Hiranmayi had a head-ache. Sitting in class since morning, she was feeling giddy. Whatever was written on the blackboard was now quite hazy. She had to copy from Durga’s notebook instead. At the end of the day, Durga finally asked her, “Why were you copying from my notebook? Why weren’t you concentrating on the blackboard?”
Hiranmayi was scared of this question. For a few days now, she was unable to read the blackboard clearly. She would try squinting to read the board, but her head would start to ache. “I can’t see the blackboard clearly. I can’t read what’s written on it”, she said sadly.
“What? Since when did this happen?” Durga asked.
“Since a few weeks now. Earlier when I used to sit in the front row, I could see the board clearly. Ever since we have been sitting at the back of the class, I have had difficulty in reading the board”, Hiranmayi explained.
“You should talk to your parents. It is possible that your eye sight has become weak”, Durga said. Durga knew this as she had been wearing spectacles for a few years.
That is exactly what Hiranmayi did not want to do! No one in her house wore spectacles. Her parents would not even allow her to watch too much TV. However, Hiranmayi was very fond of reading books. Whenever she would get a chance, she would sit down to read. She was scared that reading was the cause of her weak eye sight.
After dinner that night, Hiranmayi broached the subject. “Mom, these days I am unable to see things clearly. In class I am unable to read the blackboard”, she said quietly.
“Looks like I will have to take you to the doctor”, her mother said. “It may be that you need to wear spectacles.”
“Yes, let’s go tomorrow. I will just call up the doctor and take an appointment”, her father agreed.
Hiranmayi was unable to sleep all night. She just did not want to wear spectacles.
The next day, the entire family went to see the doctor. The doctor carefully checked her eyes and asked her to read the alphabets off a chart. On the chart, the alphabets kept getting smaller and smaller. As they were getting smaller, the fear in her voice kept rising as she was not able to make out the alphabets clearly.
“Looks like you will have to wear spectacles. Her eyes appear quite weak”, the doctor explained.
As soon as the doctor said that, Hiranmayi’s fear turned into tears. She started crying unabashed.
The doctor was unable to understand what he had said or done that had caused her to cry so much. He tried explaining, “My dear child! There is nothing wrong with having to wear spectacles. Many people also wear spectacles, and in fact many famous people like Mahatma Gandhi and Bose used to wear spectacles.”
“In fact people that wear spectacles are thought to be smarter and better in studies”, her father explained.
“Anyway, your name means ‘deer-like’. A deer’s eyes are very beautiful and no spectacles can hide their beauty”, her mother said while hugging her.
Hearing all this, Hiranmayi was pacified. She was beginning to feel better about having to wear spectacles.
“With age, the pupils of the eyes also grow. If the pupil does not grow uniformly then the eye sight might be affected. This is what has happened in your case. Even then, when you read or watch TV for long, make sure that you give your eyes adequate rest. Every 10 – 15 minutes look away from these objects and try to focus on objects that are further away. Also keep blinking often”, the doctor explained.
“Come, now let’s go select a beautiful pair of spectacles for you. What colour do you like?” her father asked.
“Red!” Hiranmayi exclaimed and finally started smiling.
- giddy – causing dizziness
- broached – brought up (a subject)
- unabashed – not embarrassed or ashamed about openly expressing strong feelings