Restored Vision Thaws Frozen Dreams
Tring, tring… tring, tring…
Every afternoon, the sound of a bicycle bell beckoned children into the narrow streets of Line Bazar village in Bihar.
Energetic youngsters and wobbling toddlers run towards the chime. With a smile on their faces and few coins clenched in their fists the kids huddle around.
Me first… me first…,
chants the infant crowd.
Be patient… there’s enough for everyone”,
sounds a man from the epicenter of the chaos.
It’s Muharam Miyan, the local ice cream man. The sweltering summer months of April to July is the best time for his business. After all, selling ice cream to these kids is the only way to support his family; wife, three daughters, and five sons.
Like clockwork Muharam, his bicycle and homemade ice cream would appear every afternoon. Like the pied piper of Hamelin, his bell would draw out the children. It would be their cooling comfort during smoldering summer afternoons.
Everything changed during the summer months of 2019. The very familiar bicycle bell did not resonate in the streets. Anxious children peeped through ajar windows only in vain.
Alas, the ice cream man did not come…
Being the sole bread earner in a family of ten can be risky. Muharam realised this as he lost his vision to cataract affecting both his eyes. Surmounting financial burden forced him to take his children out of school. His wife started to work as a daily wage labourer, to make ends meet somehow.
The lively man, who used to spread happiness among children on the streets, became confined to his room. Sightless and helpless, he started spending his days dependent on others.
Like the ice cream in his vending pot… his DREAMS for existence FROZE too.
When Muharam had lost all faith, one day some words of hope entered his ears. He heard an announcement made from an auto rickshaw about an eye camp being organised at his village.
Muharam got up from his bed. Fumbling his way he placed his right ear in-between the iron bars of the open window in his room.
Come and get your eyes checked at the eye camp to be held at your village tomorrow, organised by Eastern India’s largest Eye Hospital, Akhand Jyoti,
were the words that entered his ear.
Muharam’s frozen dreams thawed. He summoned the courage and stumbled his way to the eye camp the next day. There he was diagnosed with cataracts in both the eyes by Akhand Jyoti’s outreach team. Being affected with bilateral cataract, Muharam case was given high priority.
The very next day, Akhand Jyoti made arrangements to bring him to the Mastichak Hospital. After further examination by the doctors and proper counseling, Muharam’s right eye was operated and he could see once again.
Akhand Jyoti has been the greatest blessing in our lives. I almost sent my sons to hunt for odd jobs to sustain the family.
Shares Muharam with tears of joy after regaining vision in his right eye.
Muharam was taken back to his village, a happy and contented man. As part of the patient monitoring process, Akhand Jyoti’s outreach team visited his village a few days later to follow up on his wellbeing.
The team witnessed that Muharam had started to resell ice cream. He had regained the means to earn a livelihood. His children were back to school.
I am so happy to be able to work again. Summer months are still here, it seems I can still make some money this season and continue my children’s education.
An elated Muharam declares with joy.
Muharam is presently overwhelmed with the quality eye care received from the compassionate clinical team at Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital. He is eagerly waiting to return to get his left eye operated as well.
Once again the children on the streets of Line Bazar will hear the bell of the ice cream man.
Many smiles returned, much comfort bestowed and a livelihood restored, saving a family of ten.