By Ubeer Naqushbandi
Srinagar: A girl in veil is sitting quietly on a stool in the ophthalmology ward of SMHS hospital. Her eyes are fixed on a young man, whose both eyes are bandaged, lying flat on a bed.
Three boys, two girls and a middle-aged man are hovering around the bed. “We have decided to take him to LV Prasad hospital in Hyderabad for eye treatment,” they all say in chorus.
These are relatives of Dawood, 22, who has been hit by pellets in both eyes. A resident of old city’s Aali Kadal area, Malchimar Mohalla, Dawood was hit by pellets on August 25, when he was on his way home after attending a marriage function at a relative’s house in Nawakadal, his family said.
“It was Friday. I was returning home at about 6:15pm when forces deployed some metres away from Nawakadal Bridge shouted at me to stop. I was frightened and thought they would beat me. I decided to run. They chased me. Suddenly, from a small alley, a policeman appeared and pointed his gun at me. Everything turned black afterwards,” said Dawood in a low voice.
As Dawood narrated the event, the girl in the veil began to cry inconsolably. The other two girls went to comfort her.
Dawood’s father Riyaz Ahmed said, “Unfortunately, we belong to a part of the city which has been caged for its particular political sentiment. My son is the first from the old city to be hit by pellets in both eyes.”
Riyaz said his son was taken by locals to SMHS. “We heard about it from neighbours after half an hour of the incident.”
Already two rounds of surgeries have been done on Dawood. “On the first day, we operated his right eye and on the second day, on his left eye,” said a doctor wishing anonymity.
Dawood’s three friends, who have been with him all these days, remember their friend as a “jolly character”.
A “muscular hunk”, according to his friends, Dawood loved bodybuilding. His friends remember how he would never miss a gym session. “Ever since he joined gym some four years ago, he never missed a day. He used to do bodybuilding exercises rigorously.”
“He was preparing for next year’s bodybuilding contest to be held in Jammu. He also used to do modeling,” one of the friends said.
Now his three friends and family have hopes of Dawood’s recovering vision at LV hospital in Hyderabad.
The medical report of Dawood says that there are pellets all over his body and in both the eyes. “He is blind at the moment. We can only assess chances of his recovery after the final round of surgery,” said doctors.
The girl in the veil, who hasn’t taken her eyes off Dawood all this while, for the first time looked towards Dawood’s friends, her eyes reflecting extreme grief and agony. One of the friends whispered, “This girl is Dawood’s fiancée. They were engaged on the 20th of this month. We don’t know what will happen now.”
The girl in the veil probably heard what the friend said. Of a sudden, she spoke in loud voice, “Even if Dawood is, God forbid, blinded, I would marry him.”
This declaration moved everyone to tears. One of the friends said, “Love is blind.”