Groping in the Dark
“Wow! You had a very long meeting with that young man. I do not wish to sound very inquisitive, but I am very curious….” Lulu, my parrot, was speaking to me as he came in from the window.
“He is a very passionate guy and very intelligent” I interjected. “He is anxious about his career, he wants to be ‘somebody’ in life.”
Lulu did not say anything. Just gave a look, a queer and curious look. Eyes of parrots can convey many emotions – disbelief it was in the instant case. Silence combined with a glance exuding disbelief is like an arrow tipped in and dripping with poison. It hits the target and kills slowly.
“Why then did he consult you – is that what you wish to ask?” I asked Lulu.
“You said it. Let it be. What did you say?”
“I told him that he should forget competing with fellow professionals.”
“You told him what not to do; did you tell him what should he do?”
“Yes. I told him competition with fellow HR professionals was a losing game. He must focus on himself, capitalise on his strengths.”
“I am tired of this advice. All HR people like you say this, you almost parrot this advice if I may use that expression. I can tell you what must have followed….” Lulu was obviously annoyed.
“What followed…? Tell me your guess”
“You must have said ‘You must make a difference.’”
“How did you know?”
“You have some favourite expressions, they are over-used. The young man was sitting with his back to me, so I could not see his reaction.”
“Never mind favourite expressions. And his reaction. He asked me to explain. And I did.”
“What was that?”
“I told him that the world he experiences is unique, nobody experiences it like him.”
“He is a member of a powerful committee which does very pioneering work for the disabled.”
“He is surprised by responses of some people who are not disabled, ‘insensitive’ he labels them.”
“You want him to educate them?”
“I did not advise him to do it. He says he has met some people in his life from whom he has ‘absorbed’ so much, and others whose myopic vision has pained him so much.”
‘So what did you say?”
“I told him that his world was different. It was a world of a blind man. What he is experiencing was unique. He must write about it and tell us what visually challenged people experience in industry.”
“I now see your point. The capabilities of a visually challenged person are grossly underestimated.”
“Right. Technology helps them give their best. But people are awfully unaware.”
“Yup. Visually challenged can comfortably work in power-point, excel, word, you name the software! And all iPhone models have features which help blind men tremendously.”
“Yet they experience a very different world. It is sometimes unfair to them, it is sometimes over protective of them.”
“I understand that they are not allowed to meet visitors. And they are often overlooked for promotions.”
“Yes, so I asked him to write about it. His experiences are unique. His writing can create greater awareness, and a distinct position for himself.”
“I understand you. And I understand him. He has unique strengths and he must use them to make a difference.”
“Wow! Don’t you have better expression?” I asked. Lulu gave me a stare and then fluttered his wings.