The Stars In The Dark
The Stars In The Dark
I boarded my classroom with a heavily breathing chest. I was fifteen minutes late for my class on its very first day. If you ask about me, then I was not the student who should get late for the classes. I was the district topper in my twelfth board exam and had done engineering from the Nagpur NIT. I had a fixed and inseparable aim of being an IAS officer. And so was there, attending my UPSC classes.
I asked the teacher for coming in, trying to catch my breath. The whole class was looking at me just like I was an alien and just landed on their earth. Maybe it's a students' tendency to pay attention at the things which can give them a few moments to feel free from the lecture.
Suddenly my gaze went upon a girl sitting on the second bench in the third row. Her delicate and intricate facial characters might be the reason for it. The teacher was merciful, thankfully and granted me the permission to have a seat without even uttering a single insulting word. I saw an empty seat at the fifth bench in second row. While stepping up to the seat, I observed her wavy hairs bound by a delicate ribbon. Teacher told everyone to look into their books and not at this latecomer. She also put her gaze down in the book and moved a hair strand behind her ear. She was wearing a frameless glass which suited over her fair skin. I sat on my seat and tried to have a look at her. I could see her brownish hair just like weaved through the simple red ribbon. But, I couldn't see her face so clearly. A dumb-looking girl was sitting in between her and my gaze. She had the brownish skin, much dull skin tone with few pimples over the face. I think she was there just to create the lunar eclipse. Get off from there! I wanted to yell. But keeping quiet, I tried to compile her full sketch in my mind from few views. Just taking care that the teacher should not catch me looking at her. After more than half an hour of lecture, I collected my things quickly so that I could see her again. Her beauty was driving me mad. She must be the masterpiece of the God. I felt an urge to meet and talk to her. I didn't even know her name, not even had heard her voice yet but, I wanted to get introduced to her somehow. I had no friends there too. So none was there to introduce me to her. And just going and talking, Hi-I-Am-Akash thing wasn't a good idea though.
In this thought cycle, she disappeared in the crowd of few hundreds. I looked here and there but couldn't see her anywhere. I rushed outside the door through the herd of the guys. Our classroom was at the second floor of the building. I saw her wrapping a scarf around her face in the parking lot at the down side. I tried to go down by the lift but it was full. So I ran off through the steps just like spiralling. As I reached downside, she wasn't there. I missed her. I wanted to ask her name so I could probe her at the Facebook. That pimple girl was also sitting on her scooty and ready to go. I ran off to ask the pimple girl the name of my dream girl. But as I was just five yards away from her, she sprinted off too. I yelled from back but she didn't stop. I failed at my first attempt.
I missed my girl on the second and third day too. I asked few boys about her. They didn't know her name but they told me that she was an MBBS pass out, which meant that she was clever too. Actually, much clever- beauty with brain.
On my fourth day, I got outside the classroom as soon as class ended. I stood outside the door facing the sea of the students passing around me. The girls got space to move and boys were clutched into a corner of the building gallery. She too passed downstairs quickly. The professor forced us to stop until the girls would leave. As all the girls left downstairs, our flock was set free and I made my way frantically through them. I reached the parking lot but she was nowhere to be seen. I started my bike and sprang off. I could see her scooty which was twenty to thirty yards away from me. I increased my speed to reach her. Suddenly my gaze went upon the signal and it was red. The road didn't have much traffic from our side thus I didn't realize that the signal was red. When I saw it, I was at the speed of eighty-ninety. I applied sudden brakes but couldn't stop my bike and hit a car coming across. I was thrown from my seat in the car. My head hit the window and metal of the car. I didn't know anything what happened next.
When I got on my senses, I just saw the dark. I tried to open my eyelids, but couldn't configure whether they were opened or not. I could hear, some hospital noises around. I felt blanket to my right palm and left hand was might be fractured as I couldn't lift it easily. I was not getting to see anything. I yelled at random as I was not getting what was happening with me. I heard the voices of my dad and mom frantically coming towards me. My dad was calling the doctor aloud and mom was just trying to talk with me with the sobs in her voice. She asked me why I was yelling. I told her that I couldn't see anything and asked her to remove anything from my eyes if it was there. She went crazy and started calling doctor much aloud. I heard the running footsteps coming towards me. A polite and careful voice reached me and asked me about what was happening to me. He might be the doctor. I explained him everything I was experiencing. After a ten seconds gap after my talk, he told me to have the rest and said that it is just the effect of the drugs I was given. I felt my mother's hand in my right hand. She kissed it and I could hear her sobs - those she was trying to hide. I asked her what happened to me. She just told me to have some rest.
Days passed. I underwent many treatments and much more tests. Till I understood that I had lost my sight. I was wishing that any treatment would work and give me back my eyes. I kept myself patient during all these procedures so that my family should not be flabbergasted much. But to no avail, after trying all the treatments, I showed no progress and doctor suggested to stop. I admitted that I was going to live the further life as a blind. I didn't want the sympathetic words from anyone. I wanted myself to believe that I had not lost anything. I just made my mind to take it as a challenge the destiny had given to me.
My mom and dad insisted me to live a simple life. The simple life meant just staying at home and doing nothing. I hated these things more than losing my eyesight. I told them what I was going to do- UPSC. As expected they refused me for that. But later on, as I didn't loosen my side, they took a step back and let me do what I wanted.
Everything changes after being a blind. For a birth-blind it may not be of much concern but for a once-sighted one like me, the curtain of drama suddenly falls down, the lights of all the world blow out in a second and all of the stars fall short of their light. I knew that the world didn't change but, for me, it had. I had missed my one of the five senses but it gave a new sense- common sense. I started thinking about anything much differently as I couldn't put an image of them fixed in my mind. It used to change with every moment and bit.
I loved when people came in front to help me in doing anything. I got to know about talking watch, audio books, and other voice recognition apps on the mobile phones. But, I started hating the sympathy the people would give me. Sympathy made me feel weaker. I did never understand why people find it more ethical to have sympathetic words for anyone. Thus, just by saying No-Thanks to sympathy I carried on my own path.
On my very first day after three months of break, I started continuing my course. My dad came with me everyday to drop me and for making a seat for me in the classroom. I could imagine how anyone would be looking at me. A different creature had come in their park. I could imagine everyone's faces looking at me from my very first day- three months back. My dad used to give me a seat on the front benches. I didn't like to give myself a special treatment. I wanted be one of all the guys. So later as I insisted, I got a seat in the middle benches as far as I could hear clearly. The loss of one sense sharpened my other senses by the way.
Once when I was just waiting for the lift with my Dad, a girl boarded us. I could sense it was a girl from her voice in 'Good afternoon'. I think we were just three waiting for the lift. My dad was getting very urgent calls from his office since the morning. He answered them many times but got irritated much after every call. Might be some urgent things would have come up there in his office. I insisted him to go and I'd handle myself. But he refused and now we were in the lift when he got an another call.
"Yeah...I will reach there in just ten minutes... I have told you hundred times that I am here with my son...Yeah..I know...I will reach soon.." He spoke over the call.
His high voice could tell how irritated he was. The girl with us spoke out "Uncle, if you don't mind I can take him to the class."
My dad said as politely as possible "No. Thanks."
"Uncle, I think you have any work out there. I belong to the same class he does. I can take him to the class anyway." Her soft voice made me feel like a feather pillow.
"Are you sure?" My dad asked her.
"Yeah, uncle. Don't worry. Sometimes just from hearing the words you can tell that the person is having a smile.
"Ok. Are you okay with it, Akash?" Dad turned towards me.
"Yeah. It's fine." I said.
"OK. Bye." He said and left us. I waved to him actually not knowing exactly where he was.
The ting sound of the lift, I heard. Some people came out of it. The girl held my hand in case if anyone boards me. She first let the people get out and then entered the lift with me. "Careful!" She said in a faint voice.
The lift door closed and we started going up.
"Hi ! I am Ananya." She told in an enthusiasm. I moved my hand forward for the shake hand, might be she was expecting. She shook her hand with mine. Her hand was so cool. Still, I felt a warmth of kindness in it.
"I am Akash." I said while hands were getting resolved. I adjusted my goggle after that.
"Yeah. I know."
"Oh. How? As a blind?" I said and laughed.
"No. As a believer- who believes in himself even when the destiny is opposing him." She didn't laugh and had a very serious tone in her voice.
"Oops." I said and had a giggle.
We reached the door of our class. She was telling everybody to get away from the way. I loved the way she held my hand. She guided me for the seats at middle and sat with me on my bench. While the lecture, she was sometimes explaining to me how weird faces the professor was making. I used to get a laugh at them. But tried to keep myself quiet.
Later on, this was going on everyday. As I had a three months gap, I missed much of the course. I couldn't read anything by the way. She used to read everything I missed. She also explained many points regarding the science and economics to me. Her knowledge, sweet words, behaviour and everything was pointing me that she was the girl I was praising. Her beautiful sketch drew in my mind. I was very joyous and happy to be with her. She never had any sympathetic words for me. I liked the way she treated me. I liked the way she never reminded me of my faults. Actually I didn't just like it. I loved it. I loved all of them. Actually, I loved her.
One day, she didn't come to assist me at the lift. A friend of mine came and helped me. I discussed with the boys I had known earlier, that whether my best friend had come or not.
"Has the pretty girl come?" I asked them.
"Yeah. There sitting in the second row." Kunal replied.
"Then why didn't she come with me, today?" I mumbled a bit loud to myself.
"What are you saying, bro? The pretty girl doesn't come with you daily either."
"What?" I was shocked and confused.
"Yeah. That more than mulatto girl assists you. What did you think then?" And he started laughing with a bunch of boys.
I was just numb. No thought cycle was going through my mind. Actually. I couldn't think what to think. During their laughs, I was silent. When they stopped laughing, I got a quick laugh- over them and myself too. I shifted from confused to clear mind in few seconds.
The girl I knew was not actually the girl I thought. But, the girl I loved was the girl I knew. So what was the matter to bother? Is it just because you got to know that she didn't have a beautiful face? But, I surely knew that she had a much beautiful heart. So, is it the beauty of the face or soul that you love? I didn't have my eyes either to compare between the beauty of the face and the heart. Actually, just by losing my one sense I lost the whole thing that I loved about the pretty girl. But in the case of the pimple girl, I would get the reason to love her even after losing my all the senses. So that was the simple choice I made.
I imagined losing all my senses. If still then, I have a reason to love her then, it's the love for life. I wouldn't have seen this with my naked eyes. The curse over me proved as a boon. I had a crystal clear image in my mind which might be blurred by the eyes.
Now, literally I could say "I loved her blindly."