Who’s afraid of a pothole?
A bad road is a good place to start talking about disability and sexuality
Around two o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, a group of college students—all girls—congregated in the covered courtyard of the Kumudben Dwarkadas Vora Industrial Home for Blind Women in Andheri, Mumbai, where 20 visually impaired residents of the hostel and of Snehankit Helpline, a public charitable trust that works for blind persons, were waiting for them. To introduce members of each group to the other, they formed two circles and spoke to each other, asking one another about their favourite spots in the city, their favourite actors and their hobbies. And then, they were paired into groups of two, and given a map to follow. A sighted girl with a blind woman, each pair walked through the narrow roads around the Industrial Home, with vehicles parked on either side of the road, broken footpaths, garbage and drains that were covered with grills. When they returned from their walk, they were asked questions like, ‘Did you feel safe during any part of the route?’ ‘Did you experience any curious glances, rude staring or comments?’ ‘Were there any obstacles on the route?’ ‘How accessible was the route for both of you? What changes would you want implemented to make it more accessible?’