Yes, we are a bit hurried about things, about smells, about life around and inside us. Today I went to an ATM nearest to my home, MVP COLONY, VISAKHAPATNAM… First ever Accessible ATM and E-corner by SBI that’s been advertised in papers. As and when our car used to cross that I used to see at that with lot of hope, that one day I can access that, without any help of others, without someone always breathing behind my neck.
Hmmm.. Life of disability is so fun and so irritating at times…!!
So finally I went there, parking is already taken. the ramp is good. But still, someone needs to push it. Here, I am talking about the angle of it. They have put tactile tiles, but no Braille instructions anywhere. So you forget sign language instructions/interpreters.
They have put an assistant there to help all of us (universally, including normal customers) who don’t have any clue of anything happening.
Inside .. finally the server is down and they think being on wheelchair, my mind is also gone and I don’t know internet based issues…. They don’t know when it will be OK. And suggested me to go to branch nearby which is in the upstairs.my husband’s face is dark with rage. They just physically allowed me, not functionally. Still functional disability is there for everyone. Here, i don’t blame one particular person. But the lack of knowledge on what is called UNIVERSAL DESIGN AND ACCESS..I laughed at the irony of birth of hackers like Julian Assengem, who were born out of exasperation and revenge.. lol
while accessing the ramp, we had to specifically ask people to remove fancy mat ( you can see that in picture) , so that its easier for care giver to push my wheelchair. An extra person has to open the door for me… hmmm.. long dead independent living in India..!!
Having said that, I have enjoyed my so called bank (look alike) visit. Because its the first time, being a finance professional I entered bank physically with just a single person, rather than, someone lifting or I am using my smartness not to go to bank.It’s just that, people and system improves the quality of ATM‘s and access … for many PHYSICALLY vulnerable people like me , PREGNANT WOMAN, ELDERS, PERSONS WITH GAIT AND ORTHRITIC PROBLEMS AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES EITHER VISIBLE OR HIDDEN.
NOW THAT THE NEW PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES DRAFT BILL IS TABLED WITH ALL ITS FLAWS AND LIMITATIONS DESPITE PROTEST FROM SEVERAL ACTIVISTS… THERE ARE CERTAIN ISSUES THAT GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO FOCUS FOR ITS OWN BENEFIT
· Persons with disabilities and vulnerabilities are way too bigger segment to NOT TO CATER.
· The quality of service, gets bettered when banks involve persons with disabilities, not otherwise.
· DESIGN, ATTITUDE, RIGHT KNOWLEDGE IS THE KEY TO UNIVERSAL ACCESS… THEY MAIN INGREDIENT OF SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS ( THOUGH IT’S A JIANT LIKE STATE BANK OF INDIA, ONE HOLE IS ENOUGH TO SINK A SHIP )
while coming back , my husband categorically said- “ why you hurry about every new thing that’s around the corner , i know these people and i want to test before all these things .. in order to save you the disappointment…hmmm
my unspoken answer to him is like this-
Yes, we disabled are hurried … to experience life, to taste, smell, eat, wear, live, love … we never know when this clock stops and our account closes.. !! Permanently ..!!
© Sai Padma :IPR All Rights Reserved
Photo Courtesy: Pragnanand
( An Access Initiative by Global AID www.globalaid.in )