“Where are you Lulu?” I called out to talk to my parrot, Lulu.
“Here, right above your head on this small branch,” he responded. I had difficulty spotting Lulu hidden in green foliage of the mango tree. “I was watching you yesterday speak to a girl student. It appeared to me that she was visually challenged.”
“Never knew you follow me, Lulu. Yes, she was visually challenged.” I said. “She was appearing for placement interviews. She said that some of the interviewers showed insensitivity in interviews. The mere recollection brought her to tears; it must have hurt her deeply.”
“And I saw tears in your eyes too! Men become sensitive only when they grow old!!”
“May be you are right. People always thought of me as a man with the heart of a solid rock! My children now laugh when they see me crying while watching a movie.”
“Crying? So what did you discuss with her? Did you offer her a job?” Lulu asked.
“I am no longer employed, Lulu, you know that very well. She had several questions on her mind. The reluctance of organisations to offer her a suitable job was finally taking toll, her confidence was eroding.”
“Hmmm…….it is unfortunate, and I hope she gets a good job soon. But I have seen visually challenged persons working with speed on their laptop. Don’t your fellow professionals know that they use software called ‘Jaws? It literally talks to them.’”
“Life would have been different if HR managers were so well informed! But I can’t really blame them. I too did not know about the software and that they do not have a handicap when it comes to working with laptop.”
“Is being visually challenged really a handicap? I remember what happened when you screened a movie for your students. The most insightful observations were made by a visually challenged student who actually ‘heard’ a movie.” Lulu wondered.
“I remember that day. I was actually shocked to hear him raise some questions and observations. I was then so moved ….I had to search for words. Good that he did not see my moist eyes.”
“So visually challenged persons can understand the intricacies of human emotions. I guess they might be better than others at that.”
“Yes, I would agree.”
“Is rational thinking affected if you are visually challenged?” Lulu asked.
“Not at all. The two are not connected. I mean some may be better at it and others not so, but it has nothing to do with their being visually challenged.”
“You human beings believe that you see with your eyes. The fact is that it is your brain that “perceives” what you think you see.” Lulu said.
“I agree Lulu.”
“You have to make an effort to see things….to perceive them and that too correctly. Remember perception is intentional.”
“Sometimes that is not enough. There is also a question about the safety of visually challenged people in the minds of recruiters.”
“Nonsense.” Lulu shot back.
“I wonder why you just don’t see what goes around. People actually are more protective of a visually challenged person in open spaces and on streets. And so they do in offices.”
“Hmmm…..let me think what you are saying…..are you saying that it is all about being socially conscious and inclusive?”
“That is right, but it is such a cold and inert statement. I like what Bill Cosby said.”
“What was that?” I asked.
“Every Closed Eye Is Not Sleeping, And Every Open Eye Is Not Seeing.” Lulu quoted him as he perched on my laptop and looked at me meaningfully.