I Am In Awe!

There is an open ground about two hundred meters away from our home where either Manjiree or Ranjan or both take Koko and occasionally  Chutki also, for  exercises in the mornings and evenings. While Chutki goes out with a professional walker twice a day, Koko needs to be taken out by one of them every day.

Koko frolics around while there and is usually very reluctant to come away. She has a couple of friends called Max  and Zimba who play with her with abandon and it is always a sight to watch  them frolicking.

Why am I in awe?

Koko, the brown one,  is totally blind and totally depends on her other senses for her existence. Just look at her spirit for all that big handicap and look at Max in the first video and Zimba in the next  who are so careful with her.

Ranjan’s Rakhi Sister Zainab.

My regular readers will remember my post on Rakhi Sisters “Gaelikaa Adopts Me As Her Brother.”

In that post I had introduced Zainab as “Our son Ranjan has a much cherished Rakhi Sister, Zainab. She was his classmate in college and made him her Rakhi Brother. The two of them are a treat to watch when they are together. In due course, I shall post a blog about Zainab to express my admiration for a remarkable young lady who has achieved a great deal under very difficult circumstances.”

The time has now come to write about Zainab and as I write this, she is sitting next to me to see that I do not give incorrect or exaggerated stories about her.

Currently, Zainab is a freelance translator, part time teacher in a college and gives private tuition classes at her home for students struggling with French. Yes, Zainab is a qualified French translator and teacher with a Masters Diploma in Modern Studies of French from the Alliance Francais. She has been to Paris on an exchange program with a French counterpart coming to India. She has been at these activities for the past twentythree years. Yes, from the age of 16, she started teaching French to fellow classmates and other odds and ends.

She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the Pune University and is currently doing her Masters with expectations of getting the degree in April of this year.

She comes from a family of businessmen and fantastic housewives who can prepare one of India’s famous cuisines, the Bhori Food. She herself prefers to eat that food rather than cook it. In that, she and her adopted brother share similar attitudes.

Zainab is also deeply involved with and in the management of the local Pune Blindmen’s Association. She has been a member of the managing committee for the last ten years during which time, the amount of work that she has done for rehabilitating persons with visual disabilities has been recognized by the Government of India, which has awarded her the NIVH (National Institute For the Reabilitation of the Visually Impaired, Dehradun) award for excellence for the year 2009. This award carries a seal and a citation which was presented to her by the Governor of Uttrakhand, Margaret Alva.

In 2008, Zainab won the Neelam Kanga award for excellence in the same field by the National Association of the Blind, Mumbai.

Her list of achievements will take a few more pages if I were to list them all, but suffice it to say that it all started with her winning the Cash Prize for coming first in the State of Maharashtra in the category of Visually Challenged students for the High School Certificate. Since then, she has just been accumulating qualifications and awards regularly and lives a life full of joy, service and love for a great many people among whom Ranjan and I are privileged to be too.

Here is the photograph of this lovey young lady, who is a cherished member of our family.


Zainab has been visually challenged from birth. Her condition is known as Malformation of the retina. She cannot bear bright lights and cannot read. She depends on a screen reader JAWS.

She is a treat to be with and my only complaint about her is that she does not find more time from her very busy life to spend with me. I asked her just now, if she would like to add anything to this post and her comment is typical of the young spirited lady. “Blind and visually impaired people should not think that life is over. There is plenty to do and live for for them too.”