It was the same dream again—it began with a loud bang. Seconds later, the windshield shattered and a blazing fire engulfed him.
He woke up with a shudder. His hands sprang up to his face and he felt bandages covering his eyes. For months together, darkness had been his sole company. But that morning, he was about to get his vision back. He was going to see himself—his new self for the first time.
On one hand, he was grateful. Destiny had decided to give him a second chance at life. But on the other, he was disoriented. He had been told that he had barely managed to survive the gruesome accident. He had endured third-degree burns and was scarred, probably for life.
A thousand thoughts flickered across his mind.
He remembered his face and wondered how different he would look now.
Will I recognise myself anymore?
He recalled his first acting opportunity in a low-budget movie. He sighed.
My career as an actor is over even before it started…
“Are you overthinking again? Calm down, you’ll figure it out,” the nurse’s voice assured him, as if she had read his mind.
He heard her open the window. The sound of firecrackers being burst a few streets away hit his ears. “It’s the eve of Diwali,” the nurse told him. With childlike glee, she went on to describe the dazzling colours of firework lighting up the early morning sky. She described them so vividly that he could picture them in his mind’s eye.
Many a time, he had tried to attach a face to her voice. She was empathetic and kind-hearted. When all he could see was blackness, her voice somehow filled his heart with colours. It was perhaps for those reasons that he always pictured her as a woman with delicate skin, long hair and gentle eyes.
The sound of footsteps interrupted his trail of thought. The doctor had come into the room. A series of tests and formalities followed.
An hour later, he finally felt the bandages fall apart.
“Now, son, slowly try opening your eyes,” the doctor told him.
He took in a deep breath and tried.
Bright light seemed to pierce right through his cornea. It seemed to burn whatever was left of him. After several attempts, the light seemed tolerable. Gradually, a heavy cloud seemed to lift off his eyes and he was able to see. When the doctor was done testing his vision, he looked around.
He recognised his parents. “Ma… Pa…” he uttered feebly.
“I want to see myself,” he said, swallowing hard.
The doctor nodded and a nurse brought him a mirror. One look at his reflection and his heart sank. He felt a deluge of anger, pain and despair surfacing all at once. He struggled to hold himself together.
“I know what you’re going through. You’ll be alright. Just give yourself time,” said a voice. It was hers. His eyes darted about the room in anticipation.
She came towards him with a box of sweets. He was stunned.
She was a goddess alright, and a unique one at that.
Her blissful face bore scars… burn marks. Yet she seemed to wear them proudly as a reminder of her second chance at life.
Her radiance seemed to dispel his dark clouds and gloom. He could finally see himself and the world anew.