The Eyes Have it by Ruskin Bond is the story of a blind man who thought he was very smart at behaving like a sighted (able to see) man. Once he was on a train with a female passenger, just the two of them alone. The man struck (started) a conversation with the girl without giving away with (making known) his blindness. The two talked about the beauty of the hillsides that they were passing by. At Shahranpur, the girl got down after a few pleasant words and the man really felt lonely. When the train was about to leave, a male passenger got in. From this new companion the narrator learnt something about the girl who was now gone. What was so very special about the girl?
- Two Passengers in northbound train
- A lively chat
- Shahranpur Station
Opening – Two Passengers in northbound train
- The narrator is a blind man. He was in a train bound to Dehradun, north of India. At Rohana Station the train stopped and a girl came in with her guardians giving her instructions through the window.
- The narrator, this blind man, was a little attracted to girls and women – pretty ones. He saw that the girl’s slippers slapped against her heels and made sounds. He liked her voice as well.
- It was quite queer, the girl who entered the coach didn’t see the narrator either. May be he was seated in a dark corner. The narrator didn’t like it. He blamed the girl for not observing him. He wondered how people with sight can be so careless. The narrator was altogether willing to bring his blindness to the girl. If she didn’t notice, he could travel like a perfect gentleman.
- Where was the narrator going to?
The narrator was a going to Dehradun and then to Mussoorie.
- Why was the girl’s entry a great relief for the narrator?
The narrator had been traveling all alone in his compartment. He was bored of this lonely journey so the girl’s arrival was a welcome sign for him. Besides, he was fond of talking to people.
- How did the narrator learn that his companion in the compartment wore slippers?
Blind but a keen observer, the narrator was good at taking every perceptual stimuli from his surroundings. From his experience of sounds, he learnt that the girl who presently got into the compartment wore slippers from the sound of its back slapped against her heels.
- What was extraordinary about the girl’s relatives?
The girl’s relatives, a man and woman, probably the girl’s parents, seemed very anxious about her comfort. The woman gave the girl detailed instructions as to where to keep her things, when not to lean out of windows, and how to avoid speaking to strangers.
Next – A lively chat
- The girl informed him that she was up to Saharanpur. He aunt would be waiting at the station. The narrator’s perverted behavior is revealed a bit. He said he had better keep a distance from the girl because he was scared of aunts.
- May be he was expecting the girl say – “Well, don’t mind my aunt. Let’s get along!” The girl asked where the narrator was going. He said he was heading to Dehradun and then beyond, to Mussoorie. The girl sounded sad. She wished if she too could be going to Mussoorie because she loved hilly areas, especially in October.
- To present himself as a blind man, the narrator agreed to that. He further described the beauty of the hills, the wild dahlias, the warmth of the sun, the cool nights. Note that the narrator was once a sighted man. Gradually he lost his sight.
- The narrator made the impression that he was a sighted man and the girl had no doubt about that. The journey continued. But the narrator did something foolish. He asked the girl how the world outside looked. He blamed him for it but soon he was cheered. The girl asked him – “Why don’t you look out of the window?” The question cheered him but felt hurt. Why couldn’t she reply politely?
- What was the narrator’s first question to the girl? How did she respond to this?
The narrator’s first question to the woman was if she was going all the way to Dehra. Probably because he had been sitting in a dark corner that his voice startled the woman. She gave a little exclamation and said that she didn’t see him.
- How does the narrator express his discontent with people who have eyesight?
The narrator is a little disturbed whenever he notices the blindness of the sighted people. Although they are able to see, they don’t really observe. It appears that they have too much to take in which causes their blindness to important things in life and in the nature.
- How are blind people different from people with eyesight?
While people with eyesight often fail to see the really beautiful and essential things, blind people take in only the essentials, whatever registers tellingly on their remaining senses.
- Why does the narrator feel that people with good eye sight fail to see what is in front of them?
Being blind for a good portion of his life, the narrator had learnt wonderful lessons about blindness. He often noticed that people with sight are worse than those without sight. Although they are able to see, sighted people often fail to see things that they should really see. In the modern, fast and furious world, people see only that benefit them materially but fail to see things that give them endless happiness.
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Class 11 Elective English Literature Course