THE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED: a race forgotten, misconstrued


We call them freaks. We pay money to see them make fools of themselves.

We make fun of them as if their feelings don’t count. As kids, we harass them the first

chance we get. Because we have no tolerance for the askew, the crooked, the odd and

the physically gross or absurd. We think of them as non-human. Maltreatment and

injustice are only a common form of torment. .. (in this era wherein ‘beautiful’ is

defined by the perfection as to physicality, elegance and sophistication,and largely

depends on the carats of gems on the bejeweled class of the society where the rich and

the famous choke on over dosage of fame and overwhelming wealth).

In an age and time where everything gets fixed or “converted” into

something new and beautiful (at the right price) in the ultimate quest for the

preservation of youth and for aesthetics’ sake, some of us born rather ‘differently’ seems

to have been thrown in the backstage. Amidst the clamor and din of this fast and furious

rat race, these least of our brethren have been, since time immemorial, considered

second class citizens.

 

We tend to forget that amongst us, between the living and the dead, there

thrives a breathing, feeling faction of our race that silently, in the shadows, desperately

struggles to outlive a cruel, indifferent civilization where only the best, the brightest

and the most able have the privilege to rise up and hear the bells.

What does it mean to be congenitally defective today? True, more and more

consideration for the physically disabled and/or “special people” have never been better

with the rise in growing social awareness for the physically challenged members of our

society. Special seats, lanes, marked lavatories, especially designed walkways and

tracks, custom- made prosthetics, gadgets and what-have-yous became commonplace in

our feeble attempt to show them we care and that they count.

 

Truth is, these attempts are just to quench the guilt deep inside us. We

should be convicted and hanged for enjoying so much while they suffer in the shadows,

out of the limelight, unwillingly bathing in shame at the mercy of the bonds of

insecurity, hopelessness, envy and hate-forever stuck, forever needy and forever

irrelevant and useless. We should be fined and punished for the awesome feeling after a

nature trail hike where we got the chance to bask in the glory of seeing the world from a

different light and being able to fully experience all of its wonders. We should be

tortured and made to suffer for the awesome sights and sounds that travel makes

possible.

 

In the end, nothing can ever make up or suffice even, for the feelings of

deprivations and the pain and suffering of the physically unfortunate. These are beyond

reimbursement. Nothing can ever make up for the torment, grief and the sorrow that

inability and disability gift wraps them with at birth.

 

But everything gets to be alright

when we are loved. The world seems better, brighter. To quote anew, LOVE is the KEY.

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