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Posted at: Dec 3, 2017, 12:36 AM; last updated: Dec 3, 2017, 11:20 AM (IST)DECEMBER 3 DAY OF THE DISABLED

Vision refined: The world of Prince & Princey

Geetanjali Gayatri in Chandigarh
Visual impairment leads the two to turn to the many open windows adorning their lives. That, in a way, tests our ability to see them as one among us
Vision refined: The world  of Prince & Princey
The world of which we know so much yet so little isn’t as full: our vision bounces off objects and makes own images; their shapes, sharpness dissolving into layers of thoughts. It is here they appear: Prince and Princey. In their togetherness lies their ability to test the way we look at them — their being visually impaired is a challenge that they have decided to pose before us. 

Prince Wadhwa (25) is from Abohar, Punjab, and was born visually impaired. He came to Chandigarh’s school for the blind in search of better education. Princey is his age and is from Yamunanagar’s Jagadhari. She lost her vision in a surgery conducted to correct the defect when she was in her teens. She reluctantly came to Chandigarh and joined the school for the blind in Sector 26, much against her wishes.

“We knew a bit about each other in school, but had not interacted because the school doesn’t encourage boys and girls to mix up much,” says Princey. The two went their ways, trying to get admission in city colleges for graduation. They come together in the Department of Hindi, Panjab University, where they are doing their second year of post-graduation.

Soon they realized the many coincidences. “To begin with, our similar-sounding names generated a lot of interest. Though my name was Sumiti, my father loved to call me ‘Princey’ and wrote it as my name in the matriculation exam. I accepted it eventually,” she says. “Both our fathers are small-time shopkeepers, both our younger siblings suffer disability and both of us are very fond of literature.”

Both are very driven to achieve the goals they have set for themselves: Prince wants to be a teacher while she wants to join a bank. In college, their attendance is full for which they were recently honoured by their department.

“Maths was my favorite subject even in school. I have received many prizes for excelling in studies. I was to be an engineer. When I lost my vision, everything came crashing down — I couldn’t pursue maths anymore,” recalls Princey.

Despite being good in music, she opted for Hindi. “I don’t want to do the expected. It is presumed if you are blind, you should take music as a subject. After topping in the first year of my graduation, I dropped vocal music. I refused to take a rickshaw to my department: I refuse to be less than any ‘normal’ child and don’t want to be a burden,” says Princey.

“We come from ordinary families. Our parents have seen very tough times. We want to study well, get jobs and earn well. Our parents have supported us. It is our time to give back,” says Prince.

They listen to recordings of their favourite novels or spend time with other friends over the weekend. Some stray cases of insensitivity show up every now and then, but they choose to look beyond. “Our friends are always around. We can’t wish away the disability, but we can learn to live happily with it,” both say.

Here’s wishing them well.

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