It all started with a bedtime legend. This was the first time you got acquainted to a mysterious, short statured human while you were you were told Aesop’s fables at your bedtimes. By the time you could have realized that dwarfs are real, that dwarfs are the only creatures that you read about, reality surfaced: you, amongst every other mythical creature, that you came across, saw a dwarf in real life. As you matured and started to gain sense of things, the image was pummeled further by some people with a short stature, who would appear in circuses, dancing to the tunes of their ‘master’, or perhaps those in TV commercials whereby a ‘chotu’ would appear to the scene to submit to his supervisors’ derogatory call at a mechanic’s shop, or a dhaaba.
Your mind was corrupted to an extent that it became an emblem for advertisers to showcase myopic mothers of what their children could possibly be if they didn’t nurture their children with a specific diet plan, or were subject to a superficial “force”. If that wasn’t enough, there was enough content on the media to plague the minds of our people with ‘choti dunya’, when they saw someone who suffered from achondroplasia or was a subject of a small stature.
The worse part was that dwarfs were (officially or openly) never classified as disabled. For some, they were deemed to be classified as a “handicapped” when they wish to undermine them, or in case, when they plan to flush your hopes and segregate you from the “normal” world.
For once, while trying to erratically balance yourself on the shoreline of an alien, unchartered territory, it suddenly dawns upon you that life has suddenly thrown you a curveball.
But in a world of masks, misrepresentations, subtle and vast distortions, truth is rarely glimpsed. In my case, as reality surfaced, the world saw a more altruistic, a realistic version of dwarfs in the television series, Game of Thrones, whereby Peter Dinklage plays the role of Tyrion Lannister. It was at this point in time I realized one thing: we, the “normal” people, or those with a rather orthodox stature – we are all the same. This clash of identities with which we demarcate our boundaries, we are all the same, separated by a thinnest filament of who we are.
The problem is simple, and perhaps never as complex as we assume them to be. The only difference being that the world in which we presume ourselves to be, or perhaps, the way our minds are trained to be, is apparently more Utopian. We hopelessly hope that the world we live in should have been more homogenous than it actually is.
While I accept that everyone faces obstacles in their lives, I also believe that the success of those ventures depends on the foundation on which one walks and especially on how firm and supportive that foundation is. Once we accept people for who they are, and how their uniqueness differentiates them from others, things would perhaps become more aligned with how our minds have always been trained.
As for me, dwarfism is a funny thing. It can hit back when you don’t really expect it to be coming. Karma or God’s will, perhaps, I would never know. It’s like you realize that the fairy tale you always dreamt of was slightly different from what you expected. It may not really be the castle, but a muddy mansion that you just see through the rough waters and you realize that it was never a happy ever after.
But as I ponder, I realize that the challenges I have faced have allowed me to gain a strong foothold within a situation that was never constant. I would insist on bracing your life as it is, and treat everyone the way you expect to be treated. For once in a while, or at least one in a blue moon, people will surprise you. And perhaps, some day, people may just take your breath away!