Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blind man's bluff

I was in Mumbai yesterday, meeting up with a client, and was being introduced to a new team who would be looking after the project(the website we are building with them)

When we got to the meeting, the senior man over there looked at me strangely. I didn't understand the look too much, but things settled down quite quickly. The new team seemed friendly and intelligent. We had a very meaningful conversation about the way ahead. I thought it best to make the meeting more visual, so I took the liberty of scrawling some points on their whiteboard as well.

At the end of the meeting, the senior guy, who had looked at me strangely(am not disclosing his name) told me that the one problem he had with the current website was that it was not really good for the visually impaired.

And then he told me that he was blind. Partially blind, having some peripheral vision, but that's about it. He showed us his voice recognition software and how he was coping up with his blindness that came his way about a year back.

To say that my colleague and I were shocked was putting it mildly. He obviously had found a way to look at us as if he could see us! After I recovered, I asked him how he felt. He was quite nice about it and told me that he had cried for a few days, totally lost it, but then took on the job of living the rest of his life again. He said he still had a family to feed, and he owed it to them.

The whole experience was very humbling and made us understand the importance of making websites that were for the visually impaired. Of course, we know the theory, but now we just know we'll never forget this lesson.

Our meeting ended when he personally showed me the way to the restroom.( he had got me a coffee earlier!) I felt extremely comfortable being led by him. I think this comfort and courtesy that he has given me and his own team - of being himself inspite of the situation that he is facing-takes a lot of courage. I humbly salute this courage and am grateful for his brief presence in my life yesterday.

And yes, we will never ever make a website without looking at the website he had provided us for considering visually impaired standards!


Aparna said...

your blog gives me hope and really gives me the small joys.

khatriranjya said...

an thats some story it just tells us how god damn lucky we are so the next time i feel my life is such a tragedy when i break a finger before an important game ill remember this