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For my eyes

July 2, 2013

How are you?

Good? Bad? If you are neither, you are most probably dead. Life is dichotomous and you need it to be for it to have depth. Depth, after all, is a play of contrasting lights and shades. January and February were so good. My physical and psychical states were getting in sync. It was all bordering on euphoria. Well, at least it was till March happened. March always happens.

When I was in school and college, March was synonymous with those nerve racking final examinations. Then you grow up and they come up with budgets and you have to do grown-up things like worry about the economy. Then your workplaces want to appraise your performance and you have to craft lies so that you can get good ratings, so that you can get undeserved pay hikes so that you can buy meaningless stuff which has become more expensive because economy is bad. And because you worried and passed your exams, you are stuck in jobs you don’t care about. In moments of despair, you realize that you just wanted to be a poet on a footpath but had you been one, you would have most probably died. Sometimes, survival depends upon how well you can insulate yourself from your dreams.

And rarely, while you are ravelling and revelling in all of these life’s ironies, sometimes, March puts a pause button. It did to me – in the form of the most severe of eye infections ever contracted by anyone in March.

The only good thing about intense physical pain is that it leaves no memory of it behind. So, as I sit here two months later typing this, I don’t really have a clear recollection of what transpired in the month of March that put me out of action for such a long time. Just that it was a glimpse of the darkness, the darkness millions suffer through all their lives. In that moment of weakness, induced by intense pain and loss of sight, I decided I just cannot live like this. If I go blind, I must die. A friend, more shaken by my proclamation than she was earlier by my swollen face, promptly transported me to a doctor.

Doctor said, “Oh my God!” Doctors must be banned from saying that.

It should be a part of their doctor-oath or something. Nothing has ever scared the already dimming lights out of me than that. I abandoned that doctor instantly and found another one who assured me that loss of vision is quite a normal consequence for as intense an infection as I had. He put me on some magic meds and it is on the mend now. I have never been more grateful for my highly myopic eyesight and I continue to be everyday.

Of course, I had to donate my eyes after all this. How can’t I? My mother gave me a lot of grief about this. She does not like me talking about death or anything related to it. Quite contrary for a person who has invoked the threat of ‘ one day I will die and then etc. etc.’ a lot many times. My sister, when I informed her that I am nominating her to take care of the eventual donation, casually said,”I don’t know, I might be in Paris. May not be able to make it to your funeral in time for that”. No wonder my mother and sister don’t get along with each other.

So, I may have major or minor vision problems all my life, big deal! As long as we can see, we should make an effort to see – people, places and all these wonderful things around us.

When my eyes got ok, I re-watched these two beautiful movies about loss of eyesight – ‘Shwaas’ and ‘Hollywood ending’– movies on loss of eyesight, permanent and temporary – one hilarious and one poignantly sad.

Life, though difficult, is richer by contrast.

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