her what sort of attitude a disabled person should have.
Debu took lot of her decisions of her life on her own. From appointing a maid for her physical help to focusing on her energies towards a home based job to launching disability networking portal- DIFFERENTLY ABLED NOT DISABLED, an exclusive networking portal for persons with disabilities where they are trying to address most important aspects in life of persons with disabilities, employment, matrimony and news of happenings in the world of disability. You can check their work and news and views at www.dandnetwork.com and their face book page http://www.facebook.com/dandnetwork
Debasree and her team are now trying to make the portal more interactive and add more features. Debu gives credit to her this thinking to technology and the opportunities World Wide Web offers for persons with disabilities.
Debasree today works from home as independent contractor for Toronto Based SEO Company and manages the DAND network portal. Loves books and music and being hailed as one of the efficient employees by her management.
When asked whether marriage was on cards for this beautiful young woman, she shrugs it off with a “nay” she says with all due respect to institution of marriage, she doesn’t see herself fit into that institution. May be I didn’t bump into right friend yet…she says! But one thing that really irks her is the way disabled were made a creature of sympathy. She says disgustingly “the mockery sometimes we can laugh it off! But insensitivity has to be fought off! Inclusion doesn’t happen sitting at home!” She expresses concern about too much political affiliation of NGOs working with disabled. It’s a diversion to the cause- she feels!
What Debasree points our casually, is in the mind of every woman with disability..Fighting with society, system by straight shooting one question..
ARE WE JUST OUR BODIES AND LIMITATIONS?? WHAT ABOUT OUR WIT, WISDOM, LOVE AND LOYALTY??
Here Debasree points out some pertinent questions, about marriage vs. meaningful relationships, a freedom that needed to life to the fullest. She asks why sensuality of Indian woman with disability is such a taboo subject. Why she is just treated as an object of either over protection of utter neglect?
Dear friends… when you visit Kolkata next time, don’t forget to touch base with the most independent woman living in a most inaccessible old house in a highly populated city of joy! Give my respect to her and wish her good luck in trying to weave a virtual family of persons with disabilities! Its not important how super successful we are or not, it’s important that whether we started the journey or not! I am sure Debasree will be successful in helping many!
Debasree smiles it off cutely- saying that that’s her goal to live in the most accessible home of my own with full independence and running my organization, of course being a die-hard romantic may be in a relationship too!!
That’s the way to go dear girl…
ACCESS LIFE @ YOUR OWN PACE AND FOR YOUR OWN PEACE!!
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