There is a vocational training center for the visually impaired near my office. A group of three, sometimes four blind youths leave at the same time as me. And I help them cross the road. One day I saw one of them being helped by someone else. He reached the opposite side of the road and stood there looking in my general direction. I was waiting to cross and ultimately I did it. He smiled at me and said hi. I was a little rattled. Did he know who I was? If he did, how did he figure this out? I asked him this question. My mind (the stupid, evil bit of it) said – “he’s not blind. He’s just acting.” He grinned and almost blushed and said (in Kannada) – “it’s easy. It’s your smell and your footsteps.” And before you start using that non-existent brains of yours, the smell referred to “something sweet and pleasant (in his words)…” hmph!!! I was stunned but I walked with him to the bus-stop and, yeah…I waited for the bus to take me home.
Imagine a black world. Everything dark. You can’t see anything. Try being in this condition sometime. I don’t mean sleep. I mean awareful wakefulness in pitch black, complete, darkness, understand!!! You’ll feel like tearing your hair out at the end of an hour.
The blind live day in and day out, for years together in this darkness. All they have is the sounds and the smells. When God impairs one faculty He tends to gift highly active co-faculties. If you think about it, people can be characterized and identified by smells. We just don’t pay attention to it because we don’t need to identify anyone with their smells. You see, we can SEE them!
Even footsteps are dead giveaways. People are at times identified by the way they tread.
With the blind, these faculties automatically work overtime because it is their way of identifying people and environments and also protecting themselves. I feel that they are far more sensitive and intuitive than most of us. These are people who see beyond what is seen by the eyes. So the next time you (including moi) crib about something stupid and mundane…remember that you have all your faculties in order – a benefit that is helping you lead a normal, independent life.