Monday, September 17, 2012

Overlooking Handicaps

Yesterday, after a nearly year long hiatus, I decided to go to the movie theater. The movie they were playing was a Bollywood film called Barfi. In a nutshell, the film basically focused on the life and antics of a lovable deaf mute guy called Barfi and the two lady loves of his life, one of them being Autistic.
I must say, I did quite enjoy the film. Probably one of the best pieces of cinema that Bollywood has churned out in a really long time.  Devoid of pointless melodrama and ridiculous dance numbers.
The best part about the movie is, that while I laughed and followed the antics of Barfi and his autistic partner, not even for a moment did I sympathize with either of the characters.
The film was not about evoking sympathy. I believe that was never the agenda. While countless movies have been made on the blind, deaf and physically handicapped people, they were done so to evoke sympathy from the audience. So we can feel their pathos and suffering.
But this movie had a different note altogether. This was not about sympathy. This was a wonderful saga of a happy go lucky guy who made everyone laugh, and not even for a moment did you feel sorry for him in the long run. Being deaf mute was only a part of his persona. Not his persona by itself. His deafness and the inability to converse became an absolute non issue in the log run. You just focused more on his life and his interactions with those around him. The movie painted such a wonderful picture of a world I had completely forgotten. Full of childlike innocence and mirth coupled with a devil may care attitude.
Barfi being handicapped never even came into the picture. You just forgot about it.

Everyone is born with a handicap. Either mental or physical. Perfection was never a part of our design. Some are fat, some are painfully shy, some can be claustrophobic while others have some sort of physical deformity.
But in the long run, it completely depends upon you. So as to how do you wish the world looks upon you.
Whether you want society to sympathize with you throughout your existence, or do you want the world to see you as something well beyond your inabilities.
A great deal of us yearn for attention. A great deal of us want the world and society to feel our pain and understand what we are going through. And throughout our lives we constantly strive to get their attention, only to fail time and again. And then later depart into the bowels of loneliness and self pity.
If you thought the world is ever going to see or understand your suffering, you're sadly mistaken.
Newsflash, its never going to happen.
What you can do however, is become someone who stands well beyond your shortcomings and redefine yourself.
When people think of you, their first thought ought to be about your positive aspects.
People ought to remember you as say, an amazing writer, a loyal friend, a talented cook or a brilliant professional.
Not as, the bald guy, or the stuttering girl or the divorcee.
Your handicaps or your dysfunctional background shouldn't superimpose upon your persona.
Many people succumb to fussing over their disabilities, constantly reminding the world of how miserable they are. But what good would that even do? All you're doing is creating a sad stereotype that you will be branded with for the rest of your life.
The very definition of you should be about your achievements and not about your afflictions.
History remembers Maugham as a brilliant writer, not as the man with the stutter. The same goes for Julius Caesar who is remembered as a military mastermind and not the man with epilepsy.
It completely depends upon you, so as to whether you'd like to focus on your shortcomings, or brush them aside and look at the bigger picture.
One needs the carefree attitude of a child to pretend and become someone beyond your inabilities. So that the world tomorrow sees you as someone well beyond his or her afflictions.
Obsessing and focusing about your shortcomings will get you nowhere. Nor will it win you the sympathy you crave.
Just like in the movie, Barfi made you look beyond his handicap and made you laugh and look up in awe at the magical world he wove about him.
That's truly how life ought to be.
Filled with magic, innocence and wonder, just cruising forward and keeping all your shortcomings at bay, as if they never existed in the first place.