It’s the August monsoon. Our class is on the Chatt. With their oiled hair and forever darkened eyes , they see something else entirely, they feel all the same things with their hearts though. They never let me fall into that trap, where I or anyone else sees them as a label-“blind chick”- no way!
I could, because it is just so easy to put people in a box- categorize , deal and dismiss, but they don’t allow that . They’re very much individuals, strong ones, they speak their mind, full of curiosity, eager for praise, cracking jokes at the teacher’s expense (mine)- fantastic girls, no different from any other 20 year olds except that they don’t have the eyes that work for them.
I thought teaching yoga to visually challenged people would help, it helps regular people so much with co-ordination and balance and with body-awareness. And I began it not as social service but as an interesting idea that would take hold of my brain and refuse to leave. Much like how yoga originally came into my life- I didn’t know the “why” of it- I would just do it!
The idea took seed and root, opportunity made itself known- I coincidentally stumbled across this Training institute for visually challenged women. Teaching yoga to these girls goes beyond like or dislike, it has nothing to do with it or with anything I want. I struggle though with not knowing the A to B; I have no earthly idea why I want to teach this class and where it’ll go- either for them or for me.
Which is rare because we like to think linearly and reasons to do things define us. You know how you get those inspired ideas that snowball into all these aspects of your life? One step leads to many? This is like that, except the idea hasn’t snowballed and I haven’t figured where it fits. Am I of any help to them in the larger picture? With my fitted tights, my muscles and my university degree – of what help is my evening yoga to the lives of these girls? Like when someone asks you a trick question and at first you think you have the answer but then you’re not so sure? I feel like they help me more than the other way around.
On the face of it – I’m helping them. I know this , I can see it in their now erect carriage and how their brows smoothen and I can see it in their smiles and I know they like me as much I like them and I know they look forward to the classes. But somehow when I come back home I feel like I’ve been given something. Like they’ve given me something immeasurably more and with more depth than I could ever do for them. What that “thing” is , I don’t know but I know they have given me something else than I could have ever given them.
Through this, I am becoming increasingly of someone watching me. In this interplay between giggling Mina and gang and the serious me, someone or something watches over us. I see glimpses of something, glimpses that portent to be a trail of crumbs. I feel like Hansel and Gretel from the children’s fairytale except I know that the presence is a benign one. Some one is waiting to eat me at the other end, but in a good way. I cannot qualify it, but I’ll go with it.
Nothing happens without Grace.