One Legged Stories

broken keg

You only tend to understand the importance of all your body parts when you loose one. 🙂

I fell off the rickshaw – a three wheeled drive, powered by human labor; a popular mode of transport in Bangladesh for short distances, specially because its cheap. And through this course of action I have managed to displace a bone from my ankle joint, hurt my back, and end up with my right foot temporarily disabled! (fingers crossed)

So basically I am dependent on one leg for the past five days, and thus blessed with a lot of “spare time” where I need to be resting my foot in a straight position, inclined at a height of one foot upwards. And as it might seem obvious by now, I am suffering from what one might call loneliness.

Being a city girl, I have grown up to be surrounded by people – family, friends, class mates, colleagues, competitors, well wishers and rivals. Good or bad, I have always met and interacted with around 15 – 20 different people at the least – special thanks to my profession of being a teacher. And now, no offense, I only get to see my parents, that even for half a day since they are both full time job holders.

This is not to blame my parents or friends, but just a reflection on how much of a social being humans are. The past few days have legitimized all the stupid space videos where scientists are seen to be documenting how they shampoo their hair, why old people are cranky and why community living is vital for a healthy mind. I have access to my phone, internet, laptop, movies, everything – but I am limited to the boundaries of my room and toilet. My friend Lora came to visit me and we spent a good evening together. But then she had to go, because life called. But my life stood still.

My house is designed like any other house in Bangladesh. It does not have a lift installed. The pedestrian ways in my city are not designed to accommodate a person dependent on crutches. It is not even leveled straight! The vehicle I fell off – a mode of transport for 99 percent of Bangladeshi’s – is designed to sit people approximately 3 feet off the ground, and to have them get down and onto a height of approximately 1.5 feet every time they want to avail this facility. Street lights serve as a backdrop for pasting flyers on rather than providing lights. Public spaces, even the stadium, are not accessible to people with physical limitations! Mega malls and cineplexes do not have ramps installed or a system of dedicating front row seats to those with special needs.

The list goes on and on and I wonder what could be done. According to the National Forum of the Organizations Working with the Disabled (2005) a 1.56 % of the total population has locomotor limitations in Bangladesh, which is equal to 2.237 million people approximately. Yet Bangladesh is what it is, for all the valid and invalid reasons, with people like me typing away their frustrations in vain.

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