Hotel Kenilworth situated on Shakespeare Sarani, close to Park Street is a place I recall as a fine dining place and comfortable stay. Around Calcutta a place I first had been in the year 1970, this old monument still represents a British tint and texture. I was then told that Satyajit Ray used to stay and write from there.
Way back while working for a British Company, I was there with a group being trained on TEAM building. The trainer took us through an episode where a mind boggling feeling of trust was instilled. After the day sessions we were blind folded by someone with a black band of cloth. Till then I did not know who my partner was. I was nearly blind thereafter. I was advised that a partner will take me round eyes closed, through the streets of Shakespeare Sarani and surroundings, hand held. I was also advised that I needed to check out all sounds, murmurs, car horns and voices of people including that come from the loud speakers and whispers of boys and girls who throng the roads at that point of time. The message was to trust the instincts and the five faculties other than sight, as we walked. The journey began and ended in less than 15 minutes. Unfolded I saw my partner who was Saranya Ghoshal (Name changed). The rest of the people assembled and we were asked to address the group with the feelings we underwent during that short 15 minutes. The partners who handheld were told to address with their perspectives of appreciation of the blindfolded companion as they walked almost like blind people.
That trust building exercise completed with the appreciation of how less we trust our own feelings. The sense organs were the first casualty. We tend to ignore the instincts sent to our brains and recognize facets in relationships. We ignore body language as part of psyche. It was a lesson also to appreciate the distinct value of sight, a gift of God.
Rejoice for me came probably after four decades as I read an article in news paper on a hartal (bandh) day. The heading for the article was “a tunnel to realize the value of vision”. I read and recapitulated how I was influenced during the Kenilworth experience nearly four decades back.
Shahine and Ravi, visually impaired teachers guided some people with perfect eye sight through a tunnel comprising a village, beach, forest and Himalayas. That was to showcase the world those teachers live in and how they manage the world of darkness. The guides may never get back to light and sight, but the group with vision would. The people with vision were asked if they would like to have a second trip through the same tunnel for which they responded in negative. Blindness is not a welcome drink. This we need to note.
Innumerable advertisements and campaigns are on for the eye donation. Reuse of a defunct sense organ. Reclamation of a person less blessed to rejoice the world you lived, enjoyed and passed through. Free of cost for the donor and millions of dreams realized for the receiver.
My rejoice was more than the recall for me.
It was the students of Malabar College of Health Education, Eranjipalam, Kozhikode on World Sight Day that organized to spell SIGHT through experiencing DARKNESS.
I admit that my link that of Kenilworth and that I felt reading this in news papers gave me dimensions of truth that little belie the fact that our senses are to be trusted and the second one to rejoice and say that be a donor of eye.
I congratulate the organizers as well Kozhikode Mayor Thottatthil Ravindran who inaugurated the tunnel, that leads us to the idea to donate and help those with impaired vision.