16 June 2015


Posted by Vinoth Subramanian | Tuesday, June 16, 2015 Categories: , , , ,

Day before yesterday, National federation of blind (NFB) conducted the car rally accompanied by Madras motors sports club (MMSC). More than 90 visually challenged participated. They were called navigators. Apart from them, many other workers participated. I went for the first time. Mohan raj called me. He already registered my name. He took Suganya also with him.

She is my primary school classmate. I happened to meet her brother often but not her. We met one year ago which was on the day of Mohanraj’s wedding. She recently cleared the NET exam and got a private college to start her work. The voice of my heart feels happy to congratulate her personally and would like to show gratitude to the college for trusting visually challenged people.

We reached the Olympia tech park where the event was conducted. Unfortunately the rally was delayed and began in the afternoon. The building was filled with bevy of volunteers. We were offered breakfast lunch and evening snacks. After the medical checkup, we were called inside the auditorium for some important instructions about the game.

Each car will be given numbers. Each would have members. The visually challenged is called navigator. A Braille map will be given to the navigators. they will read the script and one of the members has to take down. After that, the written scripts will be given in the front who is sitting with the driver. That person will be taking care of timings, Kilometers and marshals. The undisclosed marshals will be standing left side of the road. Every car has to register the timing with every marshal.  The script will be followed by the driver. Missing marshals, missing routes, meeting marshal on the right side of the road, going over speed, early reaching to any particular marshal, deliberate halts before reaching marshals for saving timings, taking reverse after crossing marshals,  will end in penalty points. Missing 3 will lead to disqualification. The meter would start from 0.00. The timing will be noted from the starting point. Each and every violation will lead to penalty points. Those who get lesser penalty will be declared as winners in each category. There are totally 7 categories namely, lady circle, experts, all ladies, general, corporate, novice and round-table. The best three cars with less penalty points will be given prizes in each category.

Mine was car number 24. I was asked to billow up for my team members to identify me. Two of them identified me. They took me to the lunch and introduced themselves amidst. One was Bhupesh and the other one was Christopher. Car number 24, navigator is Vinoth and driver is Ashwin Paul. Ashwin sir was yet to reach us. I finished my lunch. Finally, He arrived. We introduced ourselves and conversed for a while. I said none of my team mate should think of winning. We got the car and started around 3:00. The Braille map was offered to me. Christopher sir was with me behind and Bhupesh sir was with Ashwin sir in the front. 5…4…3…2…1…0… go. We moved. I was dictating Christopher sir as fast as possible. Bhupesh sir was receiving the scripts from Christopher sir. There was a minute confusion in the beginning. We missed the route but managed to get it back. I also struggled in the beginning but soon got in to the track. I had to be careful for only that Braille script will be followed throughout the rally. I understood my responsibility. I wanted to finish as soon as possible for keeping everything calm. The experienced Christopher sir was very quick in his writing. In fact quicker than me! The whole script was prepared when we were in the fifteenth kilometer. We thought we missed a marshal but fortunately we didn’t. Bhupesh sir had been calculating everything as per the script. He was also noticing the presence of marshals on the road. Ashwin sir and I were new to the rally but they weren’t. Both Bhupesh and Christopher sir are mariners and Ashwin sir is running a business. We were getting penalty points for being slower. Going fast will lead to more penalty points going slow isn’t. The seventh marshal asked about the navigator. They opened the window. He talked to me by tapping my shoulder. I felt very happy.
“Don’t worry you will make it, he will guide you, he got that light.” He told them we proceed. The word gave me some confidence. Sometimes, everyone believes me except me. Nonetheless, we reached our destiny on time. Christopher sir took me to have snacks and brought me my things from the car.

There is a possibility of prize for us said the friends of my team mates. We registered in novice category. The prizes were announced in novice category and ours was not there. I neither felt happy nor felt sad. Suganya got second prize in that category. I felt happy. All of a sudden Bhupesh sir came and said we have got third prize. I was startled and asked him how. We were given in round-table category he said. Let’s run when they call out our names he said. I couldn’t believe actually. I didn’t expect that. They called us. We went and received our prizes. I asked about Ashwin sir but he went out for he had another commitment. We came down. They placed the shield on my lap and took a snap. It was already 7:20. Bhupesh sir came and told that he would leave me where I want to go. There was an announcement.
It’s already time. If possible, the drivers are requested to take your navigators with you and leave them on the way.
But Bhupesh sir was even earlier. My friends want to go to Tondiarpet I said. He said he is also going to the same place for his father-in-law’s house is there. He thought of going by bike and he didn’t bring the car from home. He said he would leave the bike at home and bring his car. He called his father. His father didn’t agree. On the other hand, he came from home by car, left it with us, and took the bike. Bhupesh sir took us in the car. we were totally five. Central railway station came. He took me to the station, bought me the ticket and left me inside the train. Again from central, he traveled to Tondiarpet and left all of my friends at their homes. He called me when I got down from the train in Veppamppatu (my station) and told that he left everyone in their places.

I was chewing the whole day in my memory. When we reached the venue people took us inside. After registering, a girl came and fixed me the badge. Then, other lass took me to the dining room for breakfast. A worker came and took me to wash my hand. After sometime, a boy fetched us water. One ma’am took us for the medical checkup. Then, a girl took me further. She left. Then, another young woman was with me till I meet the doctor. After meeting the doctor, a small boy took me to the hall where I was sitting. Then, some guys and girls took us to the auditorium. Then, my team took care of till evening. In the evening, before the valedictory, somebody said I’d sing. Again a young lady took me to the stage. Then two lasses came and took me down. Finally, Bhupesh sir spent his valuable time and left us in our places.
It was not about the rally, it was not about prizes but about the volunteers who helped us throughout the day. I didn’t know any of them. I didn’t meet them any of them. But, somebody from somewhere is spending their precious time for our happiness and comfort.
Where do they come from?


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