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Published: Fri 29 Mar 2013, 9:45 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:26 PM

Hear, Hear

Ludwig van Beethoven, Helen Keller, Andrea Bocelli, Thomas Edison and Johnnie Ray… these world-
renowned personalities share a common trait. Besides being extremely successful in their own fields, they were or are all hearing and/or sight 
impaired. But that didn’t stop them from living their lives to the fullest and achieving their dreams. It just goes to show the rest of us ‘normal’ people that determination is all we require to succeed. Hurdles are what we make them out to be, and there is no obstacle great enough when you set your mind to achieving something.

Hats off to Rubina and Sadath Kola (Loud and Clear, Mar 22) for their strength, courage, willpower and love for life itself; and to Karen Ann Monsy for writing an article that calls out to our ‘abled hearing’. In the light of this beautiful and poignant feature, it is good to hear that the rigid social norms and community attitude towards differently-abled people are fast changing, 
and social acceptance is on the rise. Sign language and Braille workshops and training programmes are well recognised today, as well as programmes that spread awareness, and clubs that are organised for people with similar disabilities to meet on a common platform.

People with disabilities are not disabled. They are differently-abled, creative and independent fellow humans who need our respect, not our pity.


Learning Empathy

For a change, let schools encourage extra-curricular activities aimed 
at building empathy towards serving fellow human beings, rather than focusing on self-achieving and 
self-serving laurels (Loud and Clear, Mar 22).

Whether it is opting to make a mark in track or field events in sports, 
developing debating skills, participa-ting in young leaders conferences, acting as a diplomat in mini United Nations mock-ups or learning to play a musical instrument: all have gaining a place at an elite university as the underlying objective.

Traditionally, admissions give all of the above significant consideration in the recruitment process.

Nothing wrong with it, but it would be great if social responsibility values are promoted by recognising qualifications gained in sign language, for example, using it in rehab centres and practising it by asking normal students to deliver speeches in sign language, or having interactive sessions using sign language.

Time volunteered at homes for the elderly could be yet another way to serve the community. Surely, higher education institutions should welcome these activities and assign due value to them.

Zia Hashmi, Dubai

Age issues

The article Acting Your Age (Mar 22) was interesting and reflective of today’s double standards in both Bollywood and Hollywood.

If you look at the majority of movies and Indian TV serials, you will notice that the wife is both younger and fitter than the hero. I find it strange that a lot of older actors such as John Abraham, Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt and the like romance actresses half their age on screen, while there are hardly any leading roles for older actresses rom-ancing younger guys.

We women still have a long way to go in terms of equality. I avoid such movies with odd pairings, because they distract me from the storyline; all I’m thinking is ‘How can the character be attracted to someone old enough to be her father?’ I find it very ridiculous.

Michele Rego, by email

Train of thought

The chugging of a locomotive through a pristine village is sheer poetry (Such a Long Journey, Mar 22). Anita Nair captures it in all its innocence and simplicity.

What makes the travelogue worth reading is the time maze in which one is caught up, in a village occupying a digital space. The cardboard rectangular tickets of yesteryears jostle with the ping of an email on the mobile phone.

The process of urbanisation, where a local teashop becomes 
endangered, is succinctly hinted at, and the problem of sand mining has also been brought to the fore. Teeming with life and myriad real experiences, a journey replenishes the mind and rejuvenates the body. That makes life worth living.

Rajesh Karippal, Fujairah

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