sweeter than imagined
The joy of togetherness is a space where there is no giving and receiving and only sharing. In Ahmedabad the idea would start in short, fragmented strips and finish in a long, final sweep like little bits of paper caught together in the wind. A place where disconnection and connection held hands. The blind school we visited seemed the least likely place to find the joy of togetherness but it was there that it struck me the most.
Enter a small boy dressed in the uniform of a blind school. Pale blue collar. Black pants. His legs are curved outwards. His eyes are closed and he cannot see. At one point he opens them and I see that they are the brightest, milky turquoise. A man puts his hand on his shoulder. He says that the boy would like to sing a song for us. And so we stand in an crescent around the boy and look at the fact that he is wearing a pale blue collared shirt and has curved legs and closed eyes and cannot see. As the boy begins to sing it is sweeter than imagined. He sings the words of a foreign language, of words I cannot understand. It flickers something inside me and I am moved. It is beautiful. The moment his voice drops the air seems dull and dry. Applause finds its way into my hands.
Later, I walk along side the white walls of the school. I see him walk straight out from a classroom and straight into another. Just like that. His eyes are still closed. His head is still downcast. This time a friend wraps his arm around him and together they navigate this world they cannot see. I rewind the image and replay it. It too, like the song, is beautiful. I peer into the classroom they sit in and see a whole room of kids like him. Kids with pale blue collared shirts and curved legs and unseeing eyes. I detected something. It was like a secret, unspoken language. The kids in the classroom did not have much but they had each other. They shared the same desks and the same braille boards and the same blindness. In that moment there was no giving, no receiving, just sharing. The joy of togetherness can be found in the most unsuspecting of places.