Hope, perseverance and ambition drives deaf-mute designer

March 21st, 2009 - 3:18 pm ICT by IANS  

By Ruchika Kher
New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) Singled out and discriminated against for being deaf and mute, Nidhi Prakash Kaul learnt early in life that hard work and perseverance was what was required to prove everyone wrong. Kaul is today an accessory designer, with watch brands like Fastrack and Timex in his kitty.

“There have been times in life when I thought people - my family, peers and others, just could not understand me, at times, also being cruel to me. However, I learned early in life to deal with all that,” Kaul told IANS in an email interview.

“For a hearing and speech impaired person, achieving goals is all the more difficult. And one has to depend upon extraordinary hard work, perseverance, sincerity, honesty and dedication,” Kaul said.

For the 31-year-old, who has done a course in accessory designing from the National Institute of Fashion Designing (NIFT), in New Delhi, isolation started early in life.

“At school, there were games I was excluded from. It was very difficult for me to understand it when I was small. And when I was old enough to understand, I used to cry out of sheer helplessness. However, I learned to deal with that as well,” said Kaul.

“Then at my institute, I felt that at many junctures I was being singled out. And that normal day-to-day mistakes in my work were being put on display to prove that I could not be normal. At work too, communication was an issue.”

Kaul will appear on the TV show “Zindagi Live” to be aired on IBN 7 Sunday at 8 p.m.

Kaul, who also has a deaf and mute sister, says that life teaches and offers new means and ways to deal with things.

“At my home, I have electric bulbs in every room that light up when the doorbell rings. This helps me and my sister to know someone’s at the door. Similarly, we have mobile phones that are permanently on vibration and flashing modes.

“To face challenges, people like us have to train our other senses to take over the work. In our case, it is the sense of sight and touch that makes up for the lack of hearing,” explained Kaul, who lost his father at a very young age.

After working with Titan and Timex, Kaul wants to open his own design studio.

“I have taken a particular liking to the sports goods industry. Designing new shapes and appearances for sports goods is challenging and I like that,” said Kaul.

A Kashmiri, who has been living in Delhi for over 25 years, Kaul has a huge friends circle that includes many “normal” people as well.

However, he would like to bring to notice the problems that people like him go through.

“I wish there were more people who knew sign language in the government, and the public and private sectors. The government should pass some resolutions or guidelines on this matter,” said the designer.

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