One of the most famous quote by Helen Keller was: “The worst calamity: To have eyes and fail to see”.
This is one of my most loved quotation. To this day, this quote still rings clear in my ears when I first heard it from a blind lady university student over 33 years ago while I was doing my first degree in a local university. That brief encounter has a profound effect on my life and at that time it lifted me from a deep abyss of pain, hurt and self-recrimination when my first love left me and in her words (which incidentally I still could remember to this day), “I have never knew that our love would bring me so much trouble. I want a respite to think things over. So see me no more.” Quote unquote.
And with that she walked away and never come back.
It was always the first cut that was the deepest. Peripherally the wound had healed, the scars long gone but over the years there were still flashbacks, occasionally the nightmares came and periodically sweet dreams lingered on to the morning break of the happier times we had together. It was my first romance, my first love and my first relationship with a woman. Being such a sentimental fool, I indulged in self-pity, kept asking myself where had this gone wrong, why did she spurned me for no apparent reasons, why was fate so cruel to take away my happiness and how long could I keep my sanity.
Our story was not one those great love tragedies that involved star-crossed lovers, two-timings betrayal, deceit and unfaithful, rich girl and poor boy, different skin, faith and culture and a host of other reasons where the two shall meet, love and break apart. It was just an ordinary mundane tale not worthy of mention at all for she spurned me for the simple reason that her parents just did not like my face. Or this was what I understood at that time.
Then in the darkest of the dismal days that followed when she walked away, I encountered a blind lady when she opened up my reach to the world beyond where there was always love, trust and sincerity, when she opened up my eyes to the struggles of the blind and when she opened up my heart to give me a true understanding and meaning of life. That was when I became interested in the welfare of the blind.
I went to the university library to learn all about Helen Keller and I re-read “The Story of My Life” written by her for the umpteen time. I learned about Louis Braille. I learned about how the blind cope with their lives in their world of blackness and not of darkness. I learned that the blind never wallowed in self pity, drown themselves in self sorrow and loved the unreachable world of light but hated the people with sight. I learned to treasure the little things that I still have rather than the things that I have lost.
That night I cried myself to sleep and sleep did not come easy. When morning dawn I was up and going and I knew what I had to do. I will soar again…..
Enough for today.
(Please read the continuing story in my up and coming post.)