My parents tell me I had the most beautiful eyes. When I was three though, something started going wrong with them. Doctors said it was glaucoma and I underwent an operation in my right eye. Soon after, my parents noticed that my right eye had some discharge coming out of it. When they contacted the doctor, he said it was normal but within a few days, my right eye completely disappeared and they rushed me back to the hospital. But I had already lost my right eye. The doctor immediately performed surgery to stop the infection from spreading. If he hadn’t been negligent, maybe we could have saved my right eye. By the time I turned 5, I had undergone six operations. With 20% vision left in my left eye, I was told to be very careful to make sure I did not lose it.
As a child, I went to a mainstream school. My twin sister was in the same class so it saved me from a fair bit of teasing and peer pressure. In Class 8, my school asked me to leave since they did not have the provisions necessary for a visually impaired student. My mother found out I could write my exams privately. That was the start of my education journey. I studied in private and gave exams with help of a scribe.
In 10th standard, I scored 80%. In Class 12, I scored 76%. I studied for college through correspondence and even translated my own college books from Hindi to English. I even did my Masters in English Literature. I learnt Braille, typing, computers, English, guitar – all on my own. When I got introduced to the miracle of a screen reader which reads everything on the screen, I learnt it on my own.
My friends, twin sister and my brother left the place Naya Nangal for better opportunities. I decided not to. I wanted to stay back and raise awareness about disability and the opportunities technology has to offer. I did not want another child to go through the things I did. I have faced and still face a lot of discrimination. In parties, people wish my sister and brother but ignore me. When relatives visit home, they inquire about my sister’s wedding but seldom ask about mine, even if I am right next to her. Recently, I was asked not to enter the karate class, though I was paying twice the fee and had already secured a green belt. One day, I know I will get the black belt and train other visually impaired girls.
When someone says, I can’t, I go ahead and do it. Today, I work as an RJ, a senior content writer sitting right in my house, and conduct Sensitisation Sessions in the schools around my area on issues of disability. I even did paragliding in Kullu Manali and hope to travel by myself to different places one day. Today, I can confidently say – even though I am visually impaired, the world is a beautiful place!
Being You © 2017