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Signpost to India

Well, that was the holiday of a lifetime – for so many reasons! 


So much to see….


So much to do….


So many new things to experience….


Wonderful food….


Wild tigers, peacocks and bears – monkeys everywhere!


The list is endless – India fills your senses in all the most wonderful and captivating ways! 


However, some of the most touching moments for me were meeting – purely by chance – some members of the Indian deaf community.

 

India

We travelled to Delhi during Ramadan, a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement, heightened devotion and worship for all Muslins.  There we visited Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque.  It is understandable the mosque would be well attended and have a vibrant atmosphere.  We were warmly welcomed by the devotees and it became apparent very quickly that we had also encountered a deaf member of the assembled worshipers.  My Signing is basic, but one of my fellow travellers is currently studying Level 6 and between us we struck up quite a conversation with the gentleman in question. 

 

We were able to explain, both to the locals and our tour group about the differences between Indian and British Sign Language and then had a very informative conversation about the demands of fasting for Ramadan and how the breaking of the fast takes place every evening at sunset. 

 

It actually became quite an emotional moment – to see the joy on this gentleman’s face when he realised that these visitors to his mosque and indeed his country were taking the time and trouble to converse with him in his own language (or at the very least try to).  The fact that he was able to teach us something about his own beliefs and traditions and in turn we were able to impart this knowledge to our group was powerful.  It was joyful! 

 

Back on the coach a long conversation ensued between the assembled company (24 in total) about BSL, signing in general and the variations between different the sign languages not only from country to country, but the regional variations within those countries too! 

 

Who could have thought that a simple coach trip could be so informative!  Hopefully we left a lasting impression with the by now extremely happy and somewhat excitable gentleman we met at the mosque.

Taj Mahal India

Our next stop was Agra.  If you have never seen the Taj Mahal for yourself, it is a vision I strongly recommend!  Upon checking into our hotel, it transpired that one of the Porters for our group was also deaf.  I was delighted to see a few in our group actively trying to engage with him.  I am confident that this would not have happened had we not had the encounter the day before at the mosque, followed by a lively Q&A session on our coach. 

 

Hopefully, these encounters will have left a lasting impact upon all those involved – they certainly did with me!

 

The power of sign as a force for universal conversation is quite unique!    A signpost to India indeed! 



 



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