“I wish I could see. I could have painted pictures then.”This single quote tells us so much about a boy’s aspirations that have got murdered because of the fact that he is a blind. Meet Ram Singh. He is a student of Class VI at the Institution for Blind which is situated at Amar Colony near Lajpat Nagar in New Delhi. He is one of the 140 blind boys who study and reside in the school.
Ram Singh belongs from Rae Bareilly in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Like most boys in the school, he is also from a poor rural background. He is the son of a farmer and has been blind ever since his birth. He has a younger brother back in the village who studies in Class I. “I am so happy that my brother can see,” says Ram Singh with a smile, “He tells me a lot about the colours that make up this world.” The disability surely proves to be hampering his movement to an extent. But then one cannot help but admire the fact that he moves around so effortlessly and also that it may have come after so much effort.
Though he finds English rather difficult, Ram wants to speak the language perfectly like his English teacher. Ram likes mathematics very much. “It is the most interesting game ever made.” says Ram. As he sits with his Braille book open, he tells me that he would like to be a music teacher someday. He loves to play the tabla and is taking lessons in learning the keyboard. Though Ram considers himself as not very good in sports, he like most boys of his age loves cricket and idolises Sachin Tendulkar. I can see the obvious disappointment in his face when I tell him that Tendulkar is not as tall as he thinks him to be.
Ram Singh like the other boys stays in the school hostel which is in the first and second floors of the school. The boys stay in dormitories which hold ten boys each. The boys make their own beds, wash their own clothes and also wash their dishes themselves after every meal. One might think that so many chores are too much for a blind boy of his age. But ask Ram and he surprises you with his answer. “Believe me nobody really likes to do all this things. It gets cumbersome at times,” says Ram, “But then again we cannot forget that we are blind and the world outside is harsh to us. We have to help ourselves to survive in this world.”
Ram tells that before coming to this school, he used to be pestered a lot by the other children in his village. Here in the school, living among boys of his group and the constant support by the teachers has brought in a sea of change in boys like Ram. He has made some of his best friends here. The school is like a home to him. He doesn’t prefer to go back to his village too often as the attitude of the village folks towards the blind is still not very favourable.