I had just come out of two hour sign language class taught by a deaf teacher. I hadn’t spoken for the entire duration.
I hopped into the Nepal Yatatyat at Putali Sadak to get back home.
I unconsciously put on my ear phones and the music began to play...3 doors down, away from the sun. I could still hear people talking in the bus, a group of girls giggling, the conductor asking for fares, horns and sounds of cars and bikes passing by…all the noise of this city.
The thought of a soundless world, suddenly, seemed eerie and scary to me.
I am so used to it.
“Why not French, why not some foreign language? What is the use of sign language, it’s different in every country…you can’t use it outside of Nepal. Why do you want to talk to deaf people?”
People do make fun of me. They make up rubbish signs and ask me, “So, how do you say I love you in sign?”
But I haven’t learnt that yet and I didn’t join the class to learn just that.
I don’t know why I have always wanted to learn sign language. But the excitement and satisfaction that I felt when I could talk to a deaf waiter at Bakery Cafe in Baneshwor is something I can’t put into words.
Visiting the first deaf school of Nepal in Bhairahawa, recently, was something that motivated me a lot. Nepal has less than 10 deaf schools and only two have high schools. There are only 6000 words in the Nepali sign language and yet, there are people working to develop a sign language theater in the country.
I don’t know how I can be of help after I complete my classes. But perhaps, I will get closer to understanding how it is to be in their shoes in this world full of sounds.