Cup and Saucer, Bread and Butter, Over and Out are a few of the hundreds of Siamese twins that exist in the language. Well, for one, Deaf and Dumb is certainly not one. It's not a twin but an example for cause and effect. All dumb people are not deaf. And certainly all deaf people are not dumb.
On the other day, I was returning home after a taxing day in college. As usual, the train was crowded - what else to expect at 5.30 PM on a weekday - and I managed to board it. I stood near the compartment door or what they call, foot-boarded the train. Earphones doing their work effectively, I hummed along with it. The trees and structures whizzed past me and so the stations. The hue and cry of the city didn't affect me in anyway except that I got down at every station and boarded again at the sight of green flag of the white attired guard. Everyone was shouting "Please leave way!" all along till they got down and they never forgot to give us a stare as if there was enough space inside and I was standing near the door to show off. Pity them.
And then three school kids got in. White unbuttoned half-sleeves, grey full trousers and an emblem stitched to their pockets. Anyone could have easily taken them as some ordinary school kids but giving them a closer look indicated me something different. They were silent and I was curious. I removed my ear phones to hear their forthcoming conversation. But removing my earphones didn't do me any good for they didn't open their mouths. It was blatant that they should be weary of the day similar to me.
Then moved their hands. So fast that I could not easily see their position and momentum. Heisenberg's uncertainty Principle. I had to give more attention to see what they were doing. They were communicating. Yes, by sign language. I was moved yet at the same time thrilled. Like any other layman, I mistook them as Deaf and Dumb. But something which happened immediately wronged my mind. A Gentle man tried to catch the train after it had started and he fell down on the platform badly hurting him. Everyone understanding the peril before our eyes started shouting out loud. I instantaneously noticed them with their mouths opened in fear. They too were shouting. They were successful in making the noise though they didn't know it. I heard them and others near didn't care to.
These kids are a part of the special school and they are trained very well on sign language. They communicated very casually and in fact more emotionally than us through their eyes. Though they were not dumb, their deafness made their mouth mute. With proper training, they could voice their thoughts.
That evening, I noticed a contest in Indiblogger to write for a cause based TEDxGateway Mumbai. I casually browsed through the videos not for entering the contest but to check out the issues these people talked about. And I noticed one particular talk by Ruma Roka who is the founder of the Noida Deaf Society, which uses specialized vocational programs to help the deaf achieve gainful employment and more fully integrate into their communities. I decided to write about the one I witnessed that evening.
We all can see one Visually Challenged person or many travelling to work. And we can see stupid people working everywhere with all their senses wide open except their mind. But have we seen one who is deaf or dumb who has gone to one proper job? By proper job I mean, the job which is not an underemployment to that person I am talking about. No definitely, we haven't. Why are these set of people refused every where they go? Since they have no hearing or speaking ability? But job is a mental work though a little physical work is needed. I am not telling that they should be employed in a job where communicating is important but there are jobs where these people can shine.
Ruma Roka says this one important point which can be an advantage. "They are deaf and they are focused on their job without any distraction." See her talk here. Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012. We need not get down on the field to bring the change. A few small changes in our mind, in the way we perceive things can bring upon enormous effects in our society.