The Pirates of Madurai

On the way to work I see a beanpole of a man in a checked lungi riding a cycle. He is weaving through traffic holding a cell phone to one ear. A bus has been held up on the other side of the street by an unhurried line of water buffalos crossing the road. And up ahead is a frail, elderly woman sitting sidesaddle on a scooter, being driven by her son perhaps. She wears wide dark glasses, and over her left eye, behind the glasses, a bright pink post-surgery patch is visible. Like me, she’s on her way to Aravind. So many ‘pirate-patients’ on the streets around the hospital. One eye covered. With green or pink or white gauze patches. Or sometimes  simply with the palm of one hand. As they peer diligently at a vision chart. So many different faces, and each so beautiful.


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