Questions a family with a challenged member faces

My previous post about how being on a wheelchair in India is a challenge was just a glimpse into many more stressful and often ugly situations that a differently able person faces. While we, the challenged, face many an embarrassing series of questions, our families are not spared from very stupid and totally inappropriate questions from people around them. I will now list out a few questions that my wife and my son face on a daily basis. I am sorting this list on frequency. The most asked questions on top the least asked in the bottom.  Get ready to be shocked! This really happens and happens  daily.

Image Credit: MorgueFile


Questions my wife faces

  1. How do you guys do “it” ? – this is by far the most asked question that my wife faces. Just about anyone who is close enough to her to be on talking terms pops this one out. Their deep seated interest in our love life sometimes makes us feel like we are in a porn movie with only sound. Thank God they don’t have the visuals sorted out yet! Can you imagine a anyone having the gall to ask this to someone else who is married? Well there, this one is the winner! At first place is our nations curiosity to know how we do it!  Her Reply: “We do it and would love to show you, when can you guys come over for a viewing?” That generally silences them in a second.
  2. Don’t you feel like life dealt you a raw deal? I mean, look at us! – this one full of pity and “support” for my wife for having made the supreme sacrifice in life by marrying me is a close second by just a few points. Everyone is upset that while they have husbands who look like Arabian Stallions, she is stuck with me. I really love the people that say this, I do! Her Reply: “What happens if your hubby is in an accident and loses mobility? You leave him for another stallion?” And that has its effect, almost immediately!
  3. How can this guy protect you? He can hardly stand up! – this one is about my lack of physical prowess in a fight or flight scenario and how that leaves my wife vulnerable. The old image of the husband being the military ruler who protects the family like a regiment when they go out is the place from where this question comes. Her Reply: “It’s a partnership and the protecting physically part is my portfolio and the emotional part is his. Has worked for 18 years now, what’s wrong with it?” This generally gets really funny glances and they move on
  4. Madam, I am here to help you in “any” way, want my number? – this one is any Tom, Dick and Harry who does anything from plumbing to delivering pizza to our place. I am sure I don’t have to explain this question any further. Her Response: “Yes, give me your number, I will need to complain to the police of innuendo and harassment” They all scurry after that! Like mice!

Questions my son faces

  1. Do you feel sad when you see your dad? – this comes from anyone who meets him and me together and they ask this right in front of me, I carefully stay out of the conversation, I don’t believe in overriding his right to respond. His Reply: “Why should I? He sends me to one of the best schools in the city. He teaches me so much and he is my best friend, we have so much fun. Will your son feel sad if you sprain your knee and rest for a while? My dad just rests longer”
  2. Why is your dad sitting all the time? –  this comes from his friends and mostly they are kids with no malice, just curious. His Reply: “He is so tall, if he stands up, you can’t see him!”
  3. Are you naughty when playing because your dad can’t run after you and catch you to punish you? – this one comes from parents in the apartment when they see him being naughty at play. They are trying to tell him that they will be strict with him if required. His Reply: “I am naughty because I am a kid and it’s ok to be, why are you asking these naughty questions? aren’t you afraid of your dad who can run?”

Note that these are just a few questions, I assure you that the full list very disturbing and invades into every possible aspect of our personal life! I am sharing these without dilution or comment. I leave it to you to try and understand that there are indeed two worlds – yours and ours. Inconveniently sharing the same country and planet I suppose. In a way, we are the children of a lesser god!

About Shakthi

I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.

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