Reflections

Hello Laila, it was nice getting to know you!

It’s been exactly a month since Margarita with a straw opened to Indian audience and to raving reviews. No sooner than it hit the screens, my editor, who knew of my inclination to write on issues related to disability, called me. “I think we could offer our readers a new and much valuable perspective if you could actually watch the movie with a person who has cerebral palsy,” she said. While others, including film critics, would take the conventional path in reviewing the movie, I was extremely enthused by the possible narrative of my story. “Let us not confine it to a mere Q&A session. Make it more of a conversational and up-close account,” I was instructed.

However, despite identifying an individual, I had to temporarily postpone my movie plans because I was occupied with other tasks. Journalism, or rather news as a commodity in itself, has a extremely short shell life. One is not afforded the luxury of time and hence if there is a story (unless a developing one) waiting to be told to the public, it needed to be done so expressly. You just can’t react to stories late for the novelty factor wanes by every passing day. Ultimately, the story, as suggested by my editor, didn’t happen.

Weeks passed, and, yesterday at office while finishing a story, a small part of my mind was contemplating possible plans for Sunday, my weekly off. Watching a movie seemed to be an attractive option. I would have probably spent 27 seconds deciding on ‘which one’, when Margarita (or should I say, Laila) called.

Considering our initial date was postponed, I couldn’t have held off Laila any longer. I think, she was little expectant. After all, she is like the rest of us, complete with innate emotions and feelings, isn’t she? I have been a Journalist for a little over a year now, and during the ensuing period I have interacted with several individuals with disability. The general impression I have of them is that, while the physically challenged may require personal assistance, they are nevertheless strong and strive to be independent. Once the initial hesitance is out of the way, the intellectually impaired don’t need any prodding to speak up for themselves and speak out on contemporary issues. It led me to believe the disabled don’t necessarily require sympathy, but seek recognition and understanding. Not of their incapabilities, but of their inner most desires which, shouldn’t come as a surprise, is very much shared by all of us. They have as much right as the rest of us to dream big or dream obscure. So, why think of the disabled any ‘differently’ than you would of the rest.

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