The Dead Man's Eyes - Chapter 2
by Geetashree Chatterjee
Back to Chapter 1
The operation was a success. It had to be. Someshwar did not leave a single stone unturned to make it anything less than a success. The best of surgeons was appointed who had mastered the art of corneal grafting almost like a sleight of a magician's hands. Money was never an excuse for Someshwar. The best of hospitals, the best of techniques, the best of pre and post operative care! In short, everything requisite was the best that was engaged, appointed and ensured being delivered. Considering the fact that money was not a deterrent, it was, therefore, a wonder why Someshwar waited for so long whereas he could have got the operation done a long, long time back.
For the answer one had to 'know' Someshwar well. Someshwar the Patriarch, Someshwar the Patrician, Someshwar the Possessor of the Blue Blood, Someshwar whose lineage could be traced back to Royalty! How could he allow any Tom, Dick, Harry's cornea to be grafted into his one and only grandson's eyes? Blasphemous it would be! Darkness was much better than such 'lowly' light. Offers came but Someshwar put his foot down. The eyes, he was looking for, had to have illustrious nobility as their erstwhile owner. Eye banks fell short of requirement as well as his expectations. Thus, an early opportunity of the boy's 'enlightened' existence was sacrificed at the altar of patriarchal autocracy. The exasperated ophthalmologists gave an ultimatum of six months more. "You have to come to a decision fast, Mr. Nath," they said. "We cannot keep on postponing the date of surgery indefinitely. As the days pass by the surgery becomes harder to perform."
Someshwar's stress and search graph touched all time high. But alas the failings of human heart! Even amidst the panic and apprehension of meeting or narrowly missing the doctors' imminent deadline, Someshwar could not let go his fetish for a pair of "true blue" eyes.
Then one evening, brooding over the next move on the chess board, the old man suddenly pledged his eyes for the boy. The old man never took any step on a note of impulse. Every action of his was well calculated in advance, thought Someshwar. But soon his momentary surprise at the old man's sudden decision was taken over by overwhelming gratitude and inexpressible joy. Someshwar's interminable search for a pair of "blue blooded" eyes was at last over. The old man's blood was as blue as the WBCs and RBCs would allow it to be. His genealogical antecedents were irreproachable bordering almost on perfection.
However, though the hunt was over, the wait was not. Someshwar would now have to wait for his friend's demise for his grandchild's eyesight. A sobering and painful realization! But he did not mind that. Someshwar came to a quick decision. He was ready to wait. He had consulted doctors abroad who had assured him that they would operate on the boy as soon as Someshwar got a "satisfactory" pair of eyes. Yes, he would wait. Patience paid in the long run. Always!
But Someshwar did not have to wait for long. It was just two and a half months later that Mr. Mukherjee breathed his last.
The boy wandered around savouring every hue in Nature's palette. As the subdued light of dawn faltered in like an infant learning his first walk, he opened his eyes and saw the sun's rays slithering into his still dark room through the thin slits and crevices of the closed door and windows. The dust fairies danced in the prismatic slice of sun shine. As the morning unfurled in all its golden delight, he entered the garden. As he walked along, the fragrant surround came alive. The bright blooms called his name. The shiny, green leaves gestured him to come close. The rainbow coloured butterflies did a few jigs for him. The busy bees hummed a new tune. The caterpillar hugged the slender stalk happily and lost its identity. The pond fondly mirrored his image. The detergent washed sky with its snowflakey clouds smiled at him. The velvety grass under his feet tickled him mischievously. A stray cat stealthily traversing the garden wall turned back, looked at him and gave a friendly nod. The white mongrel with brown ears and bushy tail was heading busily towards the road's end. Hearing his footsteps he stopped short at the garden gate and barked a hullo to him. Everybody welcomed the boy with the thoughtful countenance and deep "blue" eyes. To be continued ......