The Promise

by RJ

I used to be an avid traveler and have visited most of the unexplored places in India. India is a huge country and has lots of tourist places, but my interest lies in exploring the unexplored. India is a developing country and has many unexplored villages, customs, tribes, and culture.

I am from the northern part of the country. I had been working relentlessly for 10 years now, so I resigned from my job and took a long break to travel and explore. I packed my bags and boarded the train and headed to the southern part of the country. This part is known for its exquisite landscape, rivers, and mountains.

I reached the railway station of a big southern city. I looked at the map and spotted some good remote places amidst of nature. I then boarded a state-run bus to reach a remote village, which according to me is quite beautiful and unexplored. It was hell of a ride as the bus took the road to the village. Finally, I reached my destination. As I thought, there were no hotels in the village and the time when I reached there it was already dark and I was in the remotest part of the country with no place for shelter.

I picked up my bag and started walking towards a tea stall. I asked for a tea and started my conversation with an old man sitting there who was also having a cup of tea. I told him about myself and where I come from. Initially, he was reluctant to talk but then he started. He told me that he is a doctor, eye doctor, and the only one in this village. It was a surprise to know that there is an eye doctor in a village where there isnít even a hospital. He was running a small dispensary and used to treat people for general illness as well as eye-related problems. Ironically, he himself was very near-sighted and was wearing quite thick and outdated glasses. I have never seen such a thick glasses on anyone.

I asked him if there is any hotel in this village where I could stay, but as I assumed, there was none. However, he was generous enough to offer me to spend a night in his dispensary. I had no other choice and spent that night in his dispensary.

The next morning I woke up with the knock on the door. I opened the door and was surprised to see a young woman at the door. She was wearing large and very thick glasses. There were endless power rings and I could just see two tiny dots behind the lenses, her eyes were almost invisible. Her glasses were outdated large brown frame. She walked in with a glass of water, placed it on the table, and left. I was little shocked and started sipping the water and thinking how misfortunate the poor girl is. She definitely doesnít look too attractive wearing those glasses and I can imagine how blind she could be without them.

Doctor walked in, while I was thinking about that girl. I thanked him for providing me shelter and asked him about the girl who had just walked in. He told me she is her daughter, Piya. I again asked him if I could get some hotel in this area as I wish to stay for few weeks and explore the place. He said I wonít but I can try my luck. He was generous enough to let me stay in his dispensary as long as I donít drink alcohol or smoke. I was fortunate not have those habits.

I packed my bag and went out to travel around the place. The place was really very beautiful and very green. I set towards the hills and started climbing as I am an avid climber. Suddenly, I stumbled over a wobbly rock, lost my balance and fell down hard and broke my leg. It was very painful and there was no one around. I tried to stand up on my feet but it was impossible due to excruciating pain. I sat down and waited for someone to pass by me. I spotted bullock cart not very far from me. I shouted and the help came. He gave me the ride to the dispensary.

Doc and her daughter Piya helped me get off the cart and lie down. Doc gave me some pain-killers and did the retraction followed by a cast on my left leg till my knee. He said that the cast has to be on for at least 6 weeks. He said that I could stay with them as there is no way that I could travel back with the cast on. He took me to his house which was right next to his dispensary. I was very thankful to him.

For the next few weeks, Doc and his daughter Piya was caring for me. She was a very good person and was taking care of all my needs. She was very shy and would rarely speak. I noticed that she could not see very well even in the day light. She was bringing everything up close to see. I asked Doc about her vision problems and he told me that she has congenital myopia and as of now she is Ė 30 with visual acuity of 20/80. She inherited her poor eyesight from her father and mother. Her mother is no more but used to wear -15 D glasses and Doc himself is -20.

Doc and her daughter took a good care of me and in about 4 weeks I was able to stand up on my feet and was able to walk with some support. I was really thankful to them. During all these days, I got really attached to them and felt like a family member.

Finally, the cast was removed and I was back to normal. I asked the Doc how I could ever pay him back. Doc said to me that I am a nice man and had become a part of their family. He said that both he and her daughter like me and would like me to stay with them forever. He then asked me to marry her visually-impaired daughter and take care of her forever, if I really wish to pay back. I was really shocked by this. He asked me to think about it and let him know what I feel.

I was awake all night and kept thinking about the offer. I was always attracted towards girls with glasses and always wished of marrying one, now I was getting that opportunity. Also, I liked this small little town, far away from the urban rush. I have always thought of settling down in such a place. Also, I have been attracted towards Piya from the day I saw her. Her minified eyes behind her thick glasses and the way she used to bring everything up close to see used to turn me on. I had to say ďYesĒ to this proposal. Is this is my dream coming true?

Next morning, I woke up and Piya walked in with a cup of tea. As usual, I was spell-bound by her looks in her strong glasses along with her polite and timid personality. To my surprise, for the first time she talked to me. She heard the proposal her father has given to me and was very sorry to hear that. She asked me to decline as she didnít want me to take the burden of marrying her. She told me that her father is really worried about her marriage and has been searching hard for a match, but all have declined due to her extremely poor eyesight. I told her that itís not the case with me. Marrying her will not be a burden on me and I will not do so under any emotional pressure. As a matter of fact, I liked her a lot. I told her that she is very different from other girls and her beauty lies in her politeness and shy personality. However, I told her that I also donít want to force myself upon her by saying yes to the proposal. I asked her would it be fine if we spend some time talking to each other and try to know more about each other so we could decide. I said I will take permission from her father as she could never utter a word in front of him. She timidly agreed.

I went to the dispensary and told the Doc that I would like to explore the possibility of marrying Piya. He got ecstatic and hugged me and said that he would be very grateful. I then told him that I would like to spend few days talking to her to know her more and would also give an opportunity to Piya to find out if I am the one she would like to marry. He didnít like that and told me this canít happen. He said that I have been living with them for about 2 months and have seen and known her enough. I expected this from him. This is very typical behavior of a conservative Indian father. I assured him that there will be no disgrace to his name as I will not be taking his daughter anywhere outside his house. I just need to have some conversation with her to know her more. He reluctantly agreed and gave me few days. Also, I told him that Piya would be very shy to talk in front of him so he agreed to give us some space. We decided that I would spend some time with Piya while he works in his dispensary and he agreed to give few hours off to Piya from his dispensary.

Piya and I started talking to each other. The more I spent time with her; more I got mesmerized by her extremely thick glasses and poor eyesight. I was also greatly impressed by her soft and shy nature. She would definitely be a caring wife to anyone. She told me that she is not much educated as she could not continue her studies after high school due to her very poor eyesight. She told me about her poor eyesight since she was a kid. She said that her eyes kept worsening as she grew up and even with her strong glasses she could not see very well. She could only function in the familiar surroundings as even with her glasses she could see 20/80. She uses magnifying glass whenever she has to read a book or newspaper. She told me that she has a birth defect and cannot see at all in dim light or at night. It wasnít a curable form of night blindness for her. I got sexually aroused every time I was with her. Looking at her behind her ultra thick Ė 30 glasses fitted in large black frames that were more than an inch thick. The way she used to squint behind her glasses to look at me or anything that was about feet away from her was bliss for me. I knew that she is the one I want. I told her that I am in love with her and asked her if she would like to marry me.

Piya said yes but on 2 conditions. A, I will have to live with her in this village along with his father as she did not want to leave him alone. I willingly accepted it as I loved the calm and easy village life. B, she asked me if I would be willing to do anything for her, and grant her one wish, obviously, that I could afford. I had to say yes as I was now madly in love with her.

I got married to Piya and it was heavenly to watch her unfocused eyes on our first night. It was the first time she took her glasses off and safely kept them on the table beside the bed. She told me it was futile for her to wear her heavy glasses as she couldnít see with them at night anyway. Her eyes were beautiful. I grasped her in my arms and felt her warmth. She stopped me from moving further and asked me to first drink a glass of milk that she has kept for me. I quickly gulped it down and lied beside her on the bed, and I donít know when I fell asleep.

The next day I woke up to realize that I could see nothing and I was having severe pain in my eyes and head. My eyes were bandaged and I couldnít open them. A sudden chill went down my spine and I screamed with fear on what has happened to me. Piya held my hand and tried to calm me down, but I was inconsolable. I asked her what have they done to me! She told me all would be fine and I need to calm down and take rest so I could get better soon. She said that she loves me and is there to care for me. I was repeatedly asking her what have they done to me? She just said that I have fulfilled her second condition and that she loves me more than ever now. I asked have they made me blind by taking out my eyes! She held my hand and said not to worry, I will see again with my eyes.

Doc walked in and asked me how I am feeling. I told him I am having intense pain in my eyes. He gave me a shot in my arm and said that I will be fine soon and I should not worry. I had started to calm down and I wanted to have a dialogue with them on what have they done. They were just not telling me and were assuring that all would be fine and I should not worry.

I believe few days went by and my pain almost subsided. My wife and Doc took good care of me. I stopped asking them what have they done as it was futile and I knew their answer.

Finally, Doc said that itís time to unwrap my bandage. He slowly took off the bandage, placed glasses on my nose, and asked me to slowly open my eyes. I opened my eyes to see through very dark sunglasses and I could barely see things clearly. Everything was out of focus, hazy and distorted. I instantly removed sunglasses from my face but could not tolerate the exposure to sudden bright light. Doc quickly grabbed the glasses from me and placed them back on my nose. He told me I will ruin my eyes forever and will go blind if I donít use them. He told me to keep them as my eyes get accustomed to tolerate light again.

The next day Doc came to me and replaced the dark glasses with very heavy and thick glasses. I could see better with them, the room came into focus, but everything appeared very large. Large than usual! He then told me that he has surgically removed the natural lens of my eyes, the surgery which is done for cataract patients. He said now I donít have the natural lens and whatever I see thorough my bare eyes will be out of focus. Only the lens in these glasses will provide the power to correct the focus and provide me clear vision. I will only be able to function with the aid of these heavy glasses for the rest of my life. I couldnít believe that I was now seeing through terribly thick glasses, just like a mini telescope. Everything was bigger than its usual size. The ground appears much closer than it actually was. I felt disoriented and took it off, but I couldnít focus on anything. Everything was just out of focus. I had to put them back!

Piya held my hand and tried to console me. She said she knows exactly how I feel. She empathized that I will have to wear such strong glasses for the rest of my life, but she said that I have fulfilled the promise I made to her and that she loves me for this. She told me that this is what she had wanted from me. She had always been rejected in life due to her poor eyesight, though I accepted her with that disability but she wanted me to be the same so I could never leave her or deject her in future due to this.

Now, I am quite comfortable with my glasses. I actually canít live without them and I am totally dependent on them to see. My field of vision has been reduced and I have to see through the center of the lenses to see sharp and clear. I have very poor peripheral vision. I have to move my head when I have to look to the side. It gives me dizzy feeling if I move my head too fast. I believe my glasses are thicker or at least equal to Piyaís and I have two pairs, one for reading. I am happily married to Piya for 3 years now. Itís just that my eyes look big and magnified and my wifeís are minuscule!

Written by RJ in 2009

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