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Disability and the city Part I

July 21, 2010

I broke my leg three weeks ago. I cannot walk till end September. But I hope to get around the city a little bit during that time and I hope to record that experience. This I hope will be a multi-part series and here is the context:

I will be getting around either in a wheel chair or with my walker where I will be hobbling on one leg. Otherwise, my appearance right now is a bit ragged as my hair isn’t getting combed every day, primarily because I am lazy but I look like I am from a relatively well off family. And I look fair enough to be a Brahmin (a dark one) but can’t tell for sure immediately. Oh, and I am a woman. Visibly so.

I am in Chennai. A vastly spread metropolitan city.  A city I spent my childhood in. Like any other city, Chennai has many cities within it. I will not be traversing through much of the city. It’s not like I find myself in north madras (not so elite) even when both my legs are functional! But won’t definitely be venturing to crowded parts of the city right now. This then means, the spaces I am writing about then are primarily elite, malls, fancy restaurants, book shops and the like; or just simply spacious like the beach!

Please read all following pieces in this series with this description in mind.

———————————————–

‘Hating luv storys’ in a wheel chair while mall-ing

When ‘City Centre’ first came up in Chennai, there was a buzz in the city. It was to be one of the biggest malls in the city. The building itself is rather intimidating. It has humongous pillars that are so broad that 3-5 people would be needed to hug them. It has one of the largest book stores in the city- landmark, large clothing shops and so on. At the top of the mall, like all good malls, is a multiplex. It’s an Inox. (Just as an aside, even an Inox in Chennai is cheaper than any Delhi multiplex and still has the front row ten rupee ticket. phew!) Either way, after rigorous research by my near and dear, we find out that Inox (and later I found out, the mall itself) provides wheel chairs. We arrived at the first level in the multi level parking lot. I hobble over a few steps to the lift. I stand and in a few minutes we reach the third floor. A man with the bright red City Centre or Inox uniform with the ID card hanging around his neck (the mark of many in an IT city like Chennai) comes over with the wheel chair. The promptness was almost shocking. My kith and kin here are not known for their promptness or punctuality. So the wheel chair: no pads to put the foot on and the wheels are rickety, seat visibly uncomfortable. In short, am not too excited about trusting my bottom and the rest of me with this chair. Either way, we proceed. I need to go to the loo. We head over to the disabled people loo and are told in a very kind and almost guilty voice that the loo remains locked till someone comes and asks for it. Thank god it wasn’t too urgent for me! The absurdity of this only disappears from my head when I enter the loo and realize it matches top notch standards of disable-friendliness, or at least from where I am sitting, it seemed to be. As I roll out, we see S.Ve. Sekar sitting in the lobby. For those uninitiated, he is a famous comedian in Tamil TV and cinema. He grins at me broadly. Not at my friends who are with me but just me! I wonder, why me?? This is the thing with temporary disability; you have the luxury to sometimes forget that you’re in a wheel chair. So, anyway, we wheel past the semi-celebrity’s warm smile to the ‘poor young(ish) girl in a wheelchair’. I am taken into the movie through the service door! Yes, right after the mops and pans that clean the hall and the people carrying them.  Was a good opportunity to get a peek into the ‘behind the scenes’ at multiplexes! There is the ramp. By which time, I am totally impressed. My friend tries to wheel me up the ramp. One push and she realizes it’s too steep. She can’t push any more. I don’t even scream. Images of possible repeat injury flutter by. I close my eyes and time comes to a standstill. Another friend jumps over and they push me up. Phew!

I watch a rather mediocre bollywood flick (I hate luv storys) with my leg up on another chair the whole time. I am wishing I still had my cast on because people are walking by so close to my ‘foot chair’ and I am convinced one or many of them are going to knock it, because on the outside, my leg seems fine. I was quite amazed by the fact that there weren’t many who noticed that there was someone at the theatre with her leg up on another chair. One would think that is a strange sight. But on the other hand, they would have assumed I am a ‘ten rupee ticket type’ as we were sitting in the front row. Of course we booked the expensive tickets the day before but sat in the front row for convenience. But that’s irrelevant. So yeah, ‘the ten rupee types’ and the strange things they are expected to do might explain the lack of surprise or disapproval or any reaction whatsoever to my ‘foot chair-ness’. Movie done. I hobble down the ramp not wanting to risk my life and limb on the wheel chair, then wheel out to the lift and off we went.

There were so many conflicting things to consider. In Chennai, a city of cinema lovers to the extent of obsession, where apart from the stray progressive type any average person in this city/state takes popular cinema very seriously. Watching movies is part of our lifestyle. Of course all this was for the two-legged Chennai-ites. If you didn’t have two functional legs, temporarily or worse, permanently, then cough up the cash, because Inox is the place to be.

While being impressed by the facilities they could provide, it also reminds one of how low our standards are. Here I am instinctively celebrating the locked bathroom, the unwieldy ramp and a hazardous wheel chair- just because it’s a miracle that they exist at all. And the most fascinating part was, intentionally or not, I was taken in through a ‘special’ door. Thus other customers, if they didn’t look specifically wouldn’t see me or the wheel chair.

Audience reaction to my little wheel chair show ( because it is a show whether I want it to be or not) ranged from the kind smile (S.Ve. Sekar being case in point), to genuine ‘oh you poor thing’ sad face, to the ‘why do you want to watch a movie in this state? ‘. The last one was by far the most troublesome to me. If I were not to walk in September, I would soon have to master a not murderous and reasonable response to that reaction on a daily basis. For now, I still have the luxury to keep that in the theoretical realm.

There is more to come. Look out for ‘flying first class’ and ‘a hobble on the beach’ and many more!

Further reference: http://www.disabilityindia.org/pwdacts.cfm

21 Comments leave one →
  1. priya permalink
    July 21, 2010 5:25 PM

    ponni,

    while we are all sorry to hear of your mishap, i am shocked that kafila would put up such self obsessed useless CRAP!

    People have fractures every now and then, but don’t decide to launch in multi part novels with no substance simply because they have free time and don’t know how else to kill it.

    I would suggest making a personal blog for these kinds of posts.

    Excuse me while i let my legs carry me away from the screen.. ;-)

  2. meenakshi permalink
    July 21, 2010 6:03 PM

    This was an excruciating piece to read. Physically. Excruciating. And I am able bodied. But the offensive and flippant way in which you casually use terms like ”disability” which signify a far more complex lived, bodily experience and one’s sense of differentness from the rest of the world for something like breaking a leg is horrifying to say the least. And what is that self descriptive placing of your subject positions. Do people look like their caste?Are you saying you are dark, ”fair” or like the great King of Pop are you saying it doesn’t matter either way? And how in your understanding of your own gender will you explain the pat on the back you gave yourself for not screaming as you were pushed up by your ”near and dear”?Of course, special doors will open for the Ponni Arasus of the world through which you can be frisked away without the world seeing you. A magical cloak of invisibility made possible by the very same positions you occupy. Was this an advertisement for Inox? How disabled friendly it is? A piece intended to be about how tough or almost impossible it is to traverse spaces if you are a person with disabilities that ended up becoming a narcissistic , trying-hard-to-be-a-lyrical-humorous satire? Instead of being angry about the doors being locked in the disabled ”friendly” bathroom you thank god[whichever God it is, you Brahmins pray to] that your needs weren’t urgent? What about the feminist fire that all of us seem to possess about the various other marginalized positions within that?Worse things can happen to someone in life than having a broken leg, sitting in an Inox theatre and worrying about the chair that might get toppled as the 10 rupeewaalas hurry past you spitting and scratching their balls in oh-such-an-uncouth way. Of course it’s plain to see that you can afford the luxury class but sit for ”convenience” with them. What a luxury I say.The show however must go on.

  3. ponni permalink
    July 21, 2010 7:04 PM

    Dear Priya,

    Thank you for raising an important concern. One I myself am very conscious about. Putting any political perspective in the public sphere while grounding it on personal experiences is a complex exercise. As someone who writes in the public sphere both in Kafila and in the ‘mainstream media’ as it were, I take the decision to do the same rarely and very consciously.

    This particular piece, if you read closely, raises the complexity of being temporarily disabled as opposed to experiences of those who are permanently disabled. It raises the question of how class changes and in many cases makes easier the lives of disabled persons. Similarly future pieces will address other related concerns such as the structure of the city, planning, our various subjective identities and how that conditions/influences the way we inhabit and experience our disabled body on a daily basis.

    Further, the practice of ‘writing politics’ based on personal experiences has a long history and there are many discussions around the same within every space of writing, academia, activist narratives as well as the mainstream media.

    Particularly with the question of disability in the Indian context, we have a long way to go, as I am sure you are aware, in terms of understanding the complex rubric in which it exists both in terms of how disabled people live their lives and how the notion of the ideal body infiltrates the systems that govern us, the movements that challenge them and each and every one of us.

    Kafila is a forum for a range of different thoughts, written in different forms. The series will continue. Hoping that next time you do not waste your time if personal narrative based political commentary is not your kind of thing.

    There are so many more tangents I can take off from, from within your comments. But will stop here.

    Hoping we can now proceed with sharing information, raising questions and debates about disability in everyday life in the various spaces we inhabit.

    Thanks again for your comment.

    • priya permalink
      July 21, 2010 9:26 PM

      Ponni,

      i agree with you completely when you say that disability is seldom talked about in the Indian context. But where in your article have you talked about disability? talking about a trip to the movies when you had a temporary injury does not constitute opening up the debate.

      Ofcourse one’s class position makes life easier to live- and this goes for all people, not just the differently abled.

      surely any piece of writing cannot be tagged political simply because of the reputation of the blog it is put on. I know personal accounts can be highly political but yours just wasn’t.

  4. July 21, 2010 8:07 PM

    Priya are you Priya or are you Meenakshi, or is Meenakshi Priya or are you a combination of each other – as in Siamese twins? Or are you neither Priya nor Meenakshi?

    • Aman Sethi permalink
      July 21, 2010 9:28 PM

      Shivam,
      I dont think its relevant who this person is. I think its far more important to engage or disengage with what Priya and Meenakshi are saying.

      I also think you need to be careful about how you handle moderator privileges. Using internet protocols to start questioning people about their identities is precisely the kind of behaviour that creeps us out about organisations like google, microsoft and apple. To display your knowledge of that information as a way to curb comments on the site is very very disturbing.
      best
      Aman

  5. July 21, 2010 11:16 PM

    Aman,

    It is certainly not relevant as to who the person is – what’s relevant is that the same person has written two different comments pretending to be two different persons to create an impression that many people vehemently dislike the post. That is all I wanted to expose. I don’t see how that ‘curbs’ comments on the site.

    I thought it was important to point out this dishonesty in the two comments by whoever-the-comment-writer-is as s/he as that makes her, in my view, guilty of some kind of dishonesty and auctorial impropriety even as s/he accused Ponni of the same.

    So my comment was not to question the person about his/her identity – I didn’t say, who are you in fact?

    There is no policy of disallowing comments with assumed identities on Kafila.

    best,
    shivam

  6. meenakshi permalink
    July 22, 2010 8:44 AM

    My earlier comment about how irrelevant that question is [shivam's] was not posted. Admin privileges again? Well, I’m glad there are sensible people who stop you when you act like the big brother..Are we being watched?Should I swear with a hand on the Bible, Gita, Koran….or maybe the Constitution that I’m not Priya? Sigh. The Maoists replicate the logic of the State by wanting overthrow of the same but this kind of surveillance on a blog is ok? This is precisely the kind of attack-our-kafila-family we attack you kind of syndrome. I’m glad Aman doesn’t fall under this group. Is Shivam ..Ponni…Ponni…Shivam or is this actually the Home Minister….Hello Mr Chidambaram..

  7. Nivedita Menon permalink*
    July 22, 2010 9:28 AM

    May I make a request that the discussion be brought back to the issue of disability and access to space and other resources? What does it say about all of us that this self-indulgent exchange is what the post has provoked?
    And Meenakshi, Ponni argued the very opposite of what you accuse her of, that she termed those who hurried past her “10 rupeewaalas”
    (You say:”… worrying about the chair that might get toppled as the 10 rupeewaalas hurry past you spitting and scratching their balls in oh-such-an-uncouth way…”)
    If you’d read that sentence again with less spleen, you’d see that she in fact says that perhaps the more expensive seat-walas hurried past her thoughtlessly because they may have thought SHE was a 10 rupeewala.
    Anyway, I think she has now made it clear that what she intended to do was to engage, through her own very privileged position, with “the complexity of being temporarily disabled as opposed to experiences of those who are permanently disabled”.
    Whether she managed to do that successfully or not, can we now start discussing that issue rather than imputing motives to the author?
    Just to throw in something very quickly to start the mix, disability studies have for some time used the idea of the temporarily abled body (TAB) to problematize the dichotomy of able-bodied and disabled. All of us are TAB’s, as we realize when we break a leg or have an operation or are ill. The dichotomy then becomes revealed as a continuum. In addition, this idea problematizes the idea of autonomy that is so valued in the contemporary (capitalist) world, for it forces us to recognize that none of us would survive but for chains of dependence and caring.
    “Disability” is constructed by a world that is built to suit particular kinds of human bodies alone. If the world was exclusively built to suit wheel-chair users, for example, the two-legged would be struggling up ramps and slopes all the time, and if built for the blind, based on super-sensitive touch and hearing, then the sighted would be totally lost.
    Just some quick thoughts arising from some scant knowledge I have derived from the vast scholarship of disability theory.

  8. meenakshi permalink
    July 22, 2010 10:19 AM

    Just by making some sort of ”disclaimer” that one is writing about elite spaces and that one is economically and socially privileged enough to do so does not necessarily mean you have ”solved” the issues of being from such a position or even portrayed them in all the complexity of intersecting subjectivities.Ponni’s article, though it tries to place these positions in a self reflexive mode does not move beyond these to actually interrogate questions of disablility or class. For example,”I was quite amazed by the fact that there weren’t many who noticed that there was someone at the theatre with her leg up on another chair. One would think that is a strange sight. But on the other hand, they would have assumed I am a ‘ten rupee ticket type’ as we were sitting in the front row. Of course we booked the expensive tickets the day before but sat in the front row for convenience. But that’s irrelevant”. I would in fact say that it is very relevant that she expected some sort of reaction to her putting her foot on the chair. Maybe because she is a woman? But how many times have you sat with the tenrupeewalaas? I needn’t ”disclose” my gender identity here but maybe if we were to step out of our gated colonies and Inox theatres we’d know that there are multiple ways to negotiate spaces whatever gender identity you assume, with varying degrees of difficulty. No trepidation. No surprise about the reactions/lack of reactions for our different actions.It is relevant that she mentions she had actually booked luxury class tickets. The ten rupeewaala comment I made earlier was to actually point towards these blind spots one has when writing where the tenrupeewalaas even if you are sitting next to them are ”different”, to be commented on, even though you pass it off as a tongue -in -cheek response to the condescension of the luxury class.A pat on the back for sitting with ”them”, class solidarity forged by pointing out the attitudes of the luxury class while your expectations/assumptions are based on the very same conceptions as the people sitting above you in the luxury class to which you say you belong? What is more ridiculous than writing a post that claims to be on disablility, and has no questions about how bodies with disabilities [apart from socially disabled ones] navigate these spaces?The only advice the author has is to cough up the money and go to Inox because at least they have a shut bathroom that’s disabled friendly, a wheelchair and a guy in a red Inox uniform to wheel it out for you…Wow…This was a self indulgent piece fumbling for something to say beyond the very very self indulgent. What she intended to do might have been exploring the dichotomies of TAB and disabled bodies , forgive me for not seeing the complexity of the ”debate”. It looked like a piece written by a person with a temporarily disabled body , set apart from other permanenty/temporarily disabled bodies on a holiday to Inox.

  9. Ponni permalink
    July 22, 2010 11:28 AM

    Anita Ghai on ‘TAB’ and other things and a broader context. A good place to start.

    http://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=0r_F-ysy1QAC&oi=fnd&pg=PA13&dq=anita+ghai,+temporarily+able+bodied&ots=OQtDVwODr7&sig=qUMsbJ3dJ6cmruSBzO4g_k2DSh0#v=onepage&q=temporarily&f=false

    Part II is coming up soon! Looking forward to an engaged discussion.

  10. anonymous permalink
    July 22, 2010 4:31 PM

    I have often found blog wars (usually organized along the lines of blogger and commenter) curious and remarkably resonant of the turgid state-versus-citizen theaters. This is to say that assumed polarized and confrontational stances is often an easy way to project one’s speaking self. The justice-injustice, right-wrong stance not just attempts to correct many evils of the world, but also insidiously writes a script with the dialogic roles played as perpetrator-victim, wronger-wronged Here the blogger invariably accuses the commenter as not having time to read carefully, or being a bigoted idiot, or not knowing good English, or not having read Heidegger. The commenter usually defends with nuclear arsenal sometimes in the nature of Lenin, sometimes poor-people-have-no-fun. As such, I have witnessed many blogger-commenter sagas on Kafila, being a somewhat addicted reader. I must admit, I look forward to fights much more than I look forward to posts. So the initial comments on Ponni’s post provoked an irrational urge that spoke “Fight! Fight! Fight!” Knowing Ponni personally, I am sure she won’t be too annoyed with me when I say I didn’t care much for the post, primarily because ‘disability’ is not my pet point of outrage, and somewhat agreeing with the mysterious priya that such a post would be more suited to a personal blog. But these are passing thoughts, and I didn’t think it was ‘excruciating’ or anything like that.

    So, I am a happy spectator of any kind of verbal bloodbath. And I hope Dr. Priya and Mr. Meenakshi will come back with a bang, and add virtual ghee into the flame. Let me add a small bit of burning coal and ask how is it that Shivam Vij knows that the two people are the same persons using different names? It must be because they have the same IP addresses. This leads me to a tentative conclusion that Shivam Vij goes backstage after people put up annoying comments to check where their IP addresses are coming from. With some expertise, web-geeks with an active curiosity can usually tell who is the likely user of the IP address. I urge the Kafila Politburo to look into the ethical dimensions of constant checking for patterns in commenting IP identities.

    P.S. It could be that Mr. Priya and Dr. Meenakshi have used the same cyber cafe connection in quick succession. Coincidences are rare, but not unheard of.

    Happy battling!

  11. V. Geetha permalink
    July 22, 2010 10:11 PM

    Temporarily abled is something that most of us are – and quite likely to not acknowledge that condition, both physically, mentally and emotionally. Often it is but a question of that familiar cathartic reaction, celebrated in tragic literature, the sense that each of us looks guiltily, with embarrassment at those who have suffered an unhappy fate, or chanced a quirk destiny that they pay for it dearly and so we say, not sure if we wish to risk as much, there but for the grace of – whatever, god, chance – go I…
    Ponni’s essay, ironic and uneasy reminded me of that cathartic feeling we carry around with us, and only express when fate serves us with a fractured ankle. A catharsis that is punctuated with its own excess, with the knowledge that one’s fate is not quite defined by one’s condition – it is this that allows an ironic and edgy enquiry into differences, between the temporarily and more than temporarily disabled… it is also this which makes possible a wry and somewhat disgusted viewpoint, and also almost hapless self-deprecation…
    Sadly the irony appears to have been lost on some readers and misfired rather badly – to answer it with grim righteousness that does not wish to listen and heed does not help to move the argument ahead.
    There is the danger of irony getting lost in its own ambiguities, and hopefully in successive posts we will see Ponni working it to different ends – she has put herself out on the line and her performative mode is deadly serious.

  12. Manash permalink
    July 23, 2010 12:46 AM

    Firstly I stand by Aman Sethi in his absolutely spot on criticism of the moderator’s objectionable show of monopoly which tried to not only get personal, but also reduce an interesting use of a double-identity (if it really happened) to a shallow insinuation of mischief-making. This is a new low. It smacks of a serious lack of intellectual and ethical credentials.

    Secondly, I stand by Meenakshi’s criticism. I did not find any novelty in the post, and the disclaimer didn’t match up to it. Objective understanding and subjective indulgences are way apart in this case, with the former trying to justify the latter in a weird sort of way. Doesn’t work.

  13. Aarti Sethi permalink*
    July 23, 2010 3:06 PM

    okay, this is now getting a little ridiculous, perhaps our readers need to a know a little bit about the IP issue.

    Firstly, the I.P. address of the commentator, which has now assumed something akin to the status of a closely held secret available only to the privileged moderator, is displayed below every comment that anyone posts. When two comments appear one after the other, the moderator has to do nothing at all to notice that they are from the same address.

    Secondly, there is nothing particularly reprehensible or big brotherly about an I.P. address search within a blog. All blog administrators routinely do them for the information they reveal about blog readership. Who is reading, where are the most hits coming from, on what posts etc.In fact this done for blogs by wordpress itself. So, for instance, by tracking our readership over the last four years, we know that kafila has a small “issue-based” international readership, but a much larger “national” particularly small town readership. This tells us very interesting things about the circuits in which the writing travels.

    There is no cause to raise questions about the kafila moderator’s “ethical credibility”. I would ask everyone to relax, and realise that too much is being made of very little.

    And finally, meenakshi/priya, I don’t care about what name you post as, whether you have one alias or a million. And as he has subsequently made clear, nor does Shivam.

    Perhaps we can get on with discussing the issues Ponni is raising in this post.

    regs,
    Aarti

  14. Manash permalink
    July 23, 2010 7:01 PM

    “I would ask everyone to relax, and realise that too much is being made of very little”:
    I would in turn ask everyone to be constantly vigilant and make too much if required of the so-called too little, because sometimes important problems reveals themselves in little forms.

    The point is, what exactly is coming into focus – and what came into focus was a petty-minded trivializing of a criticism against a not-so-profound post (in my opinion) by a not-so-profound inner circle member. Period.

    And if you like me to add what problem I have with this post it is this: There has been a huge influx of ‘disability’ (different ability) related films and writings from America which have caught some people’s imagination here. I have seen some of them and there is a glaring lack of understanding of the political economy behind the way the differently-abled are treated and the music they face. The very term differently-abled is a kind of Protestant-ethic term to squeeze out “work” from them, or treat what they do or can do as “work”, to suit the larger language of capitalist productivity. The pain is often registered in a language which evokes pathos as well as alienation. The question is: What does this representing serve? It serves a ritualistic empathy towards the differently-abled person’s sense of loneliness on the one hand, and on the other, an individua(liza)tion of an inclusive political economy trying to gain legitimacy through the politics of recognition.

    I am not saying this post does all that. This post spends more time on the experiential “asides”, with mostly trivial anecdotes to offer, without ever getting out of the self-involved state to give us an idea of how does a technologically claimed self/body work vis-a-vis a technological world, and collaborates with it as much is rendered uncomfortable by it. That would have been a critical and insightful piece. This one reads like a piece which can at best have the heading: “A Difficult Visit to A Multiplex”.

  15. Manash permalink
    July 23, 2010 7:06 PM

    ps:
    By the way, lest I be taken as insensitive, I genuinely feel sorry for her injured leg.

  16. Ponni permalink
    July 24, 2010 12:36 AM

    As the author of this post, I am taking the liberty to moderate further comments in the interest of keeping the discussion focussed on the issues I am attempting to raise in the post and in the following post. The comments pertaining to other issues raised above as we all know are very significant and ones we all think and grapple with. There will be future forums where we can thrash out these questions (i personally hope in the most productive way possible).
    Hoping for a more focussed discussion on this and future posts. Thanks again for the valuable comments. They have greatly influenced the next piece and look forward to more comments but maybe this time (and this is just a request) a little kinder to me and my leg. :)… maybe that’l be useful and constructive for all of us.

  17. July 24, 2010 3:43 AM

    Ponni,

    I’m sorry to see the direction this discussion took. I personally see your observations very astute and this a great way to narrate the truth. Especially for this issue of accessibility, because in third person it clearly loses the seriousness that it deserves. Probably the biggest reason why this issue has been ignored by the majority who are physically able.

    Having said that, I too am ‘happily’ surprised to know that these facilities existed in the first place. But this itself raises a question in my mind, whether we are already happy with the compromise? That if our expectations are made to be so low, we are happy with whatever little we could get? And I think that is JUST NOT RIGHT. There is no reason why anyone should be expected to face questions as you did through the day(s)… Everyone has an equal right to go watch a movie the day want, wherever they want, paying as anyone else if they can / want.

    You might notice that I’m being extra cautious to not separate the not-so-able out by just talking about ‘them’. And that’s what my point is. I truly believe that we are all the same, despite any physical / social differences. And so ‘indiffferent’ should our spaces be.

    You have described a mall; that being a building must have had to go over some approvals before it could get built. So seems like at least some policies are in place. But I wonder if there are mechanisms to have these facilities maintained through the life of the building.

    I would curiously wait for your other posts, especially the beach, that being truly in the public hands. Just to see if they follow the same standards of delivery as they expect the private sector to have.

    Good work there!

  18. Rahul permalink
    July 24, 2010 8:12 PM

    Ponni, this was very well written. I found the episode of the celebrity smiling at you extremely poignant. It is like, the disability has become so definitive a marker of identity that it supersedes and engulfs everything else.
    The notion of TAB is very interesting. I would also like to say something that is probably fairly obvious,and has been suggested by others here , that of a contextually enabled body, or that, the body is enabled or disabled only within a specific context.
    Thanks for sharing and will look forward to your other pieces.

  19. Dharini permalink
    August 13, 2010 8:41 PM

    Interesting read. I’m reminded of a book of Lata Mani’s called Interleaves (Hindu review here: http://www.hinduonnet.com/2001/06/24/stories/1324017d.htm) that speaks of how a serious accident resulting in physical disability and emotional pain led her on a spiritual journey

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