Using Sixth Sense

Born deaf and dumb this youngster has decided to live a life of dignity and self-dependence. Faheem Mir tells his inspirational story

A small utility shop in Pazwalapora village of north Kashmir’s Rafiabad, is at the centre of attraction for all the good reasons.

The shop is operated by Kamran Aasif Mir, 16, a deaf and dumb since birth, who uses elaborate charts, pen and paper to communicate with his customers.

Kamran runs small stationery and mobile accessories shop, with photography, Xerox, mobile, online dish recharges like facilities available, in Pazwalpora village of north Kashmir’s Rafiabad area.

When this reporter asked him for a print-out, Kamran gestured towards a poster hanging behind him. The poster has images, signs, numbers and rates of every facility available. One just has to point towards the poster and raise his fingers, indicating the number of copies one wants. “He is good with machines since his childhood,” said a neighbouring shopkeeper.

Living with his parents in a single storey house, Kamran is youngest of four brothers. His father, Mohammad Aasif Mir, a retired Power Development Department employee, stays at home most of time now.

Like Kamran his elder brother Aaqib Aasif Mir, 22, a tailor, was also born deaf and dumb. “This is genetic. One of their cousin sisters is also deaf and dumb since birth,” said his father.

Both Kamran and Aaqib dropped out of school after passing Class 8 from a local government school. “They were bright students, but we have no facility to teach such specially-abled kids,” said Masood Yousuf, who taught them at the school.

Yousuf recalls how both the brothers learned to write their names, phone numbers, names of their family members, teachers, friends, relatives, famous cricketers, film starts etc. till they were at the school. “I wish we could have been able to do much more for them,” said Yousuf.

Kamran’s father, who struggles to feed his large family, had no knowledge about special schools for people like Kamran and Aaqib. “I love both of them more than my other two sons. It is naturally that I am more attached to them,” said Aasif, their father.

Another poster in the background has detailed information about all major mobile networks with their recharge plans. “One just has to point his finger on the amount and network, and Kamran takes care of it,” said Aasif.

While Kamran attends his regular customers from the village, he doesn’t have to make efforts to communicate. “Most of the customers know Kamran personally,” said Aasif. “This makes his job easy.”

However, if an outsider lands at his shop-front, Kamran takes instant help from Sajad Ahmad, a neighbouring shopkeeper.

Kamran learned how to operate a computer at him uncle’s house, where he would visit on and off. “He would watch keenly while his uncle worked on his personal computer,” said Aasif. “He would watch as if he is feeding every single action in his mind.”

With time Kamran started asking his uncle questions related to computer and printers, by using sings language.

“He is a quick learner who would not shy away from asking questions,” said his father.

Kamran wanted to know how to manage more than one machine at the same time. He is also keen to learn about new trends in the technology. Kamran takes help from his cousin brother whenever he has to contact a dealer.

A cricket buff who loves to watch Pakistani star batsman Shahid Afridi play, Kamran has learned to overcome difficulties on its own. “He doesn’t let his disability to hinder his work,” said his father.

Mohtashim Saleem, a regular costumer at Kamran’s shop, feels, “Rather than waiting for a government job endlessly like people do, he chose to be self dependent.”

Using Sajad, the neighbouring shopkeeper as interpreter, Kamran tells this reporter, “He never wants to be a burden on anyone. I believe in myself so why should I not work like people do.”


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