Nothing clarifies to me the preciousness of being alive than the renewed knowledge of a physical limitation.
When I close my left eye and try to read this page with only my right eye I don’t see so well – the vision is mildly blurred and accompanied by a faint darting black dot that no spectacles or surgery can remedy.
13 years ago, around this time, in the first few months of the new year, on my first visit and stay in London, I had suddenly lost vision in my right eye while working on the editorial desk of the BBC’s South Asian Regional Unit at the now historic and former Bush House.
Thankfully, despite all the doleful and flat-faced diagnoses I was given at the various clinics my dear friend Aasiya dragged me to, my vision did return over those first few scary weeks, but it has never come back in full.
Lots of case studies I have read since make me feel grateful that I ‘got away’ with just a diminished quality of vision – and not a complete loss.
And this evening, when I accidentally closed my eye and realised that I do indeed live with an eye that doesn’t see as well as it could have, or as well as the other, does, it comes to me so clearly how futile all the other fights and nagging and arguments and rages are; what is not futile is being reminded how lucky I am to have been loved the way I was by people and friends who had just got to know me in a place so far from home; to be alive at all and to have sight; and to have at least a handful of people around me who care about how I am.
The hard part is remembering all this at every moment, without having to shut one eye, every day!