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  • Writer's pictureMadhavi Latha Prathigudupu

Mini Travelogue - Part 3

Accessibility is everyone's need; only time differs

Generally wherever I travel, the first thing I will do is to try and find an accessible accommodation there. But as this trip was exclusively to attend my family events, I planned to stay at my near and dear’s homes. As the trip started, I quickly found out that these houses were not much accessible for my present condition.

I visited them all before pandemic and could always manage with the facilities they have. But during pandemic, I could not swim (due to the closure of pools)and stayed home all the time, due to which my physical activity reduced by a lot and it impacted my muscle energy levels negatively. Now even after opening pool in our community I can still not swim (will write a separate post on those challenges later).

Due to this, I found it very difficult to manage in general like with stairs etc and to use rest rooms in particular. I suddenly became a complete dependent with regards to nature’s call. People around me were understanding and very supportive. Though I was hesitant to take their help, I could not avoid. I tried to reduce the number of times I used the restroom. Many times I felt like to cut short the trip just so I can USE RESTROOM AS MANY TIMES AS I WANT INDEPENDENTLY AT MY HOME. Even if I were to stay in a hotel, not all places we went would have accessible rooms.

When I went to meet my friends, most of them lived upstairs without an elevator in the building. I stayed back in the car and they would come down to meet me. But hospitality was really good and per to our customs - like offering food, gifting clothes etc (it's a custom in our area to gift new clothes when a woman friend/relative visits their house). Loads of love! They felt embarassed for not having accessibility. They informed me that they are also facing issues with stairs due to their or their elder family member's health issues.

I have been trying to bring attention to this point during my talks - we should not think that the accessibility is related only to Persons with Disabilities. Each and every one of us will become old one day.

During that time our mobility, vision/hearing/speech (any or all of them) may be affected. Today whatever efforts we put for more inclusion in the society will help us during our old age.

As you know my parents are non disabled people. They were very strong earlier. But due to age, today they are comfortable wherever I am comfortable in regards to accessibility.

I request everyone to have this point in mind while buying a home. We may not be as strong in future as we are today. Even with my health condition I am realising this.

While buying houses/flats we need to start demanding for accessibility considering our future requirements. That will bring a sea of change in the attitude of builders. Only supportive legal provisions may not be able to help fully. Demand from the public will bring the required change eventually .

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