Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another Diwali.....

Many years ago, almost 30 to be precise (I know, these "in our time" posts are becoming more frequent; but at 60+, one frequently looks backward :-)....),  the area where I have lived , was no so well developed, and we had to go to the next suburb for specialized errands. Like getting spectacles fixed.

I was the only one with specs then.  My in-laws often came to stay , and one time, my m-in-law's reading glasses had a lens fall out and crack.

A general check on one of the suburban main roads, led us to an optician's shop. It was around Diwali time, we expected some kind of rush in the shop, or possible bare minimum staff (given the festival season).  Instead , we were greeted by a young  smart lady with short hair, and huge confidence. She greeted my m-in-law respectfully, checked out her glasses,  had her sit and  do the eye checking for ascertaining the actual prescribed power,  had us wait for a while. Then she asked us where we lived. Turned out that it was on the way-home  from work for her, she would get the lens fixed up, and drop it off in the evening.   Of course, we were all terribly impressed because we had gone in expecting some guys to shake their heads and say "Cant say when we can give this; you see its Diwali and we don't have the full staff..."  etc etc.

My mother-in-law  actually patted the lady on her shoulders in approval . (Don't know what it is with that generation. My mother once did this to my dentist, because he fixed her denture(made elsewhere), to her satisfaction . But obviously, none of the young professionals minded that.)

Two days ago, in the rush of last minute Diwali stuff, I suddenly noticed a blurring vision in the right eye. We were in the thick of the pre Diwali street crowds in the neighboring suburb at noon, and for a minute all kinds of terrible things went through my mind. (We have recently had a medical scare in the family).  I removed my specs to clean them, and found an entire lens missing on the right. It must have fallen off somewhere, and by now , crushed to smithereens under various rickshaws, buses, cars, not to mention rushing feet.

 Of course, the prescription was old, I couldn't find it on reaching home; what's more I couldn't find my duplicate set of glasses too, because I never had to use them !  I cursed the timing of this event, happening as it did on the eve of Diwali. I mean optometrists workshops would be presumably closed for Diwali, and this wasn't something that could be handled "in-store" like a minor adjustment, or tightening of screws and so on.  I had another concern too. I needed the glasses to drive, and currently , due to some family medical limitations, I was the only person who was driving , in the family. It was imperative that, I rectify the situation , so I would be available if needed in any emergency.

I rushed to the local optometrist . I've seen the shop many times, been in there for adjustments and stuff , as well as prescription glasses for other family folks.  A doctor friend who treated me after a pothole fall 6 years ago (that resulted in a rib fracture) , walked with  me,  in the evening ,  to the shop. (She said she didn't like the idea of me falling again, since the potholes were even worse now, and no glasses meant I would probably misread the depth.  ) .

I told the guy in the shop, my problem.  He actually tested my eyes again, tallied the results with the existing injured glasses,   confirmed that there was a change, and had me look for a new frame, since the old one was not reliable any more.  He then assured me that he would try and deliver the glasses the next evening.

I asked about Diwali closures, and he said, they worked on all Diwali days; only Sundays were off. Throughout the year.  Maybe their workshops would have a skeleton staff. But they were never totally shut.

I was totally pleased, and returned home, to spend 24 hours, squinting at everything and everyone.  I even avoided walking around, because I couldn't recognize folks at a distance, and  it had once happened, that folks smiled and waved and I didn't respond, because I couldn't recognize them. (That's how I found out i needed long distance glasses, in the first place).

Late yesterday evening, I landed up at the optometrist. With a book, in case I had to wait.  The traffic is always bad, more so now, and their workshop was elsewhere in another suburb, and a delivery person would be coming from there. 

There was a lady in the shop. Attending to  a young girl with her mother, advising them about some lenses. The lady appeared to be my age. Or thereabouts. There was something familiar about her. I waited till the other customers left.

"Did you have a shop in XXXX earlier ? I think I have seen you there !"  me.

She smiled. Completely delighted.

"Yes we did. But that was ages ago. We closed shop that shop many years ago.  We now have 2 shops in this area. I attend to this one and my sister attends the other one. "

"I had come to the old shop with my saas. And you had fixed her reading glasses." Me.

"You know, its been so many years. I do remember. Because I never forget those who put an encouraging hand on my shoulder ! "

This was absolutely amazing.  Both of us had changed. A lot. In many dimensions. But we both remembered. Thirty years down the line.

She would be working throughout Diwali. At her shop.  I told her about my urgent need for the glasses.  She understood.   And told me not to worry. And to come back if there was any problem.

Someone who worked through Diwali. Except for Sundays.

The delivery boy turned up. My glasses were checked, okayed and given to me to try on. The clarity of vision lifted a weight of my mid. I would be able to drive again .

The potholes on the road were much more visible now.

I thanked them all in the shop, and wished them a very happy Diwali .

And left, to walk home.

And they stayed on, working, so that folks like me could have a tension free Diwali....

One more Diwali to remember. For the innate goodness of some folks.


  1. For some optometrists there is no Diwali.
    And for some bloggers too there is no Diwali?

    I am too old to be playing with crackers and also too old to eat all the goodies on this occasion.
    Mercifully I am still not too old to indulge in my favourite hobby these days viz prowling around blogosphere and looking for hapless blogger victims to inflict my long comments on.
    I visited my usual blogging haunts (IHM, Shail and a few others) and was disappointed not to find anything new.
    They are all probably busy lighting lamps.
    So it was with great pleasure that I landed here and found something new to read and comment on

    You need not be apologetic about your "in our time" posts.
    Yes, at 60 plus we have more of a past than a future and so it's hardly surprising that we tend to dwell on the past frequently.

    I have experienced what you went through, viz finding one lens missing all of a sudden.
    My wife blamed it on my fancy for a flimsy new matallic gold plated frame where the frame hugs the lens on three sides and where the lens is unsupported at the bottom. It's a basic design flaw which we ignore for the sake of good looks. She was right. I went back to the sturdy old thick plastic frame after that experience.

    During a trip abroad in the early nineties, I damaged my glasses in a mini accident and there was no time to get it attended as I was on the move all the time rarely staying more than 24 hours at any one place.
    I had a hard time seeing with one eye for a whole week. One lens was completely cracked up much like a broken car windshield and I had to put up with stares and giggles from airline counter girls, and waitresses at restaurants, and also got fed up explaining to everyone how it happened and why I was still wearing them.

    I am a sadder and wiser man. I now keep two pairs always.

    Meeting someone after 30 years and both of you remembering the incident was indeed remarkable.
    I look forward to meeting my old friends after 40 years, sometime in March next year.
    One of them is planning a grand alumnii meet and now that all of us (the ones still alive) are all 60 plus, we don't expect any one to wriggle out of this meeting. I have memories of incidents and events over 40 years old and I plan to pit my memory against those of my contemporaries and see if they can remember.

    Happy Deepawali

  2. That was wonderful Suranga. Meeting the very lady who attended your MIL. You should have hugged her the way old friends do.

  3. Lovely post! Keep them coming!

  4. What a wonderful story, to find that same woman who helped your mother-in-law, in a different location.
    I can certainly understand how you felt about being unable to see properly.
    I have had cataract surgery on both eyes, and I discovered the first cataract while I was far from home, driving my brother's brand-new vehicle in bad weather. I thought the weather was responsible for my burred vision, but when I reached a friend's house, it was still blurry. And I had to drive hundreds of miles back to my brother's house.
    That was 10 years ago this month, because my brother's daughter, my youngest niece, was born the day after I returned to their house. Even without a reminder as to the date, I'll never forget the horror of driving down from the mountains to the coast with bad vision.
    Yes, we have long pasts and our futures are not as long, but we can be grateful we remember, and are remembered by others.

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

  5. Awwww! isnt that cute....ekdum sahi feel good post

    Happy Diwali :)

  6. Some kinds of gestures and actions are difficult to forget, it wasn't just getting the job done in time, but also the way it was done... Glad you got a broken pair of glasses repaired in time again.

  7. GV Thank you for your detailed comments. Yes , there is a Diwali for this blogger, but sometimes, some experiences bring it all home to you amidst all the glitter and sweets, and one must take time off and write about it in a timely manner ! Hence this post .

    HHG Thank you ! and happy Diwali !

    Gigihawaii Thank you !

    Kay L. Davies That has to be one scary ride, driving from the mountains to the coast with faulty sight . Wow ! And thank you for the comments ...

    R's Mom Thank you, and happy Diwali !

    IHM I am certainly relieved at getting the glasses . And yes, like you said, it matters how it was done....Thank you ! and Happy Divali !

    Ernestine Thank you !

  8. Ur posts are filled with so much positiveness.. Gives one an inspiration to cherish life!