Last night we had spoken about eyes – eyes watering and the vision getting blurred. I had put down the phone and then returned to complete some writing. It was nearing 3.30 am. As I lay down I felt pin-pricks and liquid, not quite watery, streaming down my right eye. I fell asleep. Woke up in the morning to find the lids reluctant to part from each other, the upper one more persistently clingy… a film of viscous white formed at the corner and something behind the retina pushed like a fast heartbeat. I went to the mirror and red lines shone up in the whites. That eye looked smaller and I looked like a sneering diva…
Okay, enough of the drama queen act. This is plain old conjunctivitis. I asked the pharmacist for some eye drops. He asked me to put it in the other eye too “to save it”. Hah. I have never tried saving any part of myself. The only reason why I would put the drops in both eyes would be so that one should not feel left out. Too many things, too many people get left out…
The eye drops are those “eye/ear” combination types. I used to wonder when I was young whether there would come a day when my eyes would start hearing and my ears would begin to see. I still go through that feeling…sometimes our senses work in ways we do not realise. When you listen to sounds don’t you ever think about the sight that goes with it? I can hear drumbeats but I can also see the hands that are holding the sticks or curving over the tabla in a thup-thup-thup. And when I see pictures of tear-filled eyes I can hear the sniffles too, the sound of a voice choked with emotion.
There is nothing great about conjunctivitis. My first time was when I was perhaps 13-14; I recall wearing really huge shades, blue-tinted ones. I would feel extremely shy, but then one got used to it. It is infectious and the idea is to protect others. I felt deliciously dangerous those days.
The next time was during my finals in college. Everyone advised me that it was impossible and to forget about it. I did not want to lose a year. Grades have never been important, so I went ahead – I saw Hamlet and Saul Bellow and Chaucer and Marlowe through a haze. It was indeed very tough and the April heat did nothing to help.
As it was Literature I was majoring in, one does not ‘score’ much anyway; at least in my days in
Moral of the story: Get conjunctivitis. It opens your eyes to things you never knew existed.