Yesterday, on the way to office in morning when we stopped at signal. I saw a city bus-conductor helping a blind man to get down from first bus, and board in another bus stopped at same signal. Bus conductor was literally dragging the blind man by hand.This incident took me to the past..It was Feb 2007..a bus ride in New York City..we were travelling towards Manhattan in blue/green line was my first experience of city bus/transit in NYC. Obviously i was inquisitive about everything in that journey..the driver, ticketing system,sitting arrangements etc.etc.

After some distance traveled, the lady bus driver halted bus at an extreme corner of some bus stop, she was constantly talking to somebody and was making some arrangement..we had no clue about what was going on? Co-passangers in the bus too were looking out and were giving their inputs to driver.After this, driver produced a key, and activated some switches that transformed the rear steps of the bus to a platform that descended to the sidewalk and then raised to floor level, allowing a wheelchair bound lady to move her wheelchair into the special locking positions on the bus. It was then i realised what was going on…

I was overwhelmed to see the kind of provisions NY city buses were having for their handicapped passangers. Drivers there receive ”hands-on” instruction with the lifts and handicapped people.It was this incident and yesterday’s incident both were lingering on my mind for long…I felt bad for the blind fellow and the kind of treatment he was getting here. I was wondering whether this kind of treatment is part of his day-to-day life or yesterday’s was an exceptional day? what a paradox??? How can ppl in my country can be so ruthless and numb to their physically handicapped compatriot?

5 thoughts on “Paradox

  1. HemashriI would contradict to your article here and the point you are trying to put forward. Indeed developed countries have far more concern towards the disabled than we developing countries have. However I would say that when the bus conducter in ur scene was dragging the blind person, I am fine with it, as atleast he is helping him. I dont think handicaps are ill treated in India so badly & neither would I say that we should feel bad for the disabled. No. I would not feel bad for a disabled. We should not feel bad if a person is blind, it really hurts. Imagine u in their shoes and you would understand it well. US / UK are developed countries and population / square mile or KM is much less than India. I would definitely give this benefit of doubt to India.I have seen myself about what you have mentioned here. tc – pradip

  2. I remember the incident too… We were together in the bus at that time… It indeed was very nice to see such care and concern by the bus driver.

  3. Good writing !!! I was surprised to see those kinda buses in SG and was really shocked to see the humanity shown to the disabled… We just do not value human life and still always say Mera Bharat Mahan. The physically disabled are ill treated everyday in buses and trains but nobody is bothered.

  4. Your story has reminded me one of mine.I use to board public transport bus daily from my appartment to office in LA.Invariably, every alternate day, an african american women and a mexican women use to drive the bus, there was no conductor and you have to put 1$ bill in the machine slot as fare.The bus was really well maintained and having all the facilities available for disabled including special belts to tie up there wheel chair.Almost everyday a really old chinese man use to board the bus at a particular point.He use to carry a walking stick and a bag with rollers.I always felt that he might be too old to carry the heavy bag he always has with him.The bus was having steps in the front and platform at the back for disabled but for some reason this man always use to take steps to get into the bus. Being old it was difficult for him to get into the bus along with his walking stick and bag but I haven’t seen a single day where the bus driver or any of the passengers have not helped the old man to get into the bus. After entering the bus the old man use to greet everybody with a smile. One day the bus driver waited for him for almost 2-3 minutes before he arrived.I always wondered how this old man who cannot even walk without a stick manage to travel daily by bus carrying a bag (in our country at people at that age are either dead or on bed). I guess, it is because of the confidence he is having that he will be helped by one person or the other.I guess, we Indians lack this confidence and hence don’t bother about others.

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