Aug 4, 2012

Through his eyes: B for 'Buata'

It's all in the eyes of the beholder!!
If only I could see the world through his eyes, life would be more beautiful than it already is.

I met him a few years ago here in Delhi. We attended different universities back then and I used to admire his spirit from a distance. He was a Master's student in JMI and also an active member of the Church Youth. A light hearted young man, you'd often catch him laughing away or in a deep conversation with his friends. I used to look at him and wondered how he could juggle everything with his condition.

You see, Buata was born blind. ('Visually challenged' might be a politically correct term). He has been tested to be above 95% visually impaired where he retains less than 5% of full sight. But his condition never stopped him from living a full and abundant life.

Lalbuatsaiha (B for Buata)

He was born in a little village called Keifang, attended a blind school in up till matriculation, graduated from a regular college and came to the Capital to pursue a Master degree. Recently he completed an MPhil, making history to be the first blind Mizo ever to complete a Master degree and an MPhil. Wait that's still not enough, today he's still working towards a doctorate degree. And to add more feathers to his already colourful crown of glory, he's an executive member in the JNU Christian Fellowship, the Convenor of the JNU Visually Challenged Forum and also the Co-Convenor of the North-East Student's Forum in JNU. Man!!! Some people are just out of this world!

But enough praises about his social skills and his academic accomplishments, one thing which makes Buata stands out from the rest of the world is not his diplomatic social skills or his pile of degrees, it's his attitude towards life and himself. I have never met a person (physically challenged or not) who doesn't have self-pity but Buata is one of the few people I know who doesn't dwell on one. Have you ever noticed that with some people you tend to 'not' talk about certain stuffs because you don't want to hurt them or end up in an awkward situation? Well, Buata has a whole new approach to those situations.

It was only a few months after he moved to our campus when I was out at a dhaba for a late night tea. I noticed Buata sitting alone in one of the benches when I approached him and said 'Hi'. His answer totally threw me off balance. He turned around to the direction of my voice, smiled and replied,

 " E... Zuali, Lo thu ve rawh. Zanin chu i van nalh em em ve" 
(Zuali, come and sit. You look very good tonight!)

I stopped in my tracks not knowing how to respond when he continued...  

"Tunlai chu i chhelo hrim hrim, i hmaibawl te hi a zia tawp, i no sur bawk sia"
(You look good these days, your pimples are showing mercy and you look positively glowing)

And then it hit me that it's one of his ways of breaking ice!! I laughed so hard that night. 

Somedays, he'll tell me that I gained weight when I'm in my lightest and just last night, he told me I've lost so much weight (I'm in my heaviest) compared to last year!! And somehow he added "Nikum kha chuan i hnungzang atangin i keh mai dawn amaw tih tur alawm". And we laughed and laughed. C'mon, it's a blind guy saying all that!!!! The irony of it all!

Once I met Buata walking alone at a busstop on my way back from the library, it was an hour past midnight. I called out to him and asked him where he's going. He waved his walking stick at me and hollered "Nula  hmeltha deuh ka rim dawn" and walked back into the dark!!

He's quite a venturer. A month after he moved into campus, he knew his way around every dhaba, every school, the library and yes even rides the bus to get to different hostels in campus. On nights when there are some social callings to attend to, we'd pick him up from the busstop nearby his hostel and we'd drop him there on the way back. On some nights when, we'd meet up for dinner, he'd be the first one to pick up the guitar and the whole gang would go screaming, singing and dancing to a familiar chorus of "Pari Zun" or "Tu zunzam nge?". He's way too independent that sometimes I'd totally forget about his condition.

At our picnic last year where he decided he will be the judge of the 'mixed wheelbarrow race' !

But there's one incident that I witnessed which I will always use to pull his leg...

A couple of years ago, I saw Buata at North East Night celebrations, being totally dependent and helpless during the function and  the dinner afterwards. He needs to be ushered, led by the hand and practically fed (oooOooooh!) and he couldn't take a step by himself. One thing I also noticed was that a very pretty, soft spoken Naga girl was hovering around him, running to his every whim! 

After that we'd tease him mercilessly, saying he knows who has the softest hands or who smells the nicest among all the Naga and Mizo girls in campus! He'd laugh along. But then again, his defenseless laughters are often louder and more boisterous!!

And with questions about the significant other, he's someone who, ironically, often gives hope to the guys here in campus. He'd say that he just needs to find one girl who loves him, not seven. If he had to find seven, he told me once, then he might find it a bit challenging. Well, he wouldn't tell me if there is someone. But  last month, he asked me which market in Delhi has the best and most comfortable salwar kameez and last night, while he was hesitantly posing for a picture with me (he didn't like his new haircut), he was on call with a female! Heeee!! 

Buata, the player: One girl next to him, another on the line!!!

It's people like Buata who made me believe in the power of the human spirit. It's people like him who makes life beautiful. It's people like him who struggled with hardships and somehow takes it as an easy stride, who reminds me about the beauty in life! And it's people like him who found tiny specks of sunlight in a dark dark cave, who makes me want to find beauty in everything. And most importantly, it's people like him who makes the most of what he's given and who doesn't blame God for the hardships in life but rather find blessings in everything. I'm glad I have met Buata in my life and I'm proud to call him a friend and an inspiration.

If someone like Buata, who hasn't seen the beauty of sunrise and sunset, the greenery of the forests during monsoon or a white lily blooming in the wilderness can have such a no-nonsense, self-pity-free, bright and positive outlook towards life, tell me who cannot??

At JNU Miho Kut 2011: Packing up from the park to continue with  evening programme after dinner. His favourite line that day "Lersia kawmchar zu aia thlum zawk ka rawn phawrh ang".

It's all in the eyes of the beholder. 

Sometimes, those eyes maybe blind, but as long as the person refused to be blind, there's beauty in the world and life is lived abundantly! 

His acceptance speech on recieving an Honorary Award from DMZP after he submitted his MPhil Dissertation.

So here's to Buata, his kickass attitude and a full life which will be abundantly lived!