Conversation with a curious eye doctor!
My eyes have been bothering me even more lately, however I couldn’t go for checkup until today. I was recommended to wear glasses during my first eye exam in 2009, subsequently which I wore glasses. But as of late it seems to give me more problems than solutions to my already poor vision. I get terrible eye pain often leading to dizziness and headache. Despite sensing the deteriorating health of my eyes, I had been forced to put up with the same old glasses and continue to push my academic requirements first.
Now that I am officially done with the studies, first thing that I wanted to address is my eye problem. So today my Peruvian friend Bryan took me to the ‘Eyeglass World’ store for check up. I had an appointment at 3 pm with the doctor. At the counter, I was greeted by a lady receptionist and escorted to the doctor’s room after doing preliminary exams.
“Doctor will be here in a minute,” says she as she returns to the counter with a file. I nodded and took the seat right next to strange looking machines (equipments for eye exams).
Shortly after, the doctor walks in with his eyes fixed on the file he was carrying presumably the information that I provided.
“Hello, I am Dr. Stein. Nice to meet you!” He introduces and offers me a handshake.
“Hello Doctor, nice to meet you too!” I responded.
Seeing me wearing glasses already, he asks me if it was okay to “take a look”. I almost immediately took off and handed it to him. He leaves the room with my glasses and returns after a minute wiping the lenses with a piece of cloth.
“Why are you here for today?” And he continues, “You already have glasses. Do you have other problem?”
“I got this glasses in 2009, so I am assuming it’s a time to change. Moreover I am getting terrible eye pain and headache.”
He nods as he assembles the equipments and places on me. As usual he makes me look through the lens and instructs me to read the letters displayed on the board attached to wall.
“Where are you from?” He asks me while he writes down the exam results.
“Bhutan” I replied. Seeing his confused look I added, “It’s a very tiny country between Indian and China”.
As expected he scratches his head with his right hand, mumbles and finally says, “Then this could be Tibet?”
“No, it is not, but we are neighbors,” I fired back.
He nods and cleans the lenses simultaneously, after which he directs me to look through the lens and tell him “which one looks clearer”.
“Look, what I am curious about is that why Tibet is under China now.” He continues, “Do you think Tibet was a part of China ever? Is that why China took it over?”
Not knowing how to answer that question given a very little idea about the Tibetan history or Chinese for that matter, I simply said “Well, I might be kinda biased with what I am saying, but personally I feel like Tibet should be independent because from what I heard Tibet was an independent country ruled by a dharma king for ages!” Of course, deep inside, I knew I had no concrete backings whatsoever to what I have just said. But he will not simply take what I just said; instead seem to have triggered him more.
“So your country has Buddha Monks?” he asks me.
“Yeah, it’s a predominantly Buddhist kingdom.”
“Oh Tibet is also Buddhist country, isn’t it? There are so many Buddhist monks!” He says as he scribbles down something on a yellow paper.
“Yes that’s true,” I supported him.
“But why all of a sudden Chinese decided to kill those monks and take over the country? What did those monks do that Chinese didn’t like?” He quizzes me as If I am a political analyst or historian.
“Honestly, I don’t know! But still today the monks are being tortured and killed by the Chinese government every year as per the news,” I answered him in concerned tone.
“I know right,” he agrees with me. “You are just next to Tibet, and you still don’t know anything about that?”
I felt so ashamed! Luckily there were only two of us in his room. At first I didn’t know how to tackle that, but soon I recomposed myself.
“I guess all those problems happened in 50’s, so its hard for me to know!” signaling that I was born much later in case he has doubted me for a 60 or 70 year man (lol). But as it turns out, that was not his concern at all.
“Yes it has happened in 50’s, but not that long to be forgotten!” Of course he is right. “Does Bhutan have a good relationship with China?”
“I think so, kind of.”
“Your country being just next to China, aren’t you not worried about China doing just like what they did to Tibet? If they could do to Tibet and get away with it, do you think they would worry about doing to any other countries?” He sounded genuine.
I saw myself dump founded for a moment with that question.
“I hope they don’t do! Of course other countries are not to be fully trusted either, just like how they react to the Tibetan’s endless pleas. They don’t want to mess up with China given its economic super power, so they don’t dare bring up the issue with Chinese government whatsoever even if they support Tibetan!”
With that conversation my eye exam has come to an end. He tells me to wait at the counter while the receptionist checks me out.
“That will be thirty-nine ninety-nine ($39.99), how would you like to make a payment?” says a lady staring at me behind a Dell computer.
“Okay, by debit!” I handed her my Bank of America card.
I still don’t know if my eyes are healthy, but that conversation keeps striking me even now. I think he is right in every sense and we should be indeed worried about our country. Several national new papers have been reporting about dispute over border demarcation, which is yet to be settled between Bhutan and China, so hope the two governments will settle it with mutual respect and truer wisdom!
P.S. This was written yesterday but couldn't post until today!