The journey of my life has always taught me the meaning of ‘independence’. Starting from my schools days, when my parents sent me to the hostel in Oak Grove School Mussorrie, all the way to the college days in Amity Noida, life had always been enjoyable and independent.
My college life was quite an enriching experience. Both, Amity College and Delhi University as a whole, gave me an exposure towards various internships and practical field work. I was also responsible for representing Indraprastha College for women in Delhi University meetings, as the head of the committee for sexual harassment. These activities gave me an opportunity to help others through counselling and training sessions. College years seemed to fly by and soon I was equipped with loads of experience and an M.A. in Psychology.
While my interaction with different people did show me the varied aspects of life with regard to the multiple challenges people face, there was still more to come.
I got married into a wonderful family and was blessed to have a loving husband and a beautiful child. Life continued to be enjoyable and then needless to mention, my priority was my baby. I continued to help students by becoming a visiting faculty/guest counsellor-psychologist in some prestigious schools in Dehradun and Mussourrie. I would travel to Mussourrie and counsel students on how to manage their stress levels during exams, how to tackle peer pressure and other such events that impacted their confidence. Their openness in adapting to suggested changes and the eventual improvement in their overall performance made the counselling sessions fruitful for them and satisfying for me. They helped me in continuing to try and give back as much as I could in terms of helping people through my positivity and counselling skills. This continued till I visited NIVH, the renowned National Institute for the Visually Handicapped.
I prepared myself to answer a volley of questions from students who felt incapacitated to deal with the ‘normal’ outside world. I walked into this institute feeling confident about my own counselling skills, experience and most of all, my positivity in working with people with impairments. Little did I know that life had many more lessons for me to learn and that I was about to enter a whole new world.
To my surprise, nothing of what I expected happened, in fact most of the students that I spoke to were quite cheerful and positive. I soon realised to my utter amazement that these students have not only taken their impairment in their stride – they have risen to a level where their visual impairment is no longer an ‘impairment’ in their life.
While most people consider and term the students of this institute as “visually handicapped”, it is surprising and amazing to watch them accomplish all their daily tasks with easy and so much of positivity. Whether we talk about achieving excellent educational results, walking up and down the stairs or even activities such as playing football, these students have mastered these and have truly risen above their so-called limiting visual condition. So now when I think of my level of positivity and the attitude that I or many of our ‘visually normal’ people have, it makes me think twice. Have we actually understood positivity and independence in the true sense of these words?
Most of us consider ourselves positive because of our outlook and because we have overcome the trivial challenges of life. However, my interaction with these strong-willed students has made me understand one fact. Those who wish to understand the true meaning of the words ‘positive’ and ‘independent’ should certainly visit this institute and learn from these go-getters who have so much to crib about, but are always smiling.