A RAINBOW

Sonali Mehta

Intern

TNMC&BYL NAIR CH hospital

 

On a July morning, Dhruvi finally woke up to switch off the snooze on her alarm. That was not the first time this year when she was bored to attend college. As a part of her daily routine, while still in bed, she pulled out a note and a pen and started remembering how many days has she “bunked” yet. Alas! To her despair, she had missed enough days to touch just the 80% mark on her PSM postings at college. “No rickshaws! Muddy water filled puddles! Crowded trains and buses! And by the time one reaches college, dirty clothes with little splatter marks on the back of the black jeans! All these, just for a god damn attendance”, thought Dhruvi.

 

This was just the middle of her pre-final year at MBBS. Previous night, Ophthalmology with its altogether new terms that made her feel dyslexic, had inactivated Dhruvi’s Reticular Activating System so strongly that even strongest black coffee wasn’t working. While on her way to her college, Dhruvi checked the schedule where she realized that another journey on a bus was awaiting to test her patience with the rains for the day. “A Trip to the Central Labour Institute” read the schedule!

 

As expected, Dhruvi didn’t find a rickshaw and so she embarked upon her first adventure of her day. While still mentally cursing the rains and of course the rickshaws, she started walking towards the station. Being a responsible citizen, she waited at the zebra crossing till the signal for vehicles turned red and that for pedestrians turned green. However, being an irresponsible “newborn-adult”, checking the phone while crossing is just the most important thing to do! Just then, she heard a honk coming closer to her and she realized that she had a very well co ordinate auditory and ocular pathways! As she turned her head to the other side she saw a huge red monster about to eat her up! Of course, the red coloured BEST bus that was about to take her life away fit perfectly with the analogy! The policemen came rushing to charge the bus driver! “Disat nahi ka? Signal bandh zalaaahe!” Not giving a crap and just thanking the gods for her life, Dhruvi walked away.

After all the not-so-romantic walk in the rains, the train travelling, puddle hopping, and finally barely making in time for attendance, Dhruvi reached the Central Labour Institute with her colleagues and the accompanying resident doctor.

 

The first lecture was based on pre employment health testing. “Every field demands its own arena of  health status. We are very well aware that if you have refractory error or in layman’s terms Spectacles, you cannot join the defence forces. “, the doctor at CLI started the lecture. At first when it seemed boring, the next part that concerned testing for vision in the bus drivers caught Dhruvi’s attention. Nostalgia from previous night made her focus very well.

 

“Colour Blindness is a very well known and a very common defect that especially occurs in the males due to its X-Linked recessive inheritance. As all know, that in our eyes, cones are the receptors that perceive colours. There are three types of cones for the three primary colours, red, blue, green. When these cones are stimulated in different combinations, all variety of colours can be perceived by us. Now talking about the defects that can occur, are as follows:

Monochromatic colour blindness means that a person can appreciate only a single colour out of the three primary colours. Dichromatic colour blindness means the person can appreciate any two of the three primary colours.

When a person cannot see Red, he is called a Protanope; for green Deutranope; and for blue Tritanope.

Red green colour blindness as we know it, is the commonest and leads to inability to differentiate between the two colours.

Trichromatic colour blindness means that a person can appreciate all the three primary colours but only partially.”

Interesting.  The thoughts that were racing in Dhruvi minds were all due to Dopamine surge that she was experiencing because of first showers of understanding Ophthalmology! What came next, was the part that gave her goosebumps!

“Train drivers, bus drivers, applicants for licences for two and four wheelers are all pre screened  to rule out colour blindness. Its very important for them to be able to be differentiate between the colours of the signal lights which are inclusive of the red and green colours. Various methods exist that can test colour vision. Ischihara charts are the commonest tools used.”

“In our sytem, where a green and red coloured notes can solve any problem, who will sit to test these drivers? And even if they do, what’s the guarantee the results aren’t forged?”,asked one of her colleagues to the doctor at CLI.

“You are right. These rules need to be applied strictly. However, there are some loose strings!”, saying this, he pulled out an article and red it aloud. “153 BEST bus drivers found to be colour blind. At a surprise test visit by the Health services found out that 153 city bus drivers could not differentiate the colours of the signal lights! Although the accidents that have happened in the past could be blamed on rash driving, etc. now are being considered a possible result of colour blindness of the driver!”

Dhruvi was nothing but grateful for her life but angry at the same time, and ashamed of the system that we live in! “These bus drivers are going to be suspended immediately”, further read the doctor. “That’s exactly what should happen to them! ”, thought Dhruvi. The next thought that entered her mind was, if the defect is oddly so common, and a person who has done nothing but drive buses for his entire life, suddenly gets unemployed, how would he earn his living? How would he educate his children so that they at least get a chance to learn about such health issues and thus contribute towards social awareness? “However, due to humanitarian reasons, and no fault of their own, the drivers would be suspended from their duties and instead be offered table front jobs by the government”, read the doctor. A sigh of relief put an end to her thoughts.

“ The skies wept as the little girl did, and in an attempt to make her glee, sky created the nature’s most beautiful scene! 

A Rainbow!

Disappointed that the little girl still cried, may be the sky didn’t know, the rainbow never rose in her eyes

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