Can you guess what the equipment which looks like an ATM is?
This is a device for people on wheel chairs to seek help in the Charels de Gaulle airport, Paris.
A wheelchair-bound person navigates his wheelchair to the machine and presses a button. The blue and white pad on the floor senses if there is really someone at the machine, a camera sends the image of the person someplace and within minutes there is someone to escort the wheelchair-bound person to wherever she/he wants to go in the airport. Very efficient. Very disabled-freindly.
India is supposed to have 70 million disabled people. They are mostly invisible. What is more, it is said that until the 2001 census their number was not even known!
As far as I can see, ours is a very disabled-unfriendly country. Try taking a wheelchair-bound person to a movie in Bangalore and you will know.
Even though, in terms of facilities, we are disabled unfriendly, I should say that the amount of pesonal help rendered by people is staggering. All you have to do is ask. Since most of our disabled are invisible, most people in public places are unaware of how to deal with them. But once you request them and tell them what to do, what you can get done is staggering.
And staggeringly touching and heart warming.
What the people in power have neglected is compensated for by the ever obliging public. Many even look as if you have done them a favour after helping you, instead of the other way around.
Makes me feel that ours is a terrible country manned by a terrific people.
But, the fact remains that a disabled person should feel no need to seek help to lead a normal life. It should be his for the taking, not for the asking.