Two Years Later: Life Update and Why Life Is About Deception

It has been a long time. Much has happened (good things!). I have grown. My writing has changed. My location has too. But I am sure my 16-year-old-self would easily recognize and relate to my 19-year-old self; that is because at the heart of it, I have still remained me.

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At Space Camp – Seeking Out Sightless Astronomy in Alabama Pt. 3

Before reading on, please read Part 1 and Part 2 of the At Space Camp – Seeking Out Sightless Astronomy in Alabama series.

“They say that in the Army the coffee’s mighty fine
It looks like muddy water and tastes like turpentine
Oh Lord, I wanna go
But they won’t let me go
Oh Lord, I wanna go hoo-hoo-hoooome EH!”

These were the lyrics echoing in the bus carrying the 16 of us in Team Isidis to the activity area. Following the lead of a Space Camp instructor, we all sang in unison words that made little sense yet were comically captivating. But the bus was not adrift; it was taking us someplace where we would test ourselves and overcome our fears. At Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students, as much as we worked on mission stimulations, learnt about space history, and underwent astronaut training, a huge part of the week in space was to create an environment where everyone was encouraged to dare to exceeed their own expectations. One way in which that manifested were the high rope elements: to zipline, we had to climb walls, and to glide in the skies, we had to ascend a pamper pole.
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At Space Camp – Seeking Out Sightless Astronomy in Alabama Pt. 2

Well-rested and bubbling with excitement, we freshened up, descended the stairs, hunted for and joint our respective teams, and got ready for Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students 2018. At this point, I find it essential to give you a rundown of the structure of the teams, programs and activities at SCIVIS. 179 blind and visually impaired kids from 12 countries, most of whom had been accompanied by a chaperon (not me though, I go solo), were enrolled in programs such as Space Academy, Robotics, Aviation Challenge, and Advanced Space Academy and were sorted into teams of 15 students at an average. Teams at SCIVIS 2018 included Aries, Andromeda, Deimos, Elysium and many more and each team was led by one day trainer and another night trainer. As for me, I was part of Team Isidis in the Advanced Space Academy with my two trainers being… Live-In-The-Moment and Larry Page, shall we call them? (Coming up with veiling yet meaningful aliases is harder than I originally thought.) Just to be clear, Isidis is not a word in some alien language, but an actual name of a plain on Mars.
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At Space Camp – Seeking Out Sightless Astronomy in Alabama Pt. 1

On September 27, I embarked on my second voyage to the United States (happy belated Columbus Day, American mates!); to the Southern city of Huntsville, Alabama to participate in a weeklong event known as Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students (hereinafter referred to simply as SCIVIS or Space Camp). In my “week in space”, I transformed from my geeky quiet self to a jokey extrovert, went from 179 strangers as fellow participants to 15 close teammates and several other great acquaintances, travelled without a chaperon but returned with a bunch of kind, caring and gifted teachers of the visually impaired who viewed me as their own student, and lived some days of my life so fun-filled, informative, and cherishable that the nostalgia of the experience will forever remain.
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What I’ve Been Up To Of Late – Halfway Through 2018

Months have gone by without a post from me. The single source for me to flaunt my affinity for and amity with big words (or bombastic vocabulary as some call them), i.e. this blog, has remained relatively soundless in recent times. The sole platform for me to overthink about otherworldly hypotheses, ramble incoherently on topics that catch my attention momentarily, and sometimes educate about assistive technologies, has remained unusually inactive lately. My go-to place for composing a post or even a poem if only to practise my language has seen me treat it rather negligently this year.
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Poem – How Would This Blind Child Know?

I was born the ordinary baby,
Always the centre of attention,
Adoring, endearing and bubbly,
Always enveloped in affection.

An active and perky 3-year-old,
As buzzing as a bee,
The fireman in the play, the overenthusiastic toddler,
Is who I came to be.

But time is erratic and volatile,
You never know what life has in store,
The future is inherently uncertain,
But how would this 6-year-old know?
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Inclusion, Public Speaking & Alan Turing

An enormously significant yet lesser known part of my life is public speaking. Even when I was sighted (which I was till my fifth grade), I was always the narrator in the play. I steadily progressed from intra-school elocution to that at the inter-school level – I vividly remember reciting the humourous Hindi poem “Kya Hamare Purvaj Bandar The?” (Were Our Ancestors Monkeys? To the encouraging but authentic laughter of the audience. After this short-lived fourth grade thrill of obtaining new poise and tasting the sweetness of speech-making success for the very first time, The speaker inside me was compelled to remain dormant for three long years.
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What If Santa Claus Suddenly Went Blind?

Everyone knows Santa – the iconic figure that is pervasive in Christmas culture, the jovial fellow who animates the imagination of young children around the world, and the portly chap who, with the help of his Missis, elves and reindeers, never fails to distribute delightful gifts to all the nice and well-behaved kids on the planet. Since I enjoy overthinking and cerebrating everything, I reckoned it might be amusing to make an outlandish hypothesis and analyse all its objective implications. What if Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, whatever you prefer to call him, suddenly went blind? Would he be able to continue fulfilling his annual promised of delivering presents to the nearly billion children (U-10) keenly awaiting him? Let us take a look.
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(3) Relearning The Computer The Sightless Way

Before reading on, please read Part 1 and Part 2 of the Story of My Life series.
The 11-year-old me continued tinkering with the buttons on the keyboard, depressing the keys only to perceive the stubborn thing instantaneously coming back up, ready to input a new character into the text document on the computer. Despite my friskiness as a child, I was always solemn when the 1 minute typing speed tests on the Talking Typing Teacher culminated, earnest to know whether or not I had managed to up my previous typing speed record by at least a few WPM (Words Per Minute). For many happy days, I was allowed to derive pride and pleasure in simply polishing and ameliorating my typing skills.
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Do I have A Sixth Sense?

‘Do blind people have a sixth sense’ is the million dollar question which is to serve as the central subject for this post. The problem however here is not the original enigma, but the far-fetched speculations and self-proclaimed assumptions that the sighted community tends to declare so confidently with reference to the sixth sense.
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(2) Kickstarting With The Keyboard

Before reading on, please read Part 1 of the Story of My Life series.
That meeting with XRCVC culminated into a merely cheerier me, but more than that, a set of revitalized mother and father. I unmistakably remember the last exchange of that day too. “What shall be the fees for the training?” my father had asked. The candid reply from Mrs. Neha Trivedi, the Project Counsellor of XRCVC, had been that the training fees would be ‘guaranteeing Bhavya’s independence’.
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How I Access Android – The Fundamentals Pt. 1

People find it immensely startling and utterly groundbreaking to learn that blind people use computers – ‘normal’ mainstream Desktops or laptops with a standard physical keyboard with no Braille on the screen or on any keys whatsoever and apparently pretty similar to what the average non-disabled individual is seen using. However, what they refuse to comprehend is the fact that I do not rely on a Nokia 3350 Symbian device, but a ‘normal’ modern Touch Screen Smartphone –Motorola M in my case.
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(1) Getting Back On Track

Close to four years ago, as a result of periodic retinal detachments in both eyes, my remaining vision was at a critical stage, whose usefulness was next to negligible. Although in a matter of a few more months, when my camera lens diffused with thoroughness, even at that time, I was compelled to abandon all pointless efforts to continue writing on a hard-copy notebook in almost illegible handwriting, and dismiss attempts of persisting with mainstream ways of note-taking. For the majority of the second term of my fifth grade, my education took place very precariously and unsystematically, using oral means to access notes and textbooks, relying on friends and family to Xerox or copy classwork, and taking examinations with particularly experimental scribes.
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The Non Visual Desktop Access Movement

Technology can create a ripple effect of a phenomenal magnitude, often rendering man with access to realms unexplored. An assistive technology called NVDA, which makes on-screen content accessible for vision-impaired computer users by providing speech or Braille feedback for the same, has significantly improved tens of thousands of lives over the world. To shed light upon the extensive chain of audiences that take part in furthering this non visual access movement, the following would be the most befitting piece:

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It’s Me – An Introduction

My name is Bhavya, and I am an ordinary but overambitious, commonplace  but convoluted, regular but  rebellious kid from India. I started rambling on the Internet when I was 11, created this blog when I was 14, shared it with the world when I was 15, and am presently a couple months away from turning 17. Since you have serendipitously chanced upon this minute corner of the World Wide Web, you might as well learn a little bit about the being behind the babbles on this blog, about me. 
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