Tuesday, January 2

Blind leaders

Recently we took part in the Ucal Rally for the Blind. It was truly an 'eye opener' for me.

Every time we help the blind cross the road, they put their 'faith' in us ... I think it was payback time and this rally was designed to ask us to put our blind faith in their 'navigational skills' ... using a braille navigation chart.

The Ucal Rally for the Blind was held on 28 January, 2007, organised by MMSC with the support of the National Association of the Blind. There were 3 people in each car, the driver, the blind navigator, the time keeper and sometimes, one more person who played the role of the writer. The tulip was given in brail which a sighted person could not read. So the blind navigator read out the instructions on the speed, directions, etc which guided the car to a finish.

A very interesting rally which covered about 70 kms in Chennai city and helped several blind people 'see' how we 'sighted' people react when we get lost or clueless as to where we are going. It was their day and we did our small bit to make it happen.

Epilogue: I read somewhere that the main reason most people get 'sick' while traveling is that the mind gets confused by the message (on it's current position) from the eyes and the 'balance' from the inner ear... But that should not be a problem for the blind.. right... but we disproved the theory... my blind navigator was throwing up all the time.... and still reading the braille chart!

I won the first place in the Novice category along with my navigator Sundaramoorthy. Prabha, who has been my navigator for numerous rallies was navigating me based on Sundaramoorthy's 'reading' and Hareesh (from the Swift Club) was the scribe.

Update: 2008 we were judged 2nd in regulars and in 2009 were 4th in experts.

For the last 10 years at least the numebr of blind persons was always more than the number of cars.... We concentrated our efforts in 2009 on gettign the maximum number of participants for the rally and we were overjoyed when we found that each and every blind person who came to participate got a car...

Thanks are in order to my good friend Enidhi for posting on the blog, Airtel for sending out 500,000 SMS in Chennai (Sunil Mittal approved the idea in 10 minutes flat) and ultimately 22 of my friends who took part int he rally because they believed in me... they ended up having great fun in the bargain!

In 2008 we took a time-lapse video of our participation. Seen in the video are... Me onthe left of screen (of course), Prabha on the right and our navigator Sundaramurty inthe back seat! Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of Aneesh and his cousin who helped with the calculations!


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