Wednesday, April 08, 2009

the woman with the bag

Her name is Ruzimah.. When I saw her step into the commuter, I quickly emptied my seat for her. Those days when I was younger (now, still young I am (",)), such a reaction was synonymous of myself especially when gorgeous chicks came by. Today, it ain't any curvaceous chick, though. Ruzimah was a blind woman of her early 50s, I guess. She in her traditional worn-out baju kurung looked much older. In her right hand was her walking stick.

What struck my eyes, and then my worryingly increasingly mean heart, was the bag in her left hand. Supported on her lap, 2 thick books which looked more like a set of 2 encyclopedia volumes fitted in the bag just nice. My instinct was telling they must be Braille books. Braille books they were. With the most polite and best-mannered way possible, I broke the ice with her by asking where she came from and was heading to. She was on her way back home from the National Library. (While I'm writing this blog, I pressed my lachrymal gland so I'd not shed tears).

I asked her again, "Akak selalu pergi library tu? Pergi sorang je ke?"
She answered, "Dah biasa, dah. Boleh pinjam buku kat situ."
"Siapa baca?"
"Siapa-siapa pun boleh baca."

For a few moments, I closed my eyes and tried to imagine being a blind man. I was not ready for that.

Then, I felt so small and guilty; small because one of Allah the Almighty's creations was teaching me to treasure my healthy eyes, and guilty to myself for not optimizing my healthy eyes to read regularly whilst a blind woman could frequent the National Library on her own just to borrow some books. And this fragile woman travelled from Kajang to the National Library to borrow Braille books not available in Kajang or somewhere nearer.

I was looking at my watch, trying to figure out if I could head straight back to Kajang to avail myself with more time talking to her. But, I already bought a ticket to somewhere else, therefore, I might not be allowed to pass through the gate at the Kajang station. When I was reaching the station where I was supposed to alight the train, I wished her all the best, left her my card and a few bucks, and told her to contact me using the details on the card should she need any help.

So touched by this encounter, I know it will live very very long in my memory as indelible as it may be.

1 comment:

Arif Pahang said...

It's touched my heart. Ordinary disabled people but stories behind them would be nice to explore.