More than meets the eye
- After leaving the audience at the ‘Ma Nepali, Hamro Nepal’ event utterly moved with her speech, Sristi KC, founder of Blind Rocks, shares how losing her sight gave her a vision in life.
Feb 20, 2015-
Are you comfortable in telling us how you lost your sight?
I was not born blind. I got an eye allergy and when I went to the doctors, they gave me the wrong medicine because of which I developed glaucoma in my eyes. By the age of 16, I was completely blind.
How bad was the situation?
In the initial phase, losing my sight was not easy. I was completely shocked. It took me a while to accept that I was blind—I was in denial. My family took me to the hospital plenty of times and that kept my hopes up. But it was actually the questions that the society raised that made me uncomfortable: like I would’t have a career now, I wouldn’t be able to work and that my life was completely over. It made me extremely insecure and I started doubting myself and wondered if what people were saying were actually true. But I started feeling that my sight wasn’t that important anyway; I decided to never let my blindness be an excuse.
What was one of the biggest challenges you faced after you lost your sight?
Continuing on with my education was the biggest challenge of all. Private colleges refused to give me a place in their institution. So, when I finally joined Padma Kanya in Dilli Bazaar, I knew that I had to give it all that I had. I wanted to prove everyone wrong and show them that being blind does not mean I’m stupid. I became the college-topper in my intermediate level—I topped the TU Board. I also managed to get the top spot in my bachelors; in fact, I topped all of Nepal in Nepali Literature and won a gold medal, which was presented to me by the then Prime Minister.
We heard you’re quite the twinkle toe. When did you decide you wanted learn and teach dancing?
As a kid, whenever I would hear a song I would immediately get up and start dancing (laughs). I wanted to continue dancing even after I lost my sight, but no dance institutions wanted me to join. Dance has no hard and fast rules that demand it to be done in a certain way and so I used that to my advantage. Dance is all about your creativity and imagination. My first job was actually of a dance teacher. I’d teach a step and ask students to check up on each other. Soon enough, I thought why not teach blind kids too?
What is your vision behind starting Blind Rocks?
Blind Rocks is all about rocking being blind—I wanted my shocking life to be transferred into a rocking life. I was happy with my life and so I thought, why not bring happiness into other visually impaired people’s lives? Blind Rocks hosts multiple workshops and trainings like dancing, interpersonal skills, public speaking skills, disability campaigns, and beauty and fashion workshops. We also go for rafting, paragliding, and rock climbing expeditions. The pivotal purpose of Blind Rocks is to change the way people and the media portray people with disabilities as weak, and helpless characters.
So what is it that you’ve learnt through this journey of yours?
I always say that to be blind is like being a diamond; whenever people see a diamond, it instantly catches their eye and they get attracted to it. It’s the same with blind people, people are so curious about us. But just like how all people cannot afford a diamond, not everyone can accept disabled people. That’s not our problem—it’s theirs.
What’s next for Sristi K.C?
I want to further develop Blind Rocks. I also want to start an international Arts school, mainly for blind and disabled people.
Journeying through highs and lows
Born a February child
Joins Occidental School
Sristi’s first school. She studied here until grade six.
Joins Siddhartha Vidyapeeth School
Sristi starts teaching dancing to the students here.
Problems with vision develop
Sristi gets her first eye allergy, to which the doctors prescribe wrong medication— she is diagonaosed with colour blindness at first. She also complains of blurred vision.
Completes her SLC
Despite her visual shortcomings, Sristi successfully completes her SLC from Siddhartha Vidhyapeeth School.
Loses her sight at the age of 16
After many unsuccessful visits to the hospital, Sristi goes completely blind at the age of 16.
Aces her Intermediate level
Sristi was unable to get an admission anywhere due to her blindness. Padma Kanya Multiple Campus was the only institution that accepted her, where she topped during her final board exams.
Top scores in Bachelor level
Sristi continued studying in Dilli Bazar Padma Kanya Multiple Campus where she got her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology. She also aced in Nepali Literature with the highest score in the country.
Becomes a Social Visionary
She went to Kerala to attend a course to become a social visionary and started developing activities for her organisation—Blind Rocks.
Officially registers Blind Rocks
After working continuously on her project for two years, Sristi finally manages to register Blind Rocks as an organisation.
Published: 26-02-2015 14:48