On My Blindness, With Apologies to Milton

white cane
Are we blind towards the blind?

ONE OF THE FAMOUS POEMS by John Milton (Don’t know? Ask Google) is ‘On His Blindness‘. That set me thinking —  of MY future blindness.

One of my parents went blind due to glaucoma (eye pressure) months before death. I was told that it was genetic and so I must get checked. Expectedly, when I did, it was glaucoma. Anyone whose parents (or one  one them) had glaucoma MUST have an eye-check, I was told, After expensive field vision tests thrice, I was just told to take care. No surgery was advised. Perhaps it was too late.

So, resigned to turning blind (again, I hope, just for months before death) I downloaded seveImage result for John Miltonral  of Librivox audio books. After hearing 19 books of  P. G. Wodehouse,  it occurred to the old cerebrum: Without sight, how can I know which book to hear and how to start it on the device?

 

So that set me thinking about blindness and trying to find my way around with eyes closed. I recalled a delightful essay by E. V. Lucas, (who? Google again) which I read decades ago, about a small puppy he named ‘Lord of Life’ for its liveliness. Just to know how  the puppy looked at the world,  Lucas went around on all-fours looking up at people and things.

 

That gave him a new view of the world.  But how about people who had no vision, or sight, at all? After my social work  group organized a vintage car rally with blind navigators carrying route directions in braille, it occurred to me that the whole society/community/country is blind – to the plight of the blind.

So I planned (but could not put through) a public awareness drive with several persons marching blindfolded, running into people, bumping into things,  carrying placards on how to treat the blind and respect the white cane – the worldwide symbol of the blind.

It was again  in my social work days that I learnt about white cane, mobility training and serving blind people (“The curry is at 9  0’clock and Dal at 3”  would make it clear to them when an Indian food plate is kept before the blind).  In those days a blind Ph.D.  student told me how she could match the colours of her saree and blouse. She associated a colour with each texture she knew by touch – like rayon, linen, cotton, silk, poplin or Georgette.

Editing reports for a consultancy firm, Erin, I found there a blind telephone operator who remembered people by voice, could dial numbers and give extensions. He was also the captain of the state’s blind cricket team.

I recalled interviewing as a cub reporter some 60 years ago, an Indian professor of  New School of Social Research, New York, who went around that bustling city with the help of just a  white cane.

In India he would have fallen into road potholes or on uneven footpaths, abused, pushed around, bumped into and shouted at by many: “Are you blind?”

He WAS blind.

Or was it the sighted people around, blind to his white cane and black goggles, who were really blind?

 

Poem: “Time To Stand Up?” (Reblogged)

Reblogging a poem that really moved me  — UnstoppableAfterSeventy

Date: May 3, 2017

by John Kaniecki

When Pilgrim pride
Committed genocide
Did you stand?
When from across the sea
Merchants dealt chattel slavery
Did you stand?
When immigrants of all ages
Were paid starvation wages
Did you stand?
When Jim Crow did reign
Inflicting bitter pain
Did you stand?
When they desecrated sacred Mother Earth
Violating indigenous worth
Did you stand?
When imperialism dominated
And atrocities were created
Did you stand?
When the police time and time again
Gun down black young men
Did you stand?
When the C.I.A. in sin
Flooded the hood with heroin
Did you stand?
When trillions were spent on war
And nothing to the poor
Did you stand?
Did you stand for every injustice and wrong?
Then why should I stand for your racist song?

Author’s Links:

amazon.com/John-Kaniecki/e/B00NV8AU76

  Will a hundred more bloggers reblog this?   I hope they do.

What India Can Teach Us

kRIYANAND
J. Donald Walters a k a Swami Kriyananda,  a proponent of yogic teachings,  became in 1948,  at the age of 22, a disciple of  the master, Paramhansa Yogananda, knownfor his famous book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’
HERE IS ONE POST THAT MAKES US THINK. Many Westerners have studied Indian philosophy and spiritualism deeply and considered India their spiritual motherland. He brought back to me memories of a book I cam across in the 1960s, ‘The Ocher Robe’ written by Swami Agehananda  Bharati, an Austrian who had was with the Ramakrishna Mission.
The following post  is by Swami Kriyananda, born in 1926 to American parents in Romania and a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda.
WHAT  INDIA  CAN    TEACH US
Since my childhood I have   traveled extensively, visiting more than fifty countries. I have enjoyed observing the superficial differences of national outlook and temperament, while at the same time recognizing underneath them a shared humanity. It was in India, however, where I lived for four years, that I met my greatest challenges.

Hungry, Sleepless in School

The  social media, like WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook are  becoming  dominant factors in Sleeples,hugry.jpgwhat we think and communicate today. A whole new culture is evolving around them. It needs another blog post – perhaps several- to deal with them.

Now I want to speak only ab0out a picture with a message that went viral recently. A post in Hindi I got on  W-App last week said a picture posted on Twitter by  Suren of Hyderabad vent viral and got prompt responses from several, including the Telangana Minister for Education  who, along with the HRD ministry at the Centre, were tagged in the post.

Suren’s post showed a KG student standing in line for the school morning prayer, with a half-eaten paratha peeping out of the uniform’s pocket. “Morning’s unfinished breakfast in pocket and sleepy eyes — kindly think of school from 10 to 5,” the tweet said.

Continue reading Hungry, Sleepless in School

Cong Plays Gandhi Poltics

khadi-calendar-modi-aol-storageWriting on politics, I had said in a blog post (‘Scavenging With Pen‘) has been a dirty job which I tried to avoid.  But you cannot escape it when political sloganeering defying  logic is unthinkingly accepted by many  as truth.

Congress is making a hue and cry over a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi  in the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) calendar and diary for 2017. KVIC  has pointed out that the Mahatma’s picture was omitted from the  1996, 2002, 2005, 2011 , 2012 and 2013 calendar  during Congress rule. No one had raised a finger then. Quotes from the Mahatma were on most pages of the  new calendar and diary, KVIC said.

True the KVIC should not have put Narendra Modi’s picture there, as Continue reading Cong Plays Gandhi Poltics

Where is the Time?

Being on several lv-headshot-2016-203x300WhatsApp groups (as almost everyone is, these days) I received a longish post in Marathi recently. It was a story of  an elderly man who meets a dashing,  distant relative.

Any plans for marriage?, the ‘Kaka’ asks and was told by the IT engineer that hehad none.
Where is the time for it?

One day he comes and tells Kaka of his impending marriage. When did he “see the girl” as is the practice in Indian arranged marriages? Oh no.  They ‘met’ on the Internet, liked each other’s  views and decided to tie the knot. Where is the time to go for ‘mulgi pahayla”  (going to see the girl).

How about the wedding card, the purchases, the personal invitations? He came to Kaka  only as he Continue reading Where is the Time?

Outhouses on the First Floor

old-age-home-in-bangaloreThe very few who responded to my  yesterday’s post, ‘Coming of (Old)Age in India‘ could be divided into two groups with opposing views.

One is shocked with children neglecting or even abusing the parents who nursed them from infancy. They are sad about                                                  the elders being kept in old-age homes, abandoned or put to sleep.

The other group feels that it is nothing unusual and that the modern youth, with both Continue reading Outhouses on the First Floor

Coming of (Old) Age in India

blog-imagesSometimes people start believing the fiction they create about  old_age_themselves. Having written two books on journalism I pretended to be an author. It did not matter that the books were rejected by all journalists, including those I trained (not one was ready to read and those who did refused to give even a few lines of feedback) I decided not to ever write about journalism. How the books proved to be duds is  another Continue reading Coming of (Old) Age in India

Fight to Stop Perverts

crimes-against-women-in-indMass molestation of women on Bengaluru’s most important streets -MG Road and Brigade Road-during New Year revelry, is a week-old story. Even as the public outrage is still on, come reports of a 24-year-old woman molested in Baghpat (UP) by four men who also chopped off her ears for resisting rape  and of molestations heralding 2017 even in Delhi and many cities..

The Times group, especially its news channel Times Now  has started a campaign to  ‘Stop the Perverts’. Karnataka Home Minister G.Parameswara’s first reaction was that it was no Continue reading Fight to Stop Perverts

Hollyweed and Bottlewood

hllyweed