The Other Senses written by Preeti Monga compels you to take a new journey. The cover says it is an “Inspiring True Story of A Visually Impaired Woman and Her Road to Success.” Yes this is just one way of looking at the book. This book is indeed inspiring but it reveals a lot of nuances that are usually overlooked when one thinks about a possible life-story of a woman who is blind.
The book starts with the depiction of Preeti’s present life and travels to her past. The book gradually progresses to her girlhood. The fluidity in the author’s expression takes you back to the times she has spent in Shimla, Delhi, Kolkata (then Calcutta), Agartala (her father gets transferred to different places). While reflecting on the time spent in these places, she captures the life of these places in detail.
Monga’s story of losing the vision is very moving. Accounts of the visits she made to the doctors and the details of the medical consultations are written in an interesting manner. There is an immense positive energy that emanates from a story of a tragic incident. Also, the most pleasing aspect is the author’s optimism. She doesn’t blame anyone for the problems she faces after losing sight. She doesn’t ask “why me?”
The story of how she makes career choices after losing her sight is very engrossing. In her story, one can sense the pangs disabled people feel. The book goes on to reveal how the author tried different vocation options with help from a very few people who understood what she wants. As a child, Monga was thrown out of school. Though true education can happen outside schools it is not difficult to relate with the anguish she must have gone through on being removed from a mainstream school because of her poor vision. One can relate with so many children in India who are denied education for similar reasons in spite of the laws meant for their welfare including the Right to Education Act. Preeti Monga’s book addresses how society and education system stereotype disabled people.
She held her head high during the most difficult times with her inner strength and a positive-frame of mind. Her parents, her brother and his wife, their two children along with some friends supported her in this phase. But she could face this situation bravely because of her strong will power. Preeti comes from a well educated family. This helped her in finding the right vocation for herself. Even though she had this advantage, one can say that Preeti Monga can be a role model for India’s disabled people, women in general and disabled women. One can recommend her book to policy makers and legal experts who need to be sensitised on issues relating to women with disabilities.
This inspiring book must be made available in Braille/audio formats to reach more and more people.