Challenge Dynamism

Tedx

I was part of TedxBangalore that took place this Sunday at MLR Convention Center, Whitefield a property by Brigade Group.  When I reached the venue I saw good crowd of youngsters, college students, engineers, designers, social entrepreneurs and TedxBangalore volunteers as everyone busy chatting, making friends, networking and by far waiting for that days show to begin. The day was packed with some extraordinary people who were going to share their story/initiative of Innovation, Campaigns to Social impact to create a better fair world and for their community.

I was excited as well as I was there with bunch of friends who accompanied me from different cities; Nikita Jain flew from Delhi and Govind from Kochi to be part of the event. We waited outside the venue as the hall at ground level was elevated with a big step with no slope/ramp for my wheelchair to enter, so my friends go search of different entrance or a basement lift. They returned as no option, while Govind runs for finding volunteers for our support and after long he gets few volunteers who ask me to wait so they can look again for options to get me inside.

So we all kind of lose our coolness as the issue of damn accessibility keep coming back as a barrier in every damn freaking place. I was furious as I least expected this situation again and again, it really not a  rocket science to the avail accessibility feature in so called convention center where they host  board meetings, corporate events etc. and the property is fairly new.

While we were fuming, a volunteer comes to say they have a ramp and I could enter the hall, we all took a deep breath to run looking for the ramp and yes to the reality check it was a so called World class facility with architectural details which had a big step down at end of the ramp 😦 useless for a ramp to serve.

Therefore everyone still looks for ways to make the mission impossible to get me inside, few volunteers and my friends find solution to get some long wooden tables at basement to make a slope and I accelerated into the lift area. Next to the #unplanned #challenge volunteers had to deal with the auditorium full of steps, no flat base level  …so the solution was a wooden window panel with a flex banner that got me up.

To my surprise I reminded taut but was feeling very claustrophobic and the scene that makes me or any person in wheelchair look like we are broke, weak, or sometime stupid are the barriers we are made to encounter due lack of awareness of CPWD guidelines on  Standards for design of buildings for aged and disabled for an inclusive building.

The entire auditorium of people saw the unpleasant scene and I was not the normal category anymore but a girl in wheelchair, no one would think I’m a professional, a loving daughter, sister, a responsible taxpayer and indeed a single women who brood over not getting a man. 😦  So to remaining silent was getting myself into a shell of haterdness …and I was closed out for any conversations further with anyone I could have had potentially.

But since I was there to make a difference and to all the fantastic speakers whom I had a person conversation from Naresh Narasimhan to Adnane Addioui and Jon Mark Walls proves aspiring to be the change we want to see and being disruptive in finding universal solutions to a challenge.

I wanted to express my thoughts, ideas and views

  • TheUglyIndians; to the first speaker ‘ anonymous ‘ from the Ugly Indian the speech that got me listening, Here is something we could do while spot fixing any sidewalks, we can look at making it accessible for all pedestrians, cyclist and for people with disabilities. Slope parallel side of the sidewalk with universal guidance on degree will be a way to go. Making it not only clean place but accessible for everyone and prospect for future explores in wheelchair.
  • Zenfree: I would like to call for volunteers to support where we initiate, plan and implement program to look making every parks accessible in Bangalore? Please send your involvement & interest to @DeepaNarasimhan
  • To Brigade Group of MLR Convention center thought I did give you a face to face feedback the management wanted an email from me. So here for the actionsThe facility lacks basic accessibility features like: 1. signage, 2. The Z ramp to be fixed for its accessible use, entire facility has big steps to enter and elevation at different level which need permanent solution, 3. The auditorium to have minimum 3 to 4 accessible wheelchair parking space and can be replaced with regular seat when not used.  4. Restrooms entrance needs slope and accessible toilet for wheelchair user with wide door, with proper commode level and railing bars to be incorporated 5. Lifts needs to voice enabled and 6. Sensitizing the staff is very important.

Kudos to TedxBangalore Organizing Committee Sartaj Anand and team. …you all did put a wonderful show to spark our spirits. Cheers

Special love to my friends and ‘Sriram Sulia’ who cheered me up 🙂

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5 thoughts on “Challenge Dynamism

  1. AdnaneA says:

    it was lovely talking to you, even if it was quite brief. Keep on changing your world

  2. Helen Lear says:

    It’s horrendous that so many obstacles were put in the way of you getting in to the building, I can feel your pain! I hope you don’t let this issue drop.

  3. Sartaj Anand says:

    We will try our best to make sure our venues become more accessible so that this becomes a non-issue in the future. I am sorry that we had to put you through this…

    Also I would love to know what your thoughts were about the speakers, their subject matter and the overall curation because only then can we improve. Thanks for your support !

  4. Shahana says:

    Deepa, the accessibility issues are rampant across the country from a prestigious institution to the big builders…what is heart wrenching to observe is that these new buildings in order to comply with the standards of universal design put up steep ramps at a few visible places like entrance etc. and get away with the construction approvals while in reality the building remains inaccessible to even the common areas like the wash rooms, cafeteria, club house, the admin office and the recreational areas. I myself have been a witness to all these places and it includes the big names like the Brigade group and universities like VIT or IIMs. It does not take the magnanimous cost or effort to make a place accessible however it does create a huge dent on our self-esteem when we are not able to negotiate these places independently and are looked down upon as helpless and hapless fellows!!

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