The small hours of the ninth of February—and we hear news of the death of former Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. Before I pray for the peaceful journey of his soul to the Elysium, it is high time that I said how we met in person all but by the fluke of fate. There are these afflictions in the eyes called cataract when you grow old.
30th September 2015 and a clear blue sky; late noon—informal message all on the floor that the visit of the Premier has been confirmed. All members of the hospital were astonished when a group of expert-looking guys in plainclothes rummaged and inquired about the room to be used for the Prime Minister’s eye examination. Gosh! This was happening and happening very real, this time.
All of a sudden, the calm and composed ambiance turned rather tempestuous when a column of vehicles trundled –whistling and honking –to park. Quite a while before he got down from the car, accompanied by Dr. Shashank Koirala and assisted by Atul Koirala, the security personnel flanked him. The Reiyukai Eye Hospital family was waiting in line to welcome Mr. Koirala, wearing smiles in face, holding floral garlands on hand. With the final greetings by Dr. Sagun Joshi, our team leader, we headed for his vision test and power test.
To my dismay, his vision was too poor—a normal person could see the letter 60 meters across which Sushil Koirala would only see from 6 meters. Well, he used to take help from others while having to work with small prints in dim light. I measured the power of his glasses, refracted his eyes. He was then taken to another room for eye examination. Dr. Sagun and Dr. Shashank collaboratively advised the right eye cataract surgery. After that came again my part: I was to do biometry—a procedure to determine the power of the lens to be implanted into his eye during surgery.
I imagined: Oh Almighty! This man is currently the most important and powerful person in Nepal. It seemed as if not a single district-level dignitary was missing. My mouth was dry and my ears were scarlet red.
As I instilled eye drops in his eye, bizarre thinking conjured up in my mind. Should by any chance there be a small error in my power calculation, his eye would be blurry. He didn’t speak a word as my hand shook as if there were 8 Richter earthquakes, and he blabbered, “Your hand is shaking more than mine.” Sagun Sir comforted him and I gathered breaths to perform my task.