Monday, November 01, 2004

Project DBBTTB

(MAD Club Independent Project IV)

It was a warm Monday morning. A little beggar boy and girl, maybe 5 and 3 years old respectively, jumped into a crowded second class compartment of a Mumbai local train. The boy sang old Hindi movie classics in mellifluous albeit high-pitched tunes. The girl went around with a steel bowl, unleashed her warm innocent smile at unsuspecting passengers, and wriggled several coins out of their heart pockets.

At the next stop, an old blind beggar clambered into the same compartment. He struggled through the crowded aisle, requesting alms in a feeble shaky voice. The commuters, their patience and charitable intentions already exhausted by the boy-girl combo, ignored the hint of weariness and desperation in the old man's voice. By the time he reached the other end, where the little boy and girl were now standing quietly, his bowl was almost as empty as it had been when he had entered.

The boy looked sideways at the girl. Almost imperceptibly, she nodded. The boy quietly took a handful of coins from the bowl which the girl was carrying, and dropped it into the blind beggar's bowl as he passed them by. The next moment, the train had stopped and the boy and girl had disappeared into the crowded platform in a flash.

The question here could be about who was the most generous of them all. The ones who had it all, or the ones who had it in them to give it all away?

The question here could also be about who needs our help so badly, so desperately, that even beggar children are willing to help them.

The blind.

Imagine never knowing what a clear blue sky looks like. Imagine not knowing what the difference between "pink" and "green" is. Imagine living your entire life in a riotously colorful city, which all Indian cities without exception are, and not knowing anything except occasional flashes of white and black. Imagine walking through gloriously golden corn fields and knowing that you're missing someting so wonderful, so beautiful, so miraculously divine. And knowing full well that you would never, ever, be able to have that experience, sense that thrill, feel that warmth, which this beautiful world has on display every single day.

If there is one thing which can partly compensate for the beauty of this world, it is the beauty of a kind and sympathetic human heart. If we can do our bit, just a little bit, for the blind people of this world, they will surely notice and be overjoyed. For the blind can see with their heart. And they can see kindness from miles away.

The MAD Club hereby launches Project DBBTTB - Don't Be Blind To The Blind.

Our inspiration for this project comes from Neelima. Here are excerpts from a beautiful email she wrote to the MAD Club. Notice the Truth and the Wisdom in these humble words which she has written so simply ...

"I just feel we are losing ourselves in this busy world. 'Me, mine, my family, my job' ... everything is restricted to this small spectrum. I have always wanted to do something, not that I feel superior, but if I can make someone smile with my own capabilities then I will feel I have had a better living in this world. The day I know someone has smiled with my efforts, I can sleep in peace ... I go to a blind school regularly to gift them audio cassettes, they need them very badly to record their notes and listen to them ... but I think as a single hand I am not capable of doing much ... "

She signed off with "Akele chal pade the, log milte gaye, kaarvan banta gaya".

Can we reach out our hand to the Neelimas of this world? Can we ensure that they never need to say that they are "a single hand", that they never have to feel that they are alone on the rocky road they are travelling?

Can we share the loneliness of blind people of this world? If we do, the loneliness will melt away before our very eyes and the world will appear to be suddenly filled with the color of love. The color and the love which can only be seen through the eyes of the blind.

The MAD Club does not prescribe any methodology for Project DBBTTB. Whether you wish to participate by volunteering for a School for the Blind, or by agreeing to donate your eyes to the blind after death, or by deciding to give alms to every blind beggar you will meet in future, or by helping blind people across a busy road whenever you can, is entirely your choice.

Do email mulpurineelima@gmail.com for mutual sharing of ideas.

And let us Make A Difference.

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