A day out for differently abled with winged visitors

Battling the cold with sparkling enthusiasm, as many as nine differently abled members of the Chandigarh Spinal Rehabilitation Centre went for a bird walk excursion to a bird watching spot located at the Sukhna lake, along with members of the Chandigarh Bird Club, here on Thursday afternoon.

With most of the indoor patients of the facility belonging to age group of 24 and above, the excursion was conducted as part of an annual visit organised under the aegis of M S Sekhon, head of department of geography, DAV College, Sector 10, and president, Chandigarh Bird Club. “Being differently abled, we cannot exclude them from the outings and other nice things in life,” said Sekhon while speaking to TOI.

The bird walk that began from the regulatory end of the lake, commenced from the parking area beyond the Nature Interpretation Centre and witnessed an amazingly efficient support staff comprising physiotherapists, nurses and other kinds of helpers, pushing the wheelchairs of patients through the muddy terrain of the birdwatching stretch.

Peeping through the specially designed binoculars, Ashish (25), a paraplegic patient at the facility, said, “I had seen these birds last year as well. They were nice. The weather was the same though. It was the same kind of cold.” Kaushalya, one of the indoor patients at the rehab facility, said, “I love coming here. I love nature and I am enthusiastic about a lot of things like swimming.”

Numerous senior members of the Chandigarh Bird Club, an eight-year-old group of the city comprising young officers, bureaucrats and teachers among others, educated the differently abled individuals about the different species of birds like barheaded geese, coots, common pochard, tufted ducks, black headed geese, little grebe among others. “I just love being a part of this group because I am a nature lover and this lets me explore that side of me while also appreciating Chandigarh as a city,” said Amandeep, a club member.

 

Most of the patients admitted at the rehab facility have been dealing with spinal injuries arising out of road accidents and bullet and knife wounds among other causes. Speaking to TOI, Prem Jit Singh, a physiotherapist at the facility, said, “Most of these patients here have been living in our facility for a few months now. They also have their family members here with us as well. They are from all over the country and have also come from places like Bengaluru and Kerala. Spinal injuries leads to paralysis, making them paraplegic and quadriplegic.”

 

When asked about the occupational background of the patients, he said, “Most of them have jobs and businesses and some of them are students too. Each time they take a break for a few months, they come to our facility for treatment and support.”