For the last 29 years, answering nature’s call has been one of my biggest struggles – because finding an “accessible toilet” in our country is like finding a needle in a haystack. When I took up my first job at a domestic call centre, I knew it had no lift, was on the first floor and came with toilets not designed for a wheelchair user like me. But I had no choice as I really needed to work. To help navigate my first hurdle – the stairs – I would reach office 30 minutes early, and my friends at work would physically carry me up the stairs, wheelchair and all (thank God for good friends). But this was the easy part.
It was the visit to the washroom, each day, that was painstaking, backbreaking. The door was too narrow for my wheelchair. So, at the entrance, I would shift into a regular chair and lock the door behind me. With all my might, I would hop along with my chair, towards the toilet seat. I would then shift myself onto the pot and do my business, then shift back to the chair and hop again with all my might towards the entrance. I would then slip into my wheelchair and hurry back to my workstation. This routine continued for two years, and even though it began taking a toll on my spine, I continued with it, as my career and livelihood, depended on it. Read more