Where time stands still

The eye clinics are a great leveller. It is here both the premier and the peasant are made to wait. With drops in the eyes. And both the organs of the vision shut.“Please close your eyes”, says the nurse as she drops the medication into the eyes. And you comply without a protest. You may murmur but there is no one to hear. Even if she hears, she gives you a smile and walks off towards another patient whose turn it is now to keep the eyes shut.

With eyes closed what will you do now? Are you the disciple of some ‘HH?’ Good. You will perhaps know the art of meditation. It will now come handy. Of course you have to sit on the chair, not squat as is the usual custom, and meditate.

Time stands still at the eye clinic. While many a doctor writes out the prescription even before you have fully unburdened all your symptoms before him, this specialist or the ophthalmologist as he is to be called, is in no hurry. You are made to sit before a junior first who does the formalities. Then you are asked to return to your seat and wait for your turn for the senior specialist to have a ‘dekho’ at your organ of the vision.

And you wait — till the nurse calls out your name. Now it is SS’s turn. He first takes a casual look at the eye, then peers through an instrument for a closer look, again through a lens which appears like the Kohinoor diamond and it flashes a brilliant light blinding you for a couple of seconds… Look left, look right, look up, look down, your eye lid obeys all his commands. Of course you are helpless.

At last the prescription. You heave a sigh of relief as the doctor picks up the writing pad. And as you walk clutching that precious document you realise that you have spent some 2-3 hours in that ambience.

The other day the ball was in the other court. I found my eye specialist waiting at the school for his son to return from a picnic. None had a clue to as when the van would come. So he had no choice but to wait as his patients did at his clinic.

“Well doctor, now it’s your turn to wait,” I remarked. “Yes but with eyes open,” he said with a smile. And we both waited. I, for my grandson, who was in the same class.

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