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Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Search for Independence

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Hey Everyone!!

This has been one of the most difficult newsletters for me to write.

Since December 1st, I have been living independently in my brand new apartment, for the first time in my life.

I was brought up in a traditional Pakistani culture where my mother and my five sisters did all the cleaning, cooking, dishes, laundry and other housework for the men. These tasks would be difficult for me to learn due to my lack of sight. (For example, I cannot notice where/when dust gathers and I can easily get accidentally burnt/cut in the kitchen.) So over the years, I took advantage of my family's lifestyle, until I moved out last December.

Here are some fun moments I had in December:

I memorize where I put everything (since I can't easily look for anything). In a new apartment, the first month is always the trickiest. I woke up one morning and started brushing my teeth. It tasted disgusting! I realized it was actually my shaving cream bottle instead of my same-shaped toothpaste tube that I had picked up. I washed my mouth profusely. Yuck!

To read, I have to hold things right against my face. On many packages, the print is super-fine, and I really have to squint like crazy to figure out what is printed. Reading the instructions to my laundry detergent, a few pellets inadvertently get rubbed into my eyes. Then I realized what the package said: "DANGER: Do not get close to eyes, and wash thoroughly for 10 minutes if in contact." I actually started laughing hysterically, and then went to wash out my eyes.

A spill was bound to happen right? Well prepared with the latest paper technologies, I did a thorough cleaning. Five minutes later I realized that I must have missed a spot, because my feet were getting all wet. Now they need paper towel technology with cameras so that it can follow the mess for me.

This newsletter was difficult for me to write because I couldn't see what I was learning from these experiences -- What could I talk about where I could share something meaningful?

This transition has been very challenging for me. I have moments of deep loneliness, of despair, and triggers to my history of depression and life adversities.

As difficult as my journey is right now, I have absolutely no regrets. I know that this is the life I was meant to live, and that this is exactly where I am supposed to be in my life right now.

As difficult as my journey is for me,
It is the right journey for me.

As difficult as your journey is for you,
It is the right journey for you.

Let's love the world together...

[)anish /|hmed, blind visionary

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