India, Oct. 30 -- What would your world be like if your corrective lenses were suddenly taken from you? That's the sort of reality deaf people have been forced into in the pandemic. Overnight, masks have erased their ability to communicate freely with the world.

Deepak Sehrawat, a deaf teacher for the deaf working with an NGO, has been trying to ease things a bit by teaching his colleagues to sign. That's the only way he can be part of conversations and meetings, he says, since he can no longer lip-read, and he's glad his colleagues are willing to learn.

Many are not faring as well. Rishi (last name withheld on request), a 23-year-old IT engineer with an NGO, says what hurts most is the "daily discrimination" from people in his workplac...