Living Life with Glaucoma: Divya Sharma, Being a visually challenged girl, faced different challenges at every stage of her life. Lets read the story of Divya Sharma and motivate others living life with Glaucoma.
Living Life with Glaucoma
Living Life with Glaucoma – Divya Sharma; Being a visually challenged girl, I faced different challenges at every stage of my life. Initially, up to class 8th, I went to a main-stream school with my twin sister. My mother is a senior teacher in that school. So, they permitted me to sit in class room and passed me in every class on the basis of oral test of some chapters. When I was in eighth class, they told me to leave the school because they couldn’t allow a visually challenged person to study any further in their school.
After that, I left the school and pursued my further studies at home. For about two years, I didn’t study much. Here I want to mention that I belong to a small city Naya Nangal in Punjab where there are no special schools or institution for visually challenged persons. This was the time when I spent whole days at home. I didn’t want to waste my time. So, I started doing experiments on computer. My brother and father again and again told me to stay away from computer because they were afraid that I would damage the desktop machine. But I didn’t pay much heed to what they said and constantly made efforts to learn computer. In those times, I used magnifier and large font to operate the computer. Gradually, I learnt basic computer operations myself. Simultaneously, I was working on my English skills. Finally, in the year 2008, I appeared in class 10th examination (PSEB) as a private student and scored 80% marks. Further in 2010, I passed class 12th with 76% marks. So far, I had done my studies with the help of my parents. They wrote study notes for me in large font with sketch pens on huge art files.
Now this was the time when I came to know about screen readers through an article published in a magazine. I had gone to Delhi for my regular eye check up where I met a person who told me about JAWS. After returning from Delhi, I installed software JAWS (screen reader) in my computer. I explored it and taught myself the commands and all that was needed to run the computer with screen reader. Gradually, I became an expert at it and life became much easier with the help of technology. I did my graduation studies with the help of screen reader software. The HP University was mainly Hindi medium based; there were hardly any English medium books available for students. So, my parents dictated me books of different subjects and I typed whole books in English on my computer in order to prepare study material for myself. I typed it and studied it with the help of JAWS screen reader. This thing was repeated throughout my graduation. It took long hours to write books on computer. I scored 69% marks in my graduation. It is to be noted that I appeared in all examinations with the help of a writer.
This struggle made me more familiar with laptop. I started surfing internet and joined networking sites with the help of screen reader. Soon, I started looking for visually challenged persons on internet and one day, I just wrote in search box of networking site ‘Visually challenged person’. As a result, I met a person who had mentioned about her vision impairment in her brief profile description. We became friends. That was the day and today is the day when I have more than 300 visually challenged friends. I am an active user of Skype, Facebook and an active Blogger too. I am pursuing my Masters in English and presently in second semester. Now instead of typing books and notes, I scan all my English books and study it with screen reader.
Apart from studies, I am a freelance writer and a RJ in online radio station run by VI people. I have got my poems and articles published in different magazines like ‘Cross the Hurdle’ etc. I recently won ‘The Best Letter of the Week Award’ from Hindustan Times. There is a long list of my hobbies as well. I like cooking, am a music lover, sing, play harmonium, especially guitar (Performed in our city’s officers club on different occasions), possess diploma in music, both vocal and instrumental and am a chess player. Here I want to mention that I was gifted with the skill of Art. I used to do painting when I was small and won prizes and gifts from ‘Khushi Ki Duniya’ program, POGO and Cartoon Network channel. My paintings were shown on TV art show. They especially mentioned that the paintings were made by a visually challenged person. Unfortunately, I had to stop doing painting because of my vision impairment. I used to look at the page so closely that my nose touched the sheet. Due to huge strain and eye pain, I was forced to leave painting. I can read one or two words from a very close look but that leaves me with severe eye pain, giddiness and strains my remaining 25% vision.
Now with the assistance of technology, I am 99% independent in studies and computer operations. The only thing I have to work on is my mobility. I am a confident girl and wear smart spectacles and due to this one cannot judge that I am a visually challenged girl. I feel difficulty in going alone, recognizing people standing near me but still I am much better than what I used to be years ago. I am Living Life with Glaucoma.