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Saturday, January 7, 2012

If you can’t donate – don’t die

(This post is written for my college magazine - was rather forced to write such senti stuff)

What you are about to read, are hard facts bluntly put across.

That you still want to read it shows your naïve enthusiasm for some possible creative bravura. Do you really want to know what the best part about this entire page is?

… The fact that you can read it!

This man attending the eye OPD at PGI can’t read it. Because none of us who are reading it can offhand count even 5 people who have pledged their eyes. Is this statement wrong? No – the fact stares blatantly at us.

This patient has a simple question that we cannot answer. Has the Eye Bank received any eyes from any noble donor yet? Sadly, no! He breathes heavily and gives a poignant expression. Is his watering due to the illumination of the slit lamp or they’re just tears? It’s tough to find out and even more heart wrenching to think about. Maybe he has no emotions. He folds hands, bows and reaches out for his stick and nonchalant 9 year old daughter’s hand.

This patient is one amongst many who throng the Eye Centre of not only PGI, but God-alone-knows how many such centres all over India. But he tells me that people like him are few and ‘over’ privileged people with ‘good’ eyes definitely outnumber them. We agree. India has nearly 1.2 billion useless people who can’t help this guy even when they are dead. Offended? Think of living his life for even 2 days.

You know the best part of donating eyes? You don’t lose anything!

Too lazy to go and fill those forms? Disgusting!

It’ll disfigure the sacred body of my kin? Ignorance to the hilt!

So what’s stopping us? Wish we knew.

Getting a bad taste in your mouth? Then go for it, it’ll make you feel better. If you haven’t pledged your eyes yet, pull up your socks. Even if one-fourth of you pledge eyes after reading this, the purpose of this magazine is served. Talk to your family, friends, society and patients. Encourage them, teach them and counsel them.

Dear reader, we hope you got the message. Let there be light in the room even when you leave. You can enlighten the lives of at least two – and as science progresses – possibly more than 2 patients’ lives with your promise. Somebody tells us that if all people dying donate eyes – within 11 days no one in India would be cornea-blind.

We dwell in thoughts that someday this will come true and more people can wake up to a new life.