Posted by: gdevi | September 24, 2015

The Book of Night

A friend is struggling with all kinds of eye issues, and I was thinking today that I would be absolutely destroyed if my existing sight is to be taken from me. I have poor eyesight to begin with since I was about eight years old. But thank god I have never really lost my vision, though without my glasses you are a blur. But I was thinking today what it would be like to be blind, like Milton was. I have always loved Milton’s sonnet On His Blindness. Of the five senses, I value sight the most, followed by taste, then by touch, then by hearing, then by smell. If I were to lose my sight completely, I will move to Oregon and ask to be euthanized. I cannot imagine living blind. There was a room in my grandmother’s house which faced north and it had one window. It was always shut. It was always dark in that room. It was a very big room. Sometimes us kids would sleep in that cool glisteningly dark room when we visited on vacation. There would be ten or twelve of us sleeping this way and that way on mattresses thrown on the floor. Once you turn off the light, it was incredibly dark. I used to lie paralyzed when we slept in that room. I never slept. There was not one chink anywhere, neither on the wall nor the wooden ceiling nor the slate roof through which light could enter; I could not breathe. Once I stood up and tried to walk. But with each step I took it felt like I was sinking into a bottomless black ocean. I was heavy and weightless at the same time.  If you were to stand up and walk you would be disoriented and knock against the mountain in your way. It was that kind of rural heavy thick darkness. I would hear rain falling on the plantain bushes outside and by the well rain splattered audibly into the steel and aluminum buckets set there to catch rainwater. But you could see nothing nothing at all. I imagine blindness to be like that–something thick, heavy and impermeable like molasses, like that room. Night rain.

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