My Experience with Disability

My Experience with disability

When Sakshi ji asked me whether I would be interested to take part in the blog hop she is hosting and write on disability. My first response was that it is a sensitive subject and I was too reluctant to join in. I was and am scared to touch upon such a subject and doesn’t want to come across as insensitive while being well aware of my true emotions. 

Recently I did a trip to UK and after coming back during a discussion with my mother I realised we as a country we are way behind when it comes to the infrastructure concerning a disabled person. It was after reading a couple of posts that I thought I too can contribute on the subject and how our infrastructure fails them.

My experience with disability

Both my grandmothers (paternal and maternal) struggled with disabilities during their last years. In fact my maternal grand mother passed away way too young and she was just around 50. Most of it was expedited due to her disability. 

Lower half of her body lost any kind of sensation and it was next to dead. She was completely dependent on my grandfather and uncles to be literally transported from one place to another even if she had to use the washroom.

My paternal grandmother met with an accident and she broke her pelvic and leg bones which kept her bedridden for a good part of the last 13 years of her life. It was extremely painful to see her in that condition during the last couple of years. 

The sad part with disability is it is not just the person who is disabled that suffers. Life becomes difficult for those around the concerned person. One treads a fine line where they want to help and be always there without showing any kind of pity or making the person feel bad.

Some of the disabled people I have met aren’t troubled with their disabilities but how hard it makes the lives of others around them.

Indian infrastructure and disability

The beauty with Indian infrastructure is that we come up with something and long after the completion, upon receiving multiple complaints they realise that they actually haven’t designed to accommodate the needs of a disabled person. Even to date I see many new infrastructure including government offices ill equipped.

My maternal grandmother only once travelled to my hometown. And I still remember the pain my uncle had to go through in carrying her on his back. Our trains are not equipped where a disabled person can board it without help. There are no separate or disabled-friendly washrooms either.

The public transport has the same issues. Barring a couple of metropolitans with low floor buses hardly any public transport is disabled friendly.

I see a lot of YouTubers criticise cities like Dubai where they claim some places are not walking-friendly but from my personal experience I can say that there any disabled person can move from one point to another without the help of another person.

Same is the case when I travelled through Europe including the recent trip to UK. I was surprised to see that in London which has such an old metro system even has clear markings inside every coach next to the name of each station whether the station can be accessed completely by a wheelchair or not.

When you cross the roads there are special markings for the disabled person including reserved parkings. 

In India all we can come up with is some fancy names on the policy making from the political front. We are hardly concerned or sensitive about how to make our cities our infrastructure, especially the modern ones, disabled-friendly.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This post is a part of “International Day of Disabled Persons” blog hop hosted by Sakshi Varma – Tripleamommy in collaboration with Bookosmia. #IDPD2022Bloghop. Access all posts of the #IDPD2022Bloghop here

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32 Responses

  1. Veda says:

    Your frank post, on the woefully inadequate infrastructure in india to help people with disabilities be independent, touches upon all the real issues faced daily. All I can say is that at least now it’s being talked about. A decade ago, it was as though PWD were non-existent. Only their close family was there for them. To that extent, I suppose we are improving as a society. However, there is no denying that decisions for PWD are not taken by those who are themselves having some disability. They are taken by some politician or bureaucrat who, while well-intentioned, may not know what is needed on the ground. Thanks for writing.

  2. A sensible post. And totally agreed in India accessibility for differently abled is just about putting some fancy words and the intent of making life simple with better accessibility for differently abled really has a long way to reach sufficiency.

    • Manas Mukul says:

      Thank you so much for reading the post. Happy to be a part of this blog hop and able to contribute. 🙏🏽

  3. Pr@Gun says:

    Thanks for sharing this take on infrastructure requirements, Lot is said but what matters is the reality on ground, that is missing. Public transport specially needs to understand the unsaid requirements along with placing the boards for disabled. Buildings, metro, buses etc must be inclusive and accessible for people with all levels of abilities. Well said on the point of that fine line.

  4. Aanchal says:

    Thanks for writing about one of the bane’s of infrastructure in India for the disabled. Unfortunately it’s not just physical disability but other kinds of disabilities too that are completely ignored by our policy makers and implementers and this affects both young and older people who may be disabled by birth, accident or medical reasons.

    • Manas Mukul says:

      Totally agree with the points that you have brought forward. Thank you so much for taking out time to read and comment. 🙏🏽

  5. India has a lot of infrastructure and disability improvements to be made. The country has a large population with a diverse range of needs and abilities, and as such, there is much room for improvement when it comes to accommodating all citizens. One area that could be improved is public transportation. Buses and trains are often not accessible for those with disabilities, which can make it difficult for them to get around. Additionally, sidewalks and other public spaces are often not designed with accessibility in mind, making it hard for people with disabilities to get around independently. But more than this we have to improve upon ourselves and learn not to be mute spectatators when we see a special person being victimised

  6. MeenalSonal says:

    Though we are heading towards building an inclusive world there is lot more things yet to be done to understand and learn about disabilities. You rightly said that the basic infrastructure and facilities should focus on positive changes that can bring lot of difference in day to day life of people with disabilities.

    • Manas Mukul says:

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. You both know how much I appreciate your work and really glad that we shared space together in this bloghop. 🙏🏽🙏🏽

  7. mugdhakalra says:

    Accessibility is a real issue. I work with organizations on hiring pwd and they are all ready to jump on the inclusion train when their offices barely have space for wheelchairs to move or get into toilets.

  8. Nidhi says:

    Totally agree. Even after years of policy deliberation, formulation and change, we need start ups like rampmycity to make common places accessible to the disabled. It is not about ideas that are unheard of but a genuine attitude towards fixing the issues at hand. Hopefully, with conversations like these more of us would demand infrastructure reforms that our society deserves.

    • Manas Mukul says:

      It is sad and yet nothing seems to be done. The lack of empathy is the root cause. Glad that you could relate to the write up. Thanks for reading and commenting. 😊🙏🏽

  9. Manas when you mentioned about your grandmothers, I was reminded once again that ‘ability’ is so temporary and ‘disability’ can strike at any time or age in your life. And most of us proudly abled persons forget it. Once we all realise the ‘impermanence’ of ability, I think we will learn to appreciate and accept people with disability.

    • Manas Mukul says:

      So so true mam. Thanks for engaging with the post. Means a lot. Glad you related to the post. Thanks again. 😊🙏🏽

  10. spacesinterstices says:

    Thank you Mukul for highlighting these very real issues. I do hope we’ll see sensible and sensitive infrastructure and services in India too. There are many examples worldwide that we can learn from.

    • Manas Mukul says:

      The world is full of such examples where we can easily learn from if only we had the will. Thanks for reading and commenting on the post. 😊🙏🏽

  11. Wizardencil says:

    Personal stories always make the points more strong. Agreeing with you on the point that as a country our country needs to improve it’s facility and infrastructure a lot to include people with disability. Awareness and empathy are the main keys.

    • Manas Mukul says:

      Absolutely agree to the fact that awareness and empathy are the main keys. Glad that you could relate to the write up. Thank you so much Sreeparna ji for reading and commenting on the post 😊🙏🏽

  12. Thanks for sharing your perspective and concerns about rather inadequate infrastructure in India. India having such a large population and there is always struggle for available resources within various sections of society.

    Surely we have long way to go but nevertheless there is growing awareness about PwDs in recent times….So I am hopeful for relatively better times as we move ahead…

  13. SVETHA says:

    India does indeed have a long way to go – lots of our infrastructure is designed keeping only able-bodied people in mind. Consciously designing public spaces and public transportation so that it meets the needs of everyone – not just able-bodied- will go a very long way in keeping anyone with different needs from feeling isolated or a “burden” on their loved ones. It will also have the added benefit of making diversity visible. When it becomes common to see people with different needs navigate the world and go about their lives, it trains children to be more accepting – and the next generation may grow into caring adults, who are able to treat those with different needs with respect.

    • Manas Mukul says:

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Glad that you could relate to the write up. 😊🙏🏽

  14. This is such a hard-hitting post, Manas. You have rightly observed how apathetic and unbothered we are as a society towards changes that really matter. Instead, we keep fighting over trivial matters like religion. India has a long way towards true disability inclusion. It’s also an opportunity. I hope our collective wakes up at least now. Great post!

    • Manas Mukul says:

      Thank you so much for appreciating the write up. Glad that you could relate to the post. 😊🙏🏽

  15. Actually when we talk about disability and disabled , I have never actively thought about the senior citizens and the challenges which are faed by them and their families. Its a common sight to see them on wheelchairs on airports and railway stations these days but recently met with an old lady who suffered from Dementia and had lost her seat in the compartment and was traumatised to no end. Its a hell out there without their family members around them whether its physical or mental incapacities.

  16. A.Lo. says:

    We need to actively start asking for ramps and assistance in all the public places. Soon, a whole generation is going to get old and we all will need help.

  17. A.Lo. says:

    Our problem is we as citizens lack vision and hence don’t demand for basic changes which will be beneficial to us in future. Forget woes of disabled, we all are going to be old and will need help. What will happen then?

  18. I completely agree with your take. While some progress has been made, we still have a long way to go when it comes to accessibility for disabled persons. Whether its buildings and infrastructure not being wheelchair friendly, seats in buses and trains reserved for disabled persons being taken by abled people, there are many examples of unnecessary and easily fixable obstacles being preset in a disabled person’s daily life

Love your feedback!