Monday, 16 January 2012

An Eye Opener

 Mellowed red brick buildings.Bubbling fountains.Lush palms.Potted plants which were a riot of colour.Neatly paved pathways.Were we at the right address?Yes,we were.It was the Aga Khan Hospital,Nairobi.Normally I avoid hospitals like plague,but it was time for the children's bi-annual eye check up and I had been told that one of Nairobi's best opthalmologists had her consulting room there.So there we were,just in time for their appointment.We circled around the buildings looking for some parking space.I recently read that as far as parking space is concerned,Mexico is the worst place in the world and Nairobi ranks a close second!And we thought the parking problem in Pune was bad!We finally abandoned the car to the mercy of our driver and headed in.After all,punctuality is my second name and Indian Stretchable Time does not work for me!
As we settled down in the doctor's waiting room and prepared to await our turn,I cast an eye around.My gaze fell on a book of Numerology.And the author was none other than the doctor we had come to see,Dr.Prabha V Choksey!An opthalmologist who was also a numerologist?That was a new one!I eagerly opened the book as I love this subject and can never read enough about it.
The first thing I read was that all profits from the sale of the book would be donated to support children with albinism.Thanks to my biology teacher from my long ago school days,I knew,of course,that albinism denotes the complete lack of melanin,the pigment which imparts colour to the skin.But this was the first time I had come across a cause to help such children and I bought the book at once!
Later,when the eye check up was over,I told the doctor that I had bought her book and that I admired her cause.Then she told me something that I was not aware of.People suffering from albinism are the target of many superstitious beliefs all across Africa.Often their body parts are chopped off to be used in witch craft.Her foundation works to eradicate such beliefs and only educating the people at the grass root level will help.Albinos,besides suffering from skin problems,also have major eye problems but a pair of glasses does make things easier.But some of the people cannot even afford those and that is where she steps in.She is determined that these children find a dignified place in society and are given the means unlock their true potential.                                                                                                                                                                 Being blessed  with good vision ourselves,we rarely think how visually impaired people suffer.My mother and I used to record prescribed course books for visually handicapped students in Pune and today one of those students is a lecturer in a college and is on the verge of obtaining his Ph.D!I used to send out my own students from the college where I was teaching to be exam writers for such students.I hope it made them value the gift of their own sight!                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But Dr.Choksey had given me something new to think about and when I go back to Pune,I am determined to find out what is being done for albinos there and to help in any way I can.Close your eyes for just a minute and imagine living in that darkness twenty four by seven where inverters and generators can be of no use.Now couple that with a skin that has no pigment to absorb the sun's harsh rays.It will,indeed,be an eye opener!


  1. Great post! You are absolutely right. Those of us blessed with good vision rarely think about how radically different life is for those without.
    I'm visiting and following from World Bloggers Club.

  2. Hi!!!!!

    I am following you from Reflexions blog hop. Please stop by Lioness Rebirth.


    1. Thanks lioness!Will surely do it!

  3. Kind humble educated people around us doing so much noble work !


The Nuances And Nitty-Gritties Of Being Neighbourly

6:05 pm : I am walking in our front garden, free in the evening, on a week day, after many months, as the academic year comes to a close in...