~ 3.1.12 ~
Running my hand over the elbow, I can feel my skin chapped and the need to apply antiseptic on the bruise.
“Yet another one,” I think to myself and frisk my hands to look for the solution. Holding back on my tears, I slowly hum the sweet song my mother sang for me during my childhood. I can feel the wound healing; I can feel myself winning another battle. But anyhow, there is this one battle I can never win – my eternal darkness- my blindness.
These wounds are not new to me anymore. Despite having my stick and my nurse around me at all the times, I somehow manage to hurt myself every day. It’s not that the people are strange and that they don’t help me, though. It’s been twenty years that I lost my eyesight to an accident and all through these twenty years, trust me, I have seen India evolve. Unlike the initial years of my blindness, people have grown really helpful recently. They help me cross the road, they help me take my first step on the stairs and even call the auto for me when I am unable to.
~ 4.1.12 ~
I learnt as a blind man that to live life independently as a visually impaired, it is necessary for a person to learn to organize the day meticulously. You need to know exactly at which shelf is your robe and how does the carving on your bedroom table feels like, you need to know and count the number of steps to the washroom and know just where to turn to not hit the sink and hurt yourself.
Most importantly, you need to learn to have faith.
There are days when nothing happens the right way, my hand would not fall on the knob at the right place, I would not land at the right side of the bed, I wouldn’t even be able to manage to remove my slippers at the right place on the shoe-rack without hurting my toe. But then again, there are also days when everything goes just so perfectly. The days like that one when Nisha met me.
I was waiting by the road for the traffic to halt, listening carefully to the cars whizzing by, and the movement hadn’t stopped when a palm tapped my shoulder.
“Aren’t you Kalki?” a womanly voice spoke in my direction, the confusion in her face, clearly visible to me in the form of her sweaty palm.
“Yes, but do I know you?” I asked, trying to recognize her by her smell, but in vain.
The weight in her voice, however, made an impression of her age in my mind.
“Nisha Kapoor. Remember me, from school?” she asked, with her voice losing hold of its weight.
I sensed her take a few steps closer and then stand right in front of me. I knew she had just realized by the movement of my face, why I had been wearing those glasses.
~ 5.1.12 ~
Over the years, I had become accustomed to such situations where people would confront my weakness to me and I’d, without any emotion, narrate my accident to them, at the end of which they would pity me, sympathise with me and eventually, not really give a damn about it. But that one day was different; Nisha did nothing of that sort. She just asked me out for lunch and upon being able to witness my hesitance, she firmly held my hand and assured me of a nice afternoon ahead.
I was blind at sight but not blind to emotions. I could feel the warmth in her hand and I somehow knew, nothing could go wrong. She treated me just like one of her girlfriends; let me patiently choose my burger at Mc Donalds, looked right at me while we were talking – I know that by her voice that was hitting my face – and later, let me go back home all by myself without making me feel pitiable or in need of sympathy.
~ 6.1.12 ~
The day when I met Nisha was different. Not only because I met a person who looked at me like any other normal person, but also because Nisha made me ponder. Ponder, not only about the frictions of the world that could lead to such a turn of fortunate events but also, about me as a person and my likes and dislikes. Ever since I had lost sight, I had actually stopped focusing on how to make myself happy and life had only become a battle of survival; but that fine day, she taught me to make myself happy by what I like to do – writing.
Nisha narrated a line that she remembered from a poem that I wrote in high school and that’s when I realised, if I could eat, bath, cook, sew, knit, wash and pretty much do everything by myself, why couldn’t I write my diary? Why couldn’t I weave poems and narrate stories? I had lost my sight but not my voice or thoughts- I had lost the sight to right on the lines with an ink in cursive but I could still narrate tales in Braille and that is how I started to write my diary in Braille, every single day without fail- though, for not too long.
~ 10.2.12 ~
Today, I am going to meet Nisha again. It’s only been a few weeks that I met her for the first time, but I feel like I have finally found a best friend for myself. I feel like there’s finally someone I can call up at night and share deep talks with like how the universe functions and how the aliens are suspected of invading us; I feel like I can finally talk to someone about my silly cravings and can share endless fits of laughter with – all of it, without being judged.
Dear diary, I will see you in the evening. I am late already, I also have to wear the perfume mother had sent to me for my date, oh and now, and my phone is also ringing.
Dear Diary, Nisha is no more. I will…
~ 20.7.12 ~
I will come back to you, I will.
~ 29.7.12 ~
Dear Diary, sorry for being away for so many days; for flooding you with my salty tears, from the eyes otherwise of no use, and for keeping you in suspense. Yes, I am okay now and yes, Nisha is no more. Actually diary, it was never Nisha.
~ 5.8.12 ~
Dear Diary, I am back and this time, I am not here to hang you in suspense.
On that one evening, when I was supposed to meet Nisha, I was actually not meeting Nisha. On that one afternoon, when I had met Nisha on the road and had lunch with her in Mc Donalds, it was not Nisha. Dear Diary, it was Pankhuri. You do not know who she is and neither do I – or let me put it this way – neither did I until the day of her death.
Pankhuri was actually a 17-year-old girl battling against Cancer and had met me through an NGO called Umeed. The NGO supports the noble cause of donating eyes to the blind and Pankhuri had voluntarily signed to donate her eyes once she dies. They reached me through mother who had actually enrolled me in the “See the rainbow” program hosted by Umeed and Pankhuri wanted to meet the person her eyes were supposed to be donated to. That is how she ‘co-incidentally’ ran into me on the street, faked to be a classmate from school, read out a line from my poem which she had learnt from mother and faked to be my best friend.
Dear Diary, let me tell you, she was supposed to be here for a little longer but you know how cancer is, don’t you? It’s worse than my darkness. My darkness, that prevails no more.
Dear Diary, today I am back to where it all started; back to having my eyesight and being able to enjoy the colours of the world. Now that I read from my Brailed text, I somehow force myself to think about so many more things that could have been written or been witness, I think about how much I’ve missed on life – or maybe not?
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