WATCH out! I shouted at the man, as he nearly walked into my parked car. “Can’t you see where you’re going?” I asked. “No,” he said, “I’m blind.” I walked upto him and took his hand in mine, I was glad he could not see the tears in my eyes as I led him across the road….
As we walked and I felt his hand in mine, my thoughts went back to another place, another time; I was in Madras Christian College and every weekend, a hostelite came back with me. His name was Prabhu. I used to hold his hand, and walk down from college, down the road, people giggled to see two boys holding each other’s hands and walking.
They couldn’t for the life of themselves imagine why anybody would want to do such a thing in a co-ed college. They could not make out that those eyes of Prabhu, which looked straight ahead, dignified and proud, were eyes which had no sight in them. Prabhu was blind and every weekend, I took him to his home and brought him back on Monday morning to the hostel.
The blind man, who I helped across, touched my shoulder and thanked me. He wore dark glasses, Prabhu never did. “Tell me,” Prabhu used to say, “tell me what’s happening around us. Tell me about the colour of the sky, about the sights all around.”
“Hey Bob,” he would suddenly say with mischief in his voice, “you’ve stopped talking, is she beautiful?” “How did you know?” I used to ask him, astonished. “We blind can see,” Prabhu used to say with a laugh, “much better than you people with your eyes.”
Yes the blind can see much better than us. They know by the sound of footsteps, the kind of person he or she is, whether he bears authority or whether he’s cunning or weak. They know from the stillness around, whether there’s danger or whether the atmosphere is safe. The blind have intuition that can tell a con man from an honest one. The blind can see the beauty of the soul, even while we get lost in physical forms.
I held Prabhu’s hand and took him home, but it was he who taught me how to look deeper than my eyes could see. A couple of years ago, I went down to Chennai, Prabhu, I heard was now Principal of the Arts College. I called him. It was nearly twenty years since I had seen him. “Hello,” I said. “Bob,” he said, “where have you been?”
“How did you know it was me?” I asked. I had tried to disguise my voice. He laughed aloud. “The blind can see,” he said simply. A year ago, he passed away. “Who are you thinking off?” he asks. “The One who sees for you now,” I whisper, as I miss him here on earth..!