WBU-AP Otsuki Award
My Rainbow Of Dream
Indonesia Deasy Tresnawati Sari Dewi(23/Female)

photo: Deasy Tresnawati Sari Dewi 

Did you know that 70 percent of all information entering the human brain comes through the eyes? This information is processed by the brain, thereby enabling the person to perform the relevant activities and to observe one's environment. Therefore, can you imagine how much we would be marginalised from life if this sense organ of sight were to be damaged or if it were to cease functioning normally?

Indeed, this was what happened to me when I lost my normal visual function. I had to face many troubles but I made an effort to optimise my remaining functional senses of hearing, smell, taste and touch.

I began to discover that I found much pleasure in music. I loved the sound of the guitar, keyboard, bass, drums and many other instruments. Unfortunately, I found that the community at large did not believe that we blind people had potential and skills. The perception in society was that we were not capable of living a life of independence and, therefore, there was no way we could become musicians.

However, music made me see a Rainbow of Dreams in brilliant colours and I knew I had to pursue my love of music. I felt that with music, I would be able to change the perceptions of society towards the blind. This made me determined to develop my musical talents and skills even though I knew that it would be a very difficult goal to achieve.

I enjoyed playing the keyboard and decided that I should sharpen my skills by taking up a course in a music school in my city. Oh, but what a response I received! At my enrollment, the Director of the institution turned me down and I was not allowed to take the admission test. I argued and pleaded to be given a chance but the Director would not change his mind. Politely but firmly, he said that he could not teach a blind person.

This rejection, nevertheless, made me more determined to continue pursuing my dream. I practised by myself by listening to songs and music. I also got some lessons from an art teacher in my school and this boosted my confidence that I may become a great musician.

Though not too often, I did receive some invitations to perform on the keyboard for some family events. One day after playing solo at my aunt's wedding, one of the invited guests approached me. This man turned out to be the Director of the music institution who had refused to give me a place a few months before. He apologised to me and expressed admiration for my superb musical skills. To my surprise, he said he would accept me as a student free of charge. My heart blossomed with colours like a rainbow arching across the blue sky in the rainy season. The Rainbow of Dreams that I had glimpsed in the past now came streaming back into my mind.

I studied and practised hard in the music school. I was the only blind student there and my trainer, who was also the Chairman of the institution, patiently guided me. I eagerly soaked up all the theories that he taught me just like a hungry sponge. I also learned Braille music notation and this enabled me to translate the regular music notes into Braille. Truly, the training was tough going but I was determined to succeed.

One day, after a training session, my trainer told me I would be taking part in some music competitions and festivals in order to improve my skills. Initially, however, the organisers of such events made it difficult for me to join and my coach had to try very hard to convince them. All the opportunities given me proved successful and my achievements were recognised with certificates and trophies.

After graduating from the music institution, I received many invitations to perform at various formal and informal functions. Every time I came on stage, the applause was loud which showed that the audience was impressed with my performance. I heard them say how they admired my fingers dancing on the keyboard. They just could not understand how I could hit the right keys even though I could not see them. Someone from the audience exclaimed, "There are eyes in her fingers."

Being a rising star, I never set a price for my performance. I only thought of how I could gain people's trust in my musical competence. To increase my popularity, I accepted invitations to perform in live programmes at a number of radio stations.

My performances enabled me to establish a name for myself as a blind musician. More jobs were coming my way and I became a regular performer for radio and even some cafes. With my earnings, I was now able to live an independent life and I could even pay for my tuition fees. What made me most proud was that I could support my family. Furthermore, I was able to teach other people, especially the blind, the musical skills that I had learnt. It is my great hope that I can help to create new blind musicians.

Wow! the Rainbow I had been running after is curving gracefully before my inner eyes! I can paint the beautiful colours in music for the pleasure of other people. Most important of all, I have proved to society that blind people are not mere weaklings - only give them the opportunities and they are capable of turning their Rainbow of Dreams into a wonderful reality.

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