“I do not need you any more. Do you understand? I do not need you any more. I can see now. I CAN SEE. I DO NOT NEED YOU. I CAN SEE..” He was filled with wrath. His eyes flashed. He was dancing in anger.
I looked at his eyes. They were still white in the middle because of his cataract. He looked a lot slimmer but healthy. How could he suddenly start seeing again?

I woke up with a start. My heart was racing. It was cold but I was sweating. I fumbled for the torch and put it on. It was 3 a.m.
The dogs were howling outside in unison today. A chill ran down my spine.
I gulped some water to soothe my parched throat.
I tried to sleep…but it had flown miles away.
“Oh God! Please keep him well.” I said within me, again and again.

He had come to me about a couple of months back. Tall, dark, unkempt and smelly ,I had found it a little hard to hear all of his story. The smell seemed overpowering. I could see my colleague and friend making faces at me.
She shook a mask at me and said,
“Do you know what is this paper mask used for? To cover noses especially big ones like yours when such kind of people enter.”
I feigned acute deafness and continued talking.
Both his eyes had become nearly blind. He somehow managed to find his way around.
” You need to be operated as soon as possible. Do these tests and come back to show me the reports.” I said.
” Who will pay for this?” He asked defiantly.
“Its not much. It might cost you a sum Rupees 20 to 30. Thats it.” I shrugged my shoulders and told him.
“I have Rupees ten. If I give you that, what will I eat?” He asked.
I knew not what to say.
” Did you bring someone with you?”I asked.
” You need to go downstairs for these tests.” I added.
He nodded.
” I have no one in this world. I have…had a family but they threw me out of the house. I now stay and sleep on the roads.” He said.
I summoned the attendant and told her to accompany him for the tests.
” He neither has relative nor money.”
She understood.

She took him along cheerfully.
Another three hours swished off…

” Take these reports. I am hungry. Give me food now!” I heard him suddenly again.
He had come back. ..

His reports were normal.
” Good. I will operate on your eyes next week. Start these..”
” Give me food!” He said angrily.

I summoned the attendant and handed over a note of Rs 100.
” Buy a plate of rice for him.” I told her.
He ate hungrily. I felt sorry for him.

Soon this became a regular affair. He just came and sat outside my room and demanded food. He left only after eating. Soon I started losing my sympathy. His sight started irritating me.

” Can”t you bring at least one person with you? I can operate on you then.” I asked.
The hospital rules required that one attendant should accompany one patient.
” I do not have anyone.” He said dejectedly.
I knew not what to do. Unforseen complications could arise on the operation table. Besides that, medicines and eyedrops needed to be put regularly after the operation and cleanliness had to be maintained. Without it, the operated eye could get infected and become blind and very painful for life.
I had serious doubts on that count.
Perhaps I could put him in some old age home first. They would take proper care of him. One such home agreed to take him after much efforts.
I informed him jubilantly when he came the next day.
He flatly refused.

“I do not like to be tied down. I love my freedom.” He said and went off.

I feared for his life. The vagabond that he was ..I ran into him everyday near my house begging for food and money.
He lost his temper on seeing me.
” You can help me see if you want..but you won’t. You are wicked.” He shouted at me, shaking his hand.
Onlookers stared at me. I understood his predicament and helplessness. My hands were tied too.

I went to the Superintendent of the hospital.
” Madam, do let me operate on this patient. He has no one.” I implored.
“Do you believe him? Can a person have no one at all? If you operate a beggar, there is almost a hundred percent chance of his eyes getting infected.” She said.

“Do you really think a person sleeping on the roads will maintain the stringent hygiene standards required after operation? Insist on him that he needs to be in the age old home for at least a month. If he agrees you can go ahead.” She said sternly.
Perhaps my face fell.
” We do not want to be in the news for the wrong reasons. As it is, every other day we make headlines. False and little things get blown out of proportion. You have good in your heart. If something goes wrong…relatives will surface from nowhere. I have seen it happen too many times. No relative will come to donate blood and then in the case of death they will all descend from nowhere. We have to be practical.” She added.

I went back thinking hard. I was feeling increasingly defiant. If I could do it cladestinely in some private hospital…but we were not allowed to operate in a private setting. What if the patient really developed the infection?
A thousand thoughts whirled away in the sea of my mind. I found no shore of answer.

He continued shaking a fist on seeing me much to the amusement of those on the road.
” One month in old age home only. After that back to freedom.” I requested him.
He almost pushed me away in anger.
I went my way. I hoped I did not run into him every day but I always did.

That’s life. One always attracts whatever one does not want.
They call it the Law Of Attraction.

Then one day, he turned quiet. I was filled with trepidation. Things had turned for the worse. His cataract had matured further. I and the rest of the world were truly fading away in his eyes. His end was nearing.
That day, I had just managed to push him away from a speeding car.

The morning rush always left me overwhelmed. I reached the hospital exactly at 10 a.m. The doctor on night duty looked relieved and happy on seeing me.
“Thank God it is over! What horrible harrowing duty hours I had last night.” She said, collapsing on her chair.
” Why? What happened? Ravaged by drunkards or drug addicts? Were they Medico – legal cases or deaths in the wards? ” I asked.
” No, accident.” She said.
“A horrible accident. The truck ran over a man near your area. His chest was crushed and his intestines were out. His skull…”
My heart seemed to be sinking.
” Was he a tall…dark man and somewhat stinking? Did it happen around 3 a.m.in the morning?” I asked, my voice trembling.
” How on earth do you know that?” She asked, her eyes wide with surprise.
” Where is he now?” I asked.
A part of me hoped it was all wrong. That he still lived … That some other tall and dark person had died. Of course, there was no dearth of them in this world.

” He is in the mortuary. You will not be able to see him and others there.Why subject yourself to suffering? Sit here and try to save the living. I will leave now.” She said and
Perhaps he was alive. This could not be him. Probably he was some other man.

” Oh..I forgot to tell you something. He had cataract in both his eyes. Poor man..” The doctor called back from the door before leaving..

My days were filled with agony and guilt. I saw him everyday yelling angrily ‘I CAN SEE’ in my dreams. This went on for more than three months.

Slowly ….I started finding solace in his words. The hand of God had restored his sight. I asked for forgiveness each time he appeared.

Eventually he left my dreams alone. He also left me wiser.
I now inform the local police station and get a constable waiting as I restore sight in blind eyes with no attendants, with the blessings of God.
Is he still watching over me? Probably …from a place where he has fathomless joy, sight and freedom.

Hilarious helping hand


It was twilight time of the evening. The orange Sun was about to sink peacefully into the inviting arms of the night.
I and Anuja wanted to reach the hostel too at the earliest. In our quest of shopping for local delicacies, we had moved a bit too far into unknown territory.
We waived our hands frantically at the running autorickshaws.Some turned a deaf ear and some a blind eye.

My heart drummed against me. It had turned dark. We knew not the way back and with no knowledge of Tamil whatsoever…we could not manage help. Between us we had one mobile phone which had no network at that time…
We had one word to our rescue.
The name of our Eye Institute.
We just yelled that at frequent intervals…
At long last, one autorickshaw halted near us.
“Yass Madaam…”
“Aravinda.Aravinda..we go..”
“Au K..Madaam..”
We happily jumped on to it…
We soon resumed our cheerful ways, oblivious to the world racing past.
After some time, it seemed that the driver was paying more attention to us than on the road infront. His acrobatic driving was getting a bit dangerous. We narrowly missed a roadside drain and then a truck and a double decker bus.. My hair was slowly beginning to start rising at its ends..
I yelled.
He only laughed in return.
‘He is laughing!.Do you think he is mad or something?’ I whispered frantically in Anuja’s ears.
‘Chill! He is only trying to impress us.’ She said laughing.
I glared at her. 😠😠

If he is a crook…I must jump out. But will Anuja jump or not? And what if I get

some broken bones or worse another vehicle runs over me?
Not a very inviting proposition. 😟😟
I saw myself reflected in his side mirror.
I saw his face too. Thankfully he had stopped laughing and was only smiling..
My heart calmed down a bit…
No, it could not come back to its original calmness. How could it?
We were still racing in a maddening zigzag manner on the road.
Anuja wore that continuous excited look on her face. I turned my face away.

I was filled with a sense of impending doom. We raced on to a lonely road rushing uphill when we were suddenly lifted off from the face of the earth. 😳
The auto had jumped onto a high speedbreaker …
Its fore and back wheels hung in the air and the base stuck to the top of the breaker..
It had turned into a see_ saw!
At that moment we broke into a loud laughter.Tears rolled down my cheeks as the driver sat acutely embarrased. A crowd had collected by then from nowhere and the driver had jumped out. The more they pushed and pulled the more of see_saw we enjoyed. It took me back to my school days.
The crowd dispersed soon. Now it was really the time to jump out. Anuja remained gigling.
I wondered what to do next. There was no auto rickshaw in sight.
It was then that I suddenly saw one coming from the opposite side. The driver gave a cry of alarm on seeing us suspended in the air like that. He rolled up his lungi to his knees and jumped out of his auto. Such was his haste to help us, so largehearted was he that he forgot all about his own. He forgot to stop his own running auto and jumped right out of it. The poor auto went on its own while we remained yelling, “Stop stop …Your auto stop.” until it slipped sideways into the roadside drain!
We thought we were nearing the end of our existence here, so helpless were we with our laughter. Why! We even thought we would die of it that day..😂😂😂

I imagined the headlines of the newspapers the next day.


But we didn’t. We survived. Life had more adventures in store for us. That autodriver somehow managed to reconnect us with Mother Earth. Our auto found it’s feet again.
The other auto was retrieved from the drain. We thanked him profusely and started our journey.

Our driver had turned over a new leaf. He drove carefully . His macho attitide had taken a sad beating. What a respite it was when our institute came in sight! We handed over the fare to a now shy and embarrased driver.
‘It’s allright. Thanks for giving us one of the most enjoyable days of our lives.’
I told him as he left. I doubt whether he understood.

We came back to the listless life of books…presentations…admonishings..drab food..sleepless nights and more books…

Fifteen years on, the incident still remains fresh in my memory. It still makes me laugh. I wish the same for you, my dear readers.

What is this life if it is not spiced up with laughter?

Frozen Lightening


Maysynram Hills

The Innova snaked its way up the hills. The chowmein roads could be seen far below and up in the hills, highlighted by the dim lights of the vehicles in the smoky mist.Visibility was low and a sudden deep valley came into view when the mist thinned. It already seemed early hours of the night at 10 a.m. in the morning.
Way above in the hills, hung streaks of lightening seemingly frozen at regular intervals. Some were thin and some huge…🤔🤔🤔
We got down to have some tea.

Most shops were closed.
After some hectic searching, a small vibrant shop surfaced, hidden in
a corner behind a betel nut counter.
Sipping hot tea☕🍩🍪 flavoured with ginger and cookies, a shiver ran down my spine.It was chilling. 🎅🏻🎅🏻🤶🏻All my staff wore sweaters. I was the lone one without it.
If only I could buy one here…
How vain are your hopes…I heard within me…😔😔

We restarted our journey.As we continued upwards, the frozen lightening continued to intrigue me. The mist was denser and I hoped the vehicle would not ram against another in the frequent blind turns. I remembered my two kids back home. Of all the people in the world, they needed me the most. Life had become dearer to me after their appearence in the scene.

Suddenly the mist started becoming faint. Giant green hills sprang into view.🌲🌳🌳They were breathtaking.
I felt so small then.There are times when one realises one’s true worth. A speck in the universe. The ego seems to dissolve then. A speck of the universe and also one with it. One feels small and huge and joyous….all at the same time..

Milky froth gushing streams sprang out of the bosom of the hills. Some dropped down thousands of metres disappearing into the calm pristine waters of a river below. Others disappeared as suddenly as they had appeared, back into the hills. The frozen lightening mystery was thus solved. Seen through the translucent mist from the distance, they had appeared so…

This is Mawsynram in Meghalaya, the wettest place on the earth until….. MAN DECIDES OTHERWISE.


Many many eons ago, 
The queen of the sky,
Gathered her lovely moon,
And lifted her starry gown away.

Then the sky went so dark,
The men on earth trembled,
The lightening struck in arcs,
The king of the sky thundered.

When it struck so bright,
As if a thousand suns shone,
Men ran out to the outskirts,
To gaze at the wondrous sky.

Once again the sky lit up,
This time with a million stars,
As they all gazed in wonder,
The stars rained on them!

All got one star each,
In the center of their forehead,
As they closed their eyes in joy,
Each star hid silently.

This story though incredible,
Has loads of truth in it,
If you don’t think so,
Just close your eyes in silence

And behold
The shining star within!