Aditi Mishra, Class 5, Inventure Academy, Bengaluru

Everything was always dark in my universe. A night sky, yet no stars or moon to light it up. Other than the jasmine I smelt, the food I tasted, the Braille I ran my fingers on and Mother’s voice I heard, I knew none of the world.

Oblivious, to my own life. Blind. All around me, a void of never-ending pitch black.

Until now.
After I’ve been around for nearly 14 years.
How did this change occur, setting off a series of huge ripples in the still pond that is – me?
I scarcely believe it. No, I flat-out don’t believe it.

I kicked and screamed, and tried to wrench myself out of soothing voices and firm yet soft grips, but no. I could not forever stay out of the hellish place called hospital, and run away from the nightmare of – of – operation. As I stepped into that confined, overpowering space, two hands held mine. One smooth, soft and light, the other, heavy, warm and rough. One of the very few reasons I held some strength in my heart was to ‘see’ who those hands belonged to.

To see. So simple, yet so essential. So essential that to lack the ability described in those 3 letters dropped one into a deep, dark hole that seemed impossible to clamber out of. So essential that you have to go to a place where you learn a new language and are labelled ‘has special needs’. So ‘missing’ that my mind’s eye was the only one I had. So important that I was not considered normal, ordinary. And I had to wait so long to get the opportunity to take what I never had because my family didn’t have enough money. Unfair, unfair, unfair. But I couldn’t change that. My parents could. And thankfully – they did.

So to redeem what I deserved, that ability, I was asked to enter a pungent smelling room with the sound of what seemed like – no, I had to be mistaken – claws clacking. It can’t be as bad as that, I reassured myself, they can’t cut me open. Or could they?

Shaking these disturbing thoughts off my mind, I was gently nudged into the room, towards calm, comforting adult voices.
“Hi, Meena! Pleased to meet you!”
“No need to be scared, Meena.”
“Nothing to worry about.”
“This won’t hurt a bit, dear.”
“Now come on, let’s get started.”

“They’re going to help you,” a soft, melodious voice tells me. I know it’s my mother’s. “You don’t need to be shy around them.”

And so I take a deep breath. “Yeah. So… are you going to let me see?”

In response I am helped into a new cloth, I think. It felt – different. And then raised onto a – bed. Soft. Fluffy.

I feel my skin being pierced, a moment’s pain. And all the people’s hushed tones vanish into my void of black.

After what seems like a second later, I try to open my ‘eyelids’, what that cover of skin above my blackness is called. I couldn’t. Usually I think I am able to open them, but there is no difference. It stays dark.

But now they just felt heavy.

Heavy… so heavy… If I couldn’t open them, I’d rather go back to sleep, I tell myself.

Again, I regained my consciousness. I could hear voices, joyful squeals.
I tried to open my eyes.
And they DID.

All I could describe my first moment of sight with is this word. INDESCRIBABLE.

I was overwhelmed. ‘Colors’. Colors entered me so fast that I couldn’t handle it. ‘Shape’. Everything had a way of looking. Astonishing. As if I was staring into the face of the supreme being.

People stood around me. It was the first time I saw a ‘face’, I believe that’s what we call it, ummm, I just can’t think of the words to describe people yet. I’m still getting used to it. I’m still looking for words to describe them.

Things were there too. I was wearing one. It was colored! My hands, oh, the beauty of those things! I could move my fingers!

I’ve heard people laugh at somebody saying, ‘Oh, that looks like a wow!’

But I finally understood what that meant. How it feels to see something so awesome that you can only say one word.


January, 2024

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