The professor entered the class and introduced himself. Being my first day at college, I was thrilled and nervous at the same time. I wondered if my first day at college would be good enough. In a class full of people with dreams, I felt energetic. It was a healthy environment with new faces all around and some very interesting subjects to learn. The professor said, “Hello everyone, I am your new professor. I will be teaching electronics to you. You must have had basic understanding about electronics…” and he started teaching right away. I felt as if something was missing.
Our first day at college and the moment we enter the class, the professor starts to teach? Where is all the fun and commitments I read printed up onto the brochure when I decided to join this college? I felt as if I was being fooled by the college committee. However, I tried to convince myself. It is just the first day. You do not need to assume anything. There are other subjects to come and many teachers yet to show up.
Hope returned back and I wished for the negative feeling to disappear. I wished my college life would not go as bad as my school life. I wished my first day at college would be something to remember about and rejoice when heard later. I was expecting a lot but the reality proved me otherwise.
After the electronics lecture, came the mechanics lecture followed by the chemistry. None of the teachers even mentioned about the future of our generation or backed us regarding the new beginning or made our lives any better; in fact they made it worse than before. When things turn out the way you never expected, unusual sensations surround your mind. On my way back to hostel, the thoughts of my career as a student being ‘crushed’ started circling my mind. Over the next few weeks, similar reactions began to reflect back to me from my friends and seniors at college. “You see, there are little to no better career opportunities available if you graduate from this college. I feel you should change your major or maybe move to some other college if you are serious enough about learning something”, said one of the seniors.
When things turn out the way you never expected, unusual sensations surround your mind.
I just joined the college and now I was having thoughts to change my college. This was not a great start. Later that day, I went to the canteen where all the newly admitted students were having food. I thought to myself, “Look at these people, they don’t even know where they have come or what’s in store for them in the future.” As I sat on the chair, a couple benches ahead of me gathered a group of students presumably talking to someone. Whom are they talking to? But why should I even care about these things. I am going to call my dad and explain the whole situation to him. I can’t stay in a college where my dreams are as bad as dead.
Soon the crowd in front of me cleared off and I was able to see the person with whom the students were talking. He was facing the other side and all I could see was his shirt which read, “The Blind Sees It All”. That is one strange shirt to wear in a college campus. But no matter how pissed off I was with the college, I made my move and approached the student in front of me to talk. There was really something special about him after all. He was blind, and the strange thing was – he was proud of being so.
What was a blind student doing in such a college? I wondered. After all, this college is the reason I started to hate something in life for the first time. Why would someone with such a disability dare to join this college? I had no answer. I decided to talk to the guy and figure it out myself. Maybe his father or uncle is the head of the college. Maybe that is the reason every one respects him. Yeah, that makes sense. Why would anyone want to crowd around a blind student for no reason. Yeah, maybe he is related to the college authorities after all. I stood in front of him. I guessed he already sensed me coming.
“Hello my friend.”, he said.
Friend? We just met and moreover he has not even seen me and I am his friend?
“Hi.”, I said in a neutral manner.
“I am not your friend. I don’t want to be friends with someone who is related to this college in any way.”
After a long pause, he continued, “Would you like some coffee?”.
I was taken aback for a second. This guy was asking me for a coffee. I had little time to think so I said, “Yeah, I guess…”. He raised his hand and made a gesture in the air.
Suddenly a waiter at the canteen came running towards him. “Two coffee please.” He said to the waiter. I was surprised to see all that was happening around me.
Without wasting any more time, I asked him, “You are son of the college principle, right?”
I was relieved as finally I was making my move and asking the right questions. Hearing what I asked he began to laugh at me. “You are not the first one to ask me that today.” I was wrong about the guy.
He continued, “My name is Rohan, I live in a nearby city. My father is a laborer and not the principal of this college. Although I think he would be pleased to accept the offer”. He laughed once again. He was the most cheerful guy I have encountered today. Something was different and everyone seemed to be happy around him.
“I am sorry.” I said with a gleam in my eyes.
“I know what you were thinking. I am not a relative of any of the college authorities. I am not a special kid. I am just a normal person.” He said.
“I see. Sorry about assuming that way.”
“It is fine. What are you so stressed about anyway? Maybe I can help.”
Asking help from a blind person? Is that what would solve my problems? I wonder. But I told him anyway.
“I just joined the college but nothing in this college seems to cheer me up. The professors are all fixed upon teaching and the rest of the faculty is even more boring. No one talks about innovation. Seniors say you cannot expect good results or higher placements from this college. I feel as if my life was doomed the moment I entered this college. I was about to call my dad and ask him to allow me to change college. That’s why I was stressed out.”
All this time he was listening to me patiently. After hearing me out, he said, “If you think so, then just do it.”
What? I cannot believe he would agree to my statement this easy. I mean I know my problems are worse and not everyone would understand me but to agree on the first time you listen to someone’s problems? I expected a justification at the least. But here he was, telling me to just do what I feel.
He continued, “If this is your final opinion then you must do what you feel like doing, however…” There was a long pause.
“Before you make any move, I would want you to experience something which I have experienced in my life.”
Meanwhile the waiter came with two cups of coffee and placed them onto the table in front of us. Rohan continued, “You see these two cups placed in front of you? Touch them and close your eyes momentarily so you know the positions they are placed at. I will do the same.”
He asked the waiter to stay there for a while. I had my doubts if any experience would help me change my mind but I followed along. I held the two cups and closed my eyes. Now Rohan held them and took an idea of their positions on the table. We both let go off the cups and now all we could see was darkness. He then asked the waiter to move the cups to a different location on the table. What?!
I had never expected this to happen. The waiter dragged the cups from one position to the other and the act of dragging the cups produced a sound audible to us both. Rohan then asked the waiter to leave and thanked him for the service.
“Now, with your eyes closed try to touch the cups with one hand in one attempt. I will do the same.”
The next moment that followed was a thriller and everyone around us was already gathered to witness the strange experience. I placed my hand on the table but nothing. I thought to myself maybe he did not find the cups as well.
Rohan said, “Oh! I missed it!”
This made me happy. A moment ago, I was all curious and nervous as to who gets the cup right. But now that he failed too, I feel at peace. He asked me to open the eyes. To my surprise, Rohan was holding the cup.
“You said you missed it too!”, said I.
But before I could say anything, the crowd which was gathered around started clapping and shouting with appreciation for Rohan. What did actually happen? The waiter who brought us the coffee came forward and narrated what took place when our eyes were closed.
The waiter said, “After I shuffled the cups, you tried to pick one but missed completely. Rohan tried and got the exact location of cup but he misled you by saying he missed it too. In reality though, being blind has not affected the sensing power of Rohan and so he was able to pin point the exact location of the cup as I dragged the cup onto the table. SOUND! You get it?”
I was amazed.
Rohan said, “You see your situation is no different from this experience.”
“What do you mean?”
“This is your first day at college so you are yet to master the skills of a student who is aware all the time. A student who is not depended upon the college or the teachers or any institutional body for his growth. When you closed your eyes to the reality, you had no clue where the cup was placed. That is the reason I asked you to touch the cups so that you have a predefined idea about the cups.”
“However, the moment the waiter changed the positions of the cups, any previous idea about the cups was lost from your mind. All that was left was the intuition and the sound that was produced. I was blind by birth and that shaped my life in such a way so as when I picture something in my mind I can relate to it based on any sound or movement. I knew when the waiter moved the cups that where he moved the cups to. However, since you had no knowledge about the sound, you were unable to pinpoint the location.” All my assumptions today were challenged by the statements I just heard. I was truly shaken from inside out.
“I know you had a really bad time in college today. Professors did not seem the way you wanted them to be but that is just similar to the way that the position of cups was not where you assumed it would be. College will provide you many opportunities; some will help you in a more obvious way while others will have to be understood in a delicate manner. I would want you to learn from your experiences and see everything from the eyes of the blind. Because when you see something without any predefined knowledge about it, you must possess the ability to shape your life the way you want it.”
I was moved by the experience and the way Rohan explained the connection with my life. Truly, there is no one right way to observe the nature or people around us. There was one which I adopted and ended up judging every single person I met today and then there was the one which I just experienced which made me question every single thought I had today. I would never forget this moment in my life.
there is no one right way to observe the nature or people around us.
The crowd was now clearing up. I stood up and was about to leave. He greeted me with a handshake and said, “The next time I see you. You better learn how to spot the cup my friend.” Indeed, we were friends from the very beginning. Only it took me two cups, one friend and a life lesson to realize the same.