lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Saturday, March 04, 2006


What do you do if you wake up and find you can't open your eyes because they are gummed up and gritty?

I washed them out and took a critical look at them. Definitely red. Blood red, in fact. After imagining burst blood vessels and running all possible causes through my mind, I checked my household medical encyclopedia. (Don't laugh, I have all sorts of reference books, it is one them) No help there.

So I went to the doctor. He is a nice man, and never over-prescribes. He even makes house-calls, so he is a treasure, much like the virtuous woman whose worth is more than rubies. :D He diagnosed, prescribed and dispensed advice.

Diagnosis: probable allergy to the painting activity that is going on at my building. Dust, paint fumes and so on. Prescription: eye drops, and an ointment. Advice: keep your windows closed, avoid the paint fumes; and rest the eyes, don't strain them.

Ha. Ha bloody ha! How do you rest a faculty that is needed for most things? Do I chop vegetables with my eyes fully closed, as against half-closed as they are now? Do I cross the street with my eyes closed? What do I do in the afternoons, fill my crosswords with my eyes closed? Read my weekly ration of books with my eyes closed?

After fuming and ranting mentally for a satisfying minute, because I am a model patient and follow doctor's orders, I thought about how to reduce strain on my eyes.

I don't watch television, but do read the papers. Perhaps I could do without reading papers for a week? I could save myself the daily dose of outrage and aggravation at misprints, poor language and worse. No news is good news, anyhow.

Perhaps I could increase font sizes and that would lessen the strain of staring at the screen five hours or more a day, surely? (Since there is no way I am going to stop my regular activities and spend the week with my eyes shut and safely resting. :D)

Crosswords are sacred so I will go on doing them regardless, but with books I ought to heed the doctor. No books with small print and densely packed text, I decided. I have a large-ish library at home, so may be I ought to re-read some of the old favourites, those with large print.

With the noble intent of being a good patient, I searched my shelves for books with large easily readable print. That's why I am now reading through my collection of children' s books. :D

The illustrated fairy tales and nursery rhymes didn't last me a day. I am now reading Ukrainian Folk Tales, which might last me through this evening. I have omnibus volumes of Lear and Carroll and annotated Sherlock Holmes to look forward to next.

After that though, I am afraid I'll have to flout doctor's orders and read from the pile of books I was hoping to finish this week!



Anonymous Arnab said...

I usually just sleep when I have to rest my eyes. And I practice it so often that I have taken sleeping to a whole new level. Thinking of authoring a book- The Art of Sleeping. ;)

10:40 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

That would be the prescribed cure for insomnia, once it hits the bestsellers list. :)

2:52 pm  

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