Pic.: Malabika Ganguly
The postman just handed me with quite-a-packed envelope. It was from ‘imfpa’ – Indian Mouth and Foot Painting Artists. Yellow in color, on the front-side of this envelope was written: “Handicapped in body, but not in spirit’!
I had some other subject in mind to write on, today. But, the moment I opened the pack, I knew it had to be this subject…
The pack contained: beautifully designed all-occasion greeting cards, book marks, gift tags, and gift envelopes, comprising 17 designs selected from some of the finest original paintings done by mouth-and-foot artists of India. There was a touching letter written by one of these artists with her picture. The young smiling-girl from Kerala, Swapna Augustine, has no limbs… she is shown painting… holding a brush in between her toes!
The letter gently reminds us that these unfortunate artistes had lost their hands either due to accident, illness or birth defect. “Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live the rest of your life without the use of your hands?” the letter prods us to think, “We, unfortunately, have to!”
Well, Swapna was asking me that… So, had I ever wondered what it would be like to live the rest of my life without the use of my hands? I love writing everyday… How would I write, type?
If these unfortunate-ones have learnt how to paint and draw with their mouth and foot, perhaps, I, too, could learn to write with my foot?
I said, ‘perhaps’…
Imagine the kind of zest one needs for that… Imagine the kind of determination, patience, hardwork, and, above all, the sense of dignity to live with! “Self-help, not charity… is our motto,” the back of the envelope tells us.
Diwali is coming. I need some cards to send. I love books… I need some book-marks. This week, there are four different functions to be attended… I need gift envelopes and gift tags… And, all of them have arrived at my doorstep, today, mysteriously! Yes, there is another self-stamped envelope… It appeals to me saying, if I feel like supporting the cause, I can send a cheque for Rs.495/-… But, there is no obligation, I am gently reminded!
“I should be a shameless fellow if I am not to send that cheque,” I am smiling!
We need something like this to come to our hearts’ doorsteps… just to remind us as to how fortunate we are… Yes, to remind us that living with dignity… with our heads high… is the most honorable way of living…
As long as this sense of dignity-of-living
lasts in our souls… I am really convinced, today,
that we needn’t get scared in life…