Rohan sat on the chair with bated breath. His eyes were completely bandaged. The cornea transplantation had been a success and today was the day that Rohan had only dreamt of, never daring to believe that it would really happen. When asked, he had wished to see Shanaya, first. Who else but her, he smiled to himself. He had known her for the last twenty years and had fallen in love with her the very first moment her clear, sweet voice fell into his ears.
Rohan was late to his class that day. There was a breakdown in the bus that brought him every day from the station, and waiting for the next bus had delayed him. He was feeling very upset about it and as he reached the door of his classroom, he asked feeling awkward and guilty,
“May I come in please?”
“Yes please do,” replied someone in the sweetest of voice. His heart did a somersault. So this was the new Economics teacher, that they have been hearing about, he thought. Her voice was mesmerising and without even realising, Rohan just fell in love.
Rohan was visually challenged by birth. He had lost both his parents in a bus accident and was brought up by one of his uncles. The uncle and aunt both loved him, and cared for him along with their own children. His uncle was a driver and his aunt worked in a school as a peon. They had got him enrolled in a school for the blind and Rohan was very happy there. He loved to study and he outshone others, effortlessly. He joined college and finished his graduation. Due to lack of resources he had to take a break of around four years, when he worked in a financial institution. After saving enough money for the education of his cousins and his own self, he joined post graduation to do Economics. This was his final year and here he met Shanaya, his new teacher.
It did not take long for the two to get closer. There was something in Rohan’s voice too, that attracted Shanaya to him. Shanaya found compassion, gentleness along with a distinct spark of life in his voice, that drew her to him. His limitation of vision never really stood out as a hindrance in any way. The beauty of his ease in the acceptance of his limitation, always left her wonderstruck. There was no complex and he considered himself equal to others, naturally. They would spend hours together, just sitting and chatting. Sharing came so beautifully to them, that often both of them would wonder if they actually were experiencing such love in reality.
Shanaya had shared her past with him and her painful past had shaken up Rohan. How could any human undergo such magnitude of pain, he would ask himself. Shanaya was a very beautiful girl. She was vibrant and full of life. She was extremely popular and friendly. In college she had many friends and she always lived a fun-filled life. She loved sports and was a a very good badminton player. She had won the National title twice. She did not have a boy friend as such, but there were many aspirants for the same though. She never paid any serious attention towards them.
Once the college had arranged for a three day Nature camp. Shanaya was very excited. She loved Nature as well as adventure. It was just after their exams, so everyone was in a completely relaxed mood. A group of around thirty students with two teachers were to go. They all left early morning and reached the camp by evening. They all had tents there to stay. It was all so exhilarating. Night fell and Shanaya and a few girls decided to go for a walk in the dark. Many tried to dissuade them but they threw all caution to the winds. They set out with torches in their hands. After sometime they felt somebody’s presence, as if someone was following them. They switched on their torches and turned around to see three classmates grinning at them. They were Kiyaan, Dilip and Jaivansh. They were carrying bottles of alcohol in their hands and waved at the girls. Shanaya was furious. She gave them a piece of her mind.
“How dare you three follow us? You are drinking too! Alcohol is not allowed in the trip, don’t you know, you idiots? Get lost or else we will complain to the teachers.”
“Why are you screaming, beautiful? Who is watching us in this wilderness?Let’s have some good fun,” Dilip gave a meaningful smile.
“Shut up and go away, you morons,” fumed Shanaya.
The other girls were a bit scared now. They whispered to Shanaya, suggesting that they back off and run back to the camp. But Shanaya did not want to back away. Now the boys, visibly drunk, started moving closer towards the girls. The girls shreiked in horror, and in desperation picked up stones and hurling at them ran back to the camps for life. The boys, because of being drunk, could not run as fast and the girls reached the camp. Shanaya was going to report the horrible incident to the faculty right away, but the other girls stopped her saying why unnecessaryily create more problems by needling the rogues. Shanaya was not to be calmed down. She stomped to the teacher’s tent and reported the matter to the finest of details. The matter reached the Principal and the trio was expelled from the college.
In another two months the college got over and the students parted ways to go home. Shanaya too left the college with all her luggage in a cab. She was going to miss her friends, she was thinking. She had such happy memories of the last three years. The cab was standing at a traffic signal when instictively she looked at her side, out of the window. Someone with a cloth covering the face, came near her car and threw some liquid right on her face. Did the eyes resemble Jaivansh’s? Shanaya gave out a haunting cry. She was rolling on the cab seat in excruciating pain. Her face seemed to be on fire. She screamed and screamed and then passed out. The cab driver, not knowing what to do, drove her straight to a hospital. Thankfully the hospital took her in immediately and she was taken to the emergency. Her face was completely burnt by the acid thrown on it. Shanaya battled in pain in the hospital for more than two months, and then a new Shanaya, with a charred face, left for home. It took her almost six months to heal physically and only her indomitable spirit could see her through, emotionally. In another six months, completely recovered Shanaya, joined the college for the blind as an Economics teacher. Her beautiful face had become completely scarred now. Only her large, black eyes remained as beautiful as ever.
During the past twenty years that Rohan and Shanaya knew each other, there grew a magical love between the two. They were together and nothing else seemed to matter to them. Rohan was working in a bank as an officer and it was a marvel to see that with every passing day, how their love kept growing for each other. They felt complete together and neither of them ever asked for anything more. One day, suddenly they heard in the news that a world renowned eye specialist was to visit India. Shanaya convinced Rohan to go and see him. The visit turned out to be extremely hopeful and miraculously the hospital chanced upon a donor, who had met with a road accident. The corneas matched and the transplantation was successfully done.
The doctor came to Rohan and said softly,
“Rohan, I am going to take off your bandages now. Do open your eyes very very slowly and softly. The light may be overwhelming in the beginning, but do not worry. Everything will be fine.”
With these words the doctor took off the bandages one by one. Shanaya stood there right in front of Rohan. She felt her pounding heart would jump out of her mouth. The doctor said gently,
“Now Rohan open your eyes to this beautiful world.”
Ever so softly Rohan opened his eyes. Was this light, that he was seeing? Everything seemed so bright. Light, brightness, colors, things and his eyes reached Shanaya and got fixed there. Rohan never had imagined to see such beauty in a human being and as for Shanaya! She felt completely drowned in the overflowing love for her, in Rohan’s eyes.