What started out as an experiment has come a long way. ARCHANA SUBRAMANIAN
Close your eyes and imagine the shape of India…well you can because you have already seen it on the map…but what happens to people who cannot see? How do they see countries and know their geographical boundaries…?
It was a usual bright morning when one of Sudha Baregar's neighbours asked her for a favour. Knowing her artistic inclinations they wanted her to make maps for blind children so that they too would be geographically informed. Art for Sudha came naturally and it was a passion she liked to pursue. It took a few discussions before Sudha came up with the idea of using different kinds of materials all readily available at home like cotton, seeds like rice, wheat, mustard and fruit seeds too, woollen, cotton silk threads, and sand to differentiate the various regions in the map.
The Braille sheet on top of the map however spells out these regions. Quite an innovative move, it's the first time when blind children can touch and feel the regions besides knowing their boundaries. Sudha has since then been mastering this art trying to improvise in technique. “I got married young but my family has helped me excel in this field without any interference and offering all cooperation. I work out of home and bettering my skill is what I want to do. I'm also open to ideas so when I get calls I make sure I listen to all suggestions as it offers scope for improvement,” adds Sudha.
She has made maps of India both political and physical, the world map and also gone on to make a phonetic book in which she embosses words using thread.
It's not just maps that Sudha makes, she has also made a few more things like the Flip Book which is one of its kind. Essentially an album this flip book is full of pictures on various themes like wild animals, forests, and flowers made using similar technique.
Sudha's work has been appreciated in schools as students keep calling and asking her to make various other things that they would like to see through touch.
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