People with disabilities often lead lives that are congregated and segregated. Relegated to the margins of society, they are locked up in spaces that sometimes do not even see what most of us take for granted.
Madhav is one such person. A citizen of Nepal, he came to India with his two brothers in search of work with the hope that he will earn some money and take it back to his family. However, life took a different trajectory for him.
One day at his workplace, Madhav met with an accident. He ended up in a government hospital in Dehradun where the doctors decided that he needed mental health support, and he was transferred to the state mental health institute. For the next two and a half years, he was unable to contact his family and was confined within the four walls of the hospital.
And then one day someone who was interested in helping him locate and return to his family came to talk to him. The conversation was held through a hole in the wall in the place where Madhav was locked up. Someone not only listened to him, but also heard what he was trying to say, but could not.
The next time a member of the team came to talk to him, he was able to go to a room where the team sat to talk to him. But as Madhav entered the room, he stopped and stared at the window for a long time. The road across the window held his attention. And he said, “This is the first time in the last two years that I’m seeing the road and vehicles.” Filled with awe and excitement, the flood gates opened. He shared his story.
Now the team is working hard, is already in touch with his family to help him take that road that leads to his home. Someday soon, Madhav will be on that road, heading home. All because somebody heard and understood the pain in his heart at being locked away, segregated, and not able to do things that most of us take for granted.