The disability dialogue

Updated: Dec 10, 2019, 14:34 IST | Dalreen Ramos | Mumbai

A Mumbai-based non-profit is set to launch its award-winning digital publication as a book with essays on disability, mental health and chronic illness

The visual for Telang's essay. Pic courtesy/Upasana Agarwal for Skin Stories/ Point of View
The visual for Telang's essay. Pic courtesy/Upasana Agarwal for Skin Stories/ Point of View

Often, in my daily life, I find it difficult to talk about my disability to my peers — I tend to assume that my lived experience is completely un-relatable to other people," Antara Telang says. The 27-year-old communications professional lost her right foot in an accident when she was 18. Writing had always been a way of expression, and to her surprise, her essays struck a chord with a wider audience — including Tinder-ing As A One-Legged Girl In Mumbai, which now features in city-based non-profit Point of View's (POV) Skin Stories. As the first and only digital publication in India dedicated to fresh perspectives on disability sexuality and gender, Skin Stories has not only won awards but also been used as a resource by Amnesty UK. Today, the organisation will launch it as a book.

The event will include readings, a panel discussion and a book signing. Featuring 35 writers, the anthology also carries visuals by artists Alia Sinha, Upasana Agarwal and Naresh Suna. The book has been edited by writer and journalist Shreya Ila Anasuya, whose story on living with endometriosis is also a part of it. "We wanted to go beyond the audiences who are able to access us online, to reach people who would read the essays offline. We particularly wanted to present the book to disability justice organisations working in India," Anasuya shares.

Shreya Ila Anasuya and Antara TelangShreya Ila Anasuya and Antara Telang

The chapters are segregated into 12 themes including sex, violence, discrimination and children. For the print version, to bridge some thematic gaps, Anasuya states that she also commissioned certain essays. The POV Mumbai team hopes to take the book to more cities and Anasuya hopes for translations, too. "There are assumptions made about people with disabilities, and people who live with chronic illnesses. With the complex, layered storytelling in this book, we hope to challenge these assumptions, which are rooted in ableism."

Telang concurs, adding that no two people go through the same life experience. "For those who are stripped of a certain layer of privilege, be it through gender, caste, disability, or anything else, life can often look very different than you'd imagine. We don't need you to feel sorry for us. Listen to our stories and try to recognise how you can change your behaviour in small ways to gradually change the system."

Free
On
Today. 7 pm onwards
At Title Waves, St Paul's Media Complex, Road Number 24, Bandra West.
Call 26510841

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