Two women help homeless blind man see again

Jan 26, 2012, 10:42 IST | Vaishali Chandra

Seeing the dispossessed and sightless man being assaulted by beggars, two youngsters took him to a medical centre, where a doctor agreed to operate on his eyes free of cost

Seeing the dispossessed and sightless man being assaulted by beggars, two youngsters took him to a medical centre, where a doctor agreed to operate on his eyes free of cost

To say that bleak, dark times had befallen Chandrakant Daji over the past eight years would be an understatement. In a series of catastrophic incidents, the 55-year-old -- who was once the patriarch
of a large family -- was deserted by his two children and three siblings, and then rendered homeless when
his house burnt down. Finally, his dim, grey life was rendered pitch dark, when untreated cataracts in both
eyes rendered him sightless. But the recent act of selflessness by two large-hearted youngsters and a doctor
has helped bring back both light and hope in the man's life.

Spotting him being assaulted by beggars on a street last month, the do-gooders took him to a nearby hospital.
Moved by their generosity, the doctor performed the surgery pro bono.

"Eight years ago, I used to stay in a chawl at Girgaum. But unfortunately, the building collapsed. Since then, it
was never redeveloped. Nor did my daughters or brothers come forward to help me. Nobody bothered to find out my whereabouts, and I was left all alone," said Daji, speaking to MiD DAY.

For almost a decade, a squalid patch outside the Don Bosco Church served as the man's dubious dwelling, with no one casting so much as a passing glance in his direction, leave alone lending a helping hand.

His tribulations continued till the fortuitous day last month, when Aarzoo Ali Khan (26), an aspiring actress and Silky Mehra (20), a student of Kalina University saw Daji being cornered by beggars outside Don Bosco Church. The confrontation intensified, and soon the two concerned onlookers saw two beggars roughing up Daji.

"Even after repeated warnings, the beggars didn't stop assaulting him. Seeing his abject condition, I
decided to take him to a doctor, to ascertain the reason for his blindness. On December 22 last year, we
took Daji to the Shanmukhananda Jasubhai RK Shah Medical Centre in Sion (East). We learnt that
Daji had cataracts in both his eyes. We decided to get him treated," said Mehra.

This was the definitive turning point in Daji's life, and all the stars seemed to have aligned in his favour. Learning that the two good samaritans had decided to sponsor the man's surgery,officials at the medical centre offered to conduct the surgery free of cost. Dr Meghali Bhattacharya performed a procedure called phacoemulsification with lens on Daji's left eye on January 2. The same procedure was performed on his right eye on January 23.

Dr Bhattacharya said, "He will be fine within a few weeks.

He will be able to see clearly as well. This incident has inspired me. I have never come across such humble and generous youngsters.

Both of them brought the old man in, holding him firmly, as he had completely lost his vision."

Expressing his gratitude for the duo and the doctors, Daji said, "The two youngsters and the doctor are like God for me.

They have completely changed the course of my life. I had lost all hope of seeing this beautiful world again. But now I will start a new life with this new gift of vision. I want to live a respectable life, by selling stationery."
Mehra said, "I am inspired by the words of the Bible. Even a year ago, I never used to look at the unlucky people, or come forward to help them. My friend Aarzoo encouraged me to live a life where real happiness comes when we see others happy.

But this would not have been possible had the doctor not helped us. My family also supported me."

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