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Vidya’s Story

Seventy-year-old Ms Vidya relishes in cooking and hemming old clothes in her new innings with vision. A resident of Dudhua village , Vidya lives in a thatched-roof abode with two sons and a daughter in-law. The elder son takes care of his conjugal family and does not contribute for the mother’s welfare. It is the younger son who shoulders this responsibility with the modest earnings of a suburban commercial driver. A fragile economic standing has kept him from contemplating the prospect of marriage. The mother and son support each other in their own ways, financial and familial.

Seven months ago, Vidya’s twilights were besieged by the paleness of dim-flickers on her eyes as she struggled to comprehend the shape of objects in the house. If sunsets carried the spectre of darkness, the morning Sun wielded a brightness so fierce that Vidya’s aging eyes recoiled in fear. Something very basic and lifelike was missing. It had become increasingly difficult to see.

Vidya does not reminisce the precise month in her calendar when her eyesight began to wane, but holds a resolute memory of the onerous labour spent on altering her daily schedule to make peace with the looming darkness. Food preparation, dishes and the juxtaposition of utensils in the kitchen had to follow a gruelling timeline as if destined by the quotidian sky stretched above her thatched household.

When the going got tough and beyond consolation, Vidya decided to visit a private clinic where a surgery was prescribed. A household fraught with poverty shuddered at the cost this decision would exact. Vidya’s own fears of losing the last remnants of sight in her seventies delivered the last nail to the possibility of surgery.

Back in her village, it was her younger son who brought the news of an eye camp being organised by UAPF Supported by Sightsavers’ Rural Eye Health Programme (Run by Mahadev Singhvi Eye Hospital). Vidya admits that she floundered incessantly about whether or not to attend the camp, fearing the disappointment that another unaffordable proposition might bring. But a survivalist zeal mastered over seventy arduous years finally steered her to get up and step out.

The Camp team identified cataract in both her eyes, prescribed an all expenses covered surgery while quickly dispelling her doubts and myths about the procedure. Vidya discussed with her younger son and it was not long before the mother and son were driving down the road to the hospital, diffident yet willing. Upon arrival, Vidya found comfort in the demeanour and care offered to her by the hospital staff. Meals were served with careful solace and assurances came hand in hand.

One cataract operation later, Vidya is able to see the world and perform the household chores with a newfound ease. As she narrates her story, a smile unfolds on her wrinkled face. She is confident to get the second eye operated soon. There is a palpable confidence in her voice which fills the room and resonates what it means for an aging woman in rural countryside to see the world around her.

Vidya is currently preparing for the second surgery based on the recommendations of the hospital. She extends her gratitude to UAPF, Sightsavers and Mahadeo Singhvi Eye Hospital for helping her in getting back sight. The sighted seventies.


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