Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Same old plea – but in a new place

I have been having a great time for the past few weeks in Toronto, attending a math conference at the Fields Institute located more or less in the University of Toronto. This is almost a month-long extravaganza for people like me who like to spend the day listening to talks or having discussions about such fun things as random matrices and free probability. The reason for my mentioning this is that this is why I have been somewhat irregular with my blog of late (due to having to give talks periodically to justify my presence here! 

But am straying from my theme. I have been using rented mobility scooters to take me across the few city blocks I need to cross during the day. The institute itself has been wonderfully accessible and I have had no woes on that count.

But it is in the evening when we want to go and see shops or enter restaurants/cafes/bars that I have been periodically accosted by my old nemesis – a step or two or three, as the case may be. The point I am trying to make is one I have made in India. In particular, I wish to make a suggestion to the Canadian readers of my blog who, I am glad to report, are on the increase of late. Exactly as I said in an earlier post in this blog (namely, it is entirely trivial to have a make-shift ramp that can be pulled up and used whenever needed for a wheel-chair user. While it is true that everybody is most willing to help – by lifting my scooter up the step(s) after I had hobbled off and climbed the step(s) to get indoors – I repeat that the whole aim of making roads and pavements accessible is to make mobility-impaired people totally independent, or as close to that as is possible. And I should stress that I have been very impressed by the number of people whom I see whizzing along on such scooters on the pavements of this city. For their sake – and especially for those among them who will not be able to get off their scooter and walk the few steps necessary to climb a step or two – I am writing this post in the hope that somebody in a position to implement such changes will read this post and do so!

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