BY Mujtaba Merchant, Bangalore, India
I am sure you have heard the saying “Never judge a book by it’s cover” this experience is something in those lines and a little more. My better half works at a Montessori school and they have their annual carnival; where the kids put up a show and the teachers put up stalls filled with fun games and eatables. I was invited to attend this carnival. At first, I thought what good would a blind man at the carnival do? It would be extremely boring to attend; while the child in me said, there is going to be cotton candy, pop corn and loads of junk food for me to explore! I called up an old friend and asked him if he would like to join me at the carnival. After tempting him about the teachers at the Montessori, he said yes.
We showed up at the carnival and were greeted at the gate for our passes. After the security checks we made our way to the ticket/ coupon counter, where we buy enough tickets/ coupons to the games and food to last us for the evening; we could buy more later if we wanted to indulge further.
I forget that I am blind at times, carnivals are noisy. Loud music, people chattering, kids running around with open cola glasses a blind mans nightmare! The first counter has an exciting game where we are to knock down a piramyd of bottles using a rubber ball from a distance and the treat is 2 more coupons. We are standing in a cue and I am behaving like an impatient child, totally embarrassing my friend who volunteered to come to the carnival. Mean while over the noise I had to hear this clearly from grown up people behind me at the cue “What is that blind guy thinking? He can’t see, how is he going to take aim and hit those bottles? What if he misses and hurts someone?”
Now I heard it all and so did my friend. I instructed my friend to be patient and don’t make any remarks on what they just said. It was my turn at the game. My friend positioned me at the point and gave me vague instructions on how high the bottles were placed and at what distance and the kind of force I should use. WHAM! I threw the ball at the piramyd of bottles hoping to embarrass myself by missing all the bottles and knocking someone out cold. But there is a loud cheer and applause. I was confused and my friend told me that you knocked out all the bottles on the first try, you have another 2 tries.
That is when I sat on the kings throne and missed all the bottles on the 2 tries, over confident. Anyhow, we won our coupons, I had fun aiming at imaginary bottles which I actually hit and I also gave a piece of my mind to those who commented earlier; my words “To be a winner, you must first make an attempt”
Although I couldn’t see the expressions on their faces, I am sure I must have driven the message home. We did enjoy the rest of the evening indulging in playing so many other games and eating all kind of foods and snacks. I also shook a legg with the kids on the chicken song. It was absolutely a fun experience.
I did miss seeing the lights and the decorations and a few important people who reached out to me and introduced themselves.
Friends and fellow readers: This is what I have learnt. Don’t let others discourage you from doing something if you want to do it, unless it’s a crime or something you will regret later. Believe in yourself. You are all you got at the end of the day and you are all you are, perfect with all your imperfections.
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”