Creating Empathy all Around

Simple, everyday acts till then thoughtlessly performed become acts of deliberation and courage in the face of pain.

Published: 20th March 2022 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2022 02:20 PM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purposes. ( File Photo)

Image used for representational purposes. ( File Photo)

Ever thought about how a simple dislocation in the body can change your worldview perspective?
A fractured foot, leg, or worse that inhibits movement for example. Suddenly each little threshold step assumes the dimensions of a mini mountain. To hop across, even with help, without losing balance is a thought that has to be considered and assimilated every single time. No room for error, or stumbling.
An out-of-commission arm is equally troublesome. Simple, everyday acts till then thoughtlessly performed become acts of deliberation and courage in the face of pain.

A cataract operation, such a routine procedure carried out within minutes, results in dependency… for medicines by the hour, for navigating through spaces. And then of course there is the infirmity that comes with a debilitating disease that could be congenital or strike one later in an age which again comes with its attendant line of needing to depend on the kindness and patience of others around. These are the comparatively minor issues of health that indicate mending and a return to normalcy, but the period of helpless dependence that each state brings with itself is one that can test the one who suffers and the one who offers help.

Which leads one to the next point. If minor, transitory inconveniences of the body can create so much turmoil in the placidity of daily life, what of those who have been marked by destiny or chance to suffer for life from some serious disability? Besides their own courage and the care of loved ones, is there any offer of help in making their lives easier?

We are awakening slowly to the needs of the differently-abled, the old, and the infirm; a significant part of which population is confined to the home due to the lack of ease in navigating life outside. Slopes along stairways, escalators, lifts, special seating in public transport, and dedicated restrooms for the handicapped are more common today than they were even a decade ago.

Yet we have a long way to go. Navigating a wheelchair inside a long-distance train is impossible, many public buildings, museums, shops, art galleries, do not have wheelchair access still... two-tier cities grow in all directions but lack focus in this aspect of inclusiveness.

But yes, steps have been taken on many fronts, and it’s time to expand the thought and make more and more areas accessible to anyone unable to walk up steps because of infirmity or age.

With increased life expectancy, which sadly does not always come along with continued mobility and good health, we must sensitise ourselves to the need of the older citizen who might still be alert of the brain and eager to continue to taste of life’s delights.

After all, each of us will be old one day. That thought should be enough to create empathy all around!

Author & Consulting Editor, Penguin Random House


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