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Being Albino - A first person account by Prashant Naik

June 13, 2016

Yes, I have low vision and am very nearsighted because of oculocutaneous albinism, which is the name given to a group of conditions that affect the colouring of the hair, skin and eyes.

I look different, with white skin, swinging eyeballs and blond hair.

I have many challenges like low vision, social attitudes and a skin that is sensitive to the sun and more vulnerable to skin cancer.

However, I take my albinism as a positive. It makes me look different and sets me apart from others as I look European.

I remember that during my primary school days, classmates would yell at me, saying 'Simon, go back!', echoing a slogan from the history books that was used by the Indian freedom fighters against the British. That would make me feel low and I would withdraw from others.

As a teenager, that changed to 'Boris Becker', the German tennis champion whom I resemble. That felt so nice. I realized then that am different and I should take it as a blessing. This brought in a significant shift and gave me an advantage.

I am able to deal with low vision problems by making sure I use large fonts, zoomed in screens and bold text. I always ensure the lighting conditions are good.

Many a time I get special treatment as I always stand out in a crowd. People from school, college and my past workplaces remember me and my albinism has given me the personality of a foreigner.

My experience is that there is much to gain from being different. For me, being albino is a gift.

About the Writer

Prashant Naik, who has albinism, works for a government bank. He was honoured by a National award in 2013 by the President of India as the Role Model of the year.

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