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The Autism Spectrum According to Autistic People

Autism neurodiversity
Autism neurodiversity

From Up Here by Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay

Some of you who live on the ground, know me but few would know where to find me. You can find me up-here. I cannot invite you to join me. You wouldn’t know how to get up-here. Even I have no clue how I get up-here. There is no stairway.

I just happen to be up-here, dangle my legs, sitting upright on a floating cloud trying to understand the details of ground. I do not belong down-there. The complexity of the ground, the necessary skills to belong down-there, and those other little variants that happen intimidate my eyes.

But I definitely look. I look for something that would be outstanding to stimulate my hyper visual eyes. Never mind that you miss looking at me. I do not count the number of eyes that are supposed to watch me like they count the Twitter or Facebook followers nowadays. I can be the eyes of the ceiling, ears of the wall, grin of the windows. Or I can be the nosy nostrils like the Google in your phone smelling your search.

On the ground where you live, you have learned to look horizontally, fully focused on your horizontal goals of surroundings when you are not looking at your phone. You follow a serious schedule to cover your days. I have seen you drive on horizontal highways with mathematically marked speed limits. Some of you walk.

You walk on trails, light footed to beat your heart unto health so that specialist can measure you and label a diagnosis. I have a diagnosis. I carry it like a diploma certificate. Most people have some kind of diagnosis because labels make categories easier to count. You need a COVID vaccine? Are you 1B category? Stand in line!

You walk the dog. Or the dog walks you. Who knows ….I try not to judge. How many of you can achieve the skill of staring up at the sky and walk? Do you know when the sun turns green?

I try not to include myself in your boundaries that you have marked on the ground: calling it your state, or country, conditioned by the emotional bonds of nationality. I learn from the geese!

The geese care two hoots about borders and immigration laws of this blue marble like planet.

I keep myself outside those emotional captivities of ground division and pigments of skin. Geese taught me that a bird brain is happier than a brain that is chasing happiness with plan-circuits crisscrossing the neural man aiming for applauds. I keep my watch on the masthead of human ship. But nobody assigned me a job. I am too mute to report the whale.

Sometimes I come down to the ground to watch one or two ‘Judge Judy’ shows. The complex nature of human disputes, the rule of winning and losing settled by a hammer-knock of the decisive gavel expands my cogitation of legal captivities no one can escape from. I am neither an advocate nor a spokes person. I do not wish to judge. I have retired from political interests. But I appreciate the game of law in the ‘Judge Judy’ show where the game is a non zero equation. Someone will definitely lose! I study the reality of loss.

I also study the shout of revolts and lawlessness all over the world through TV news, the anger of desperate humans trying to control the rules of ground, trying to revolt their rights by breaking windows and disrupting the street laws. Through the study of mutiny, I study my muteness.

When I am not studying human rules, I study the quiddity of shadows setting my own educational goals around them! I study the delicate outlines of shadows – their umbra, their penumbra, their complete merging. Through the study of shadows I comprehend light. Through the merging, I comprehend the classification.

Do you know how the shape of a shadow lurks around you when you are least prepared?

Last week, I studied a shadow.

There was a shadow of a dog, next to the shadow of a homeless man, some grackles punctuating the space around them, right under the Interstate-35. Shadows have their own script if you care to look. His shadow had no script, not even a spot of daydream next to the reality of the road. The man carried a signboard. There was no expectation in that sign other than ‘God Bless’. The Stop-lights had a professional indifference, the eyes of drivers looking professionally forward stuck to the sun glitter on the road, waiting to escape that shadow with a signboard when the green light commands lit Go.

I have seen the captivity in that indifference of looking away. The grackles were trying hard to language their sentiments and screech their sentiments however way they could.

That’s when I preferred to remain up-here, out of the way.

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9 Responses

  1. Tito, i can especially relate to wanting to not follow ground rules. it is not a proper system for people like us. i like the idea of being in the clouds and lessons from birds.

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