The Eyes Have It – Ruskin Bond

I had the train compartment to myself up to Rohana, then a girl got in. The couple who saw her off were probably her parents; they seemed very anxious about her comfort, and 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.

They called their goodbyes and the train pulled out of the station. As I was totally blind at the time, my eyes sensitive only to light and darkness, I was unable to tell what the girl looked like; but I knew she wore slippers from the way they slapped against her heels.

It would take me some time to discover something about her looks, and perhaps I never would. But I liked the sound of her voice, and even the sound of her slippers.

‘Are you going all the way to Dehra?’ I asked.

I must have been sitting in a dark corner, because my voice startled her. She gave a little exclamation and said, ‘I didn’t know anyone else was here.’

Well, it often happens that people with good eyesight fail to see what is right in front of them. They have too much to take in, I suppose. Whereas people who cannot see (or see very little) have to take in only the essentials, whatever registers most tellingly on their remaining senses.

‘I didn’t see you either,’ I said. ‘But I heard you come in.’

I wondered if I would be able to prevent her from discovering that I was blind. Provided I keep to my seat, I thought, it shouldn’t be too difficult.

The girl said, ‘I’m getting off at Saharanpur. My aunt is meeting me there.’

‘Then I had better not get too familiar,’ I replied. ‘Aunts are usually formidable creatures.’

‘Where are you going?’ she asked.

‘To Dehra, and then to Mussoorie.’

‘Oh, how lucky you are. I wish I were going to Mussoorie. I love the hills. Especially in October.’

‘Yes, this is the best time,’ I said, calling on my memories. ‘The hills are covered with wild dahlias, the sun is delicious, and at night you can sit in front of a logfire and drink a little brandy. Most of the tourists have gone, and the roads are quiet and almost deserted. Yes, October is the best time.’

She was silent. I wondered if my words had touched her, or whether she thought me a romantic fool. Then I made a mistake.

‘What is it like outside?’ I asked.

She seemed to find nothing strange in the question. Had she noticed already that I could not see? But her next question removed my doubts.

‘Why don’t you look out of the window?’ she asked.

I moved easily along the berth and felt for the window ledge. The window was open, and I faced it, making a pretence of studying the landscape. I heard the panting of the engine, the rumble of the wheels, and, in my mind’s eye, I could see telegraph posts flashing by.

‘Have you noticed,’ I ventured, ‘that the trees seem to be moving while we seem to be standing still?’

‘That always happens,’ she said. ‘Do you see any animals?’

‘No,’ I answered quite confidently. I knew that there were hardly any animals left in the forests near Dehra.

I turned from the window and faced the girl, and for a while we sat in silence.

‘You have an interesting face,’ I remarked. I was becoming quite daring, but it was a safe remark. Few girls can resist flattery. She laughed pleasantly – a clear, ringing laugh.

‘It’s nice to be told I have an interesting face. I’m tired of people telling me I have a pretty face.’

Oh, so you do have a pretty face, thought I: and aloud I said: ‘Well, an interesting face can also be pretty.’

‘You are a very gallant young man,’ she said, ‘but why are you so serious?’

I thought, then, I would try to laugh for her, but the thought of laughter only made me feel troubled and lonely.

‘We’ll soon be at your station,’ I said.

‘Thank goodness it’s a short journey. I can’t bear to sit in a train for more than two-or-three hours.’

Yet I was prepared to sit there for almost any length of time, just to listen to her talking. Her voice had the sparkle of a mountain stream. As soon as she left the train, she would forget our brief encounter; but it would stay with me for the rest of the journey, and for some time after.

The engine’s whistle shrieked, the carriage wheels changed their sound and rhythm, the girl got up and began to collect her things. I wondered if she wore her hair in bun, or if it was plaited; perhaps it was hanging loose over her shoulders, or was it cut very short?

The train drew slowly into the station. Outside, there was the shouting of porters and vendors and a high-pitched female voice near the carriage door; that voice must have belonged to the girl’s aunt.

‘Goodbye,’ the girl said.

She was standing very close to me, so close that the perfume from her hair was tantalizing. I wanted to raise my hand and touch her hair, but she moved away. Only the scent of perfume still lingered where she had stood.

There was some confusion in the doorway. A man, getting into the compartment, stammered an apology. Then the door banged, and the world was shut out again. I returned to my berth. The guard blew his whistle and we moved off. Once again, I had a game to play and a new fellow-traveller.

The train gathered speed, the wheels took up their song, the carriage groaned and shook. I found the window and sat in front of it, staring into the daylight that was darkness for me.

So many things were happening outside the window: it could be a fascinating game, guessing what went on out there.

The man who had entered the compartment broke into my reverie.

‘You must be dissapointed,’ he said. ‘I’m not nearly as attractive a traveling companion as the one who just left.’

‘She was an interesting girl,’ I said. ‘Can you tell me – did she keep her hair long or short?’

‘I don’t remember,’ he said, sounding puzzled. ‘It was her eyes I noticed, not her hair. She had beautiful eyes – but they were of no use to her. She was completely blind. Didn’t you notice?’

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138 responses to “The Eyes Have It – Ruskin Bond

  1. Thanx a lot!! :)

  2. Good one !!! Pretty interesting

  3. PERINKOLAM.G.IYER KRISHNAMURTHI

    This story moved me a bit. I do not want to read such stories.in future.
    Both the girl and the main character will be in my memory for long.

  4. Michelle Bailey

    Thanks a lot…

    Love this story…. i read in my tenth grade english textbook and it has always stayed with me.

  5. I read this story long time back in a newspaper “The Telegraph”. This story has always been one of my favorites. Thanks a lot.

  6. This is my favourite short story.I read it in my textbook in college.But keep reading it again and again…touching story!

    Good work by the great author.Thanks for posting it.

  7. Superb story, brings back many memories…

  8. I love Ruskin Bond’s short stories and this one is quite surreal. If it weren’t for the irony that both the protagonists were blind, it would seem like a jejune story. This is a beautiful story.

    • PRIYANKA KISHOR RAI

      PRIYANKA KISHOR RAI December 8 , 2011 at 4:55pm

      I LIKED THIS STORY & THIS IS MY FAVOURITE SHORT STORY………..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!GOODBYE!

  9. really a very heart-touching story

  10. i love this story , i don’t know y??

  11. a best story read till now

  12. oo
    i think i love this story

  13. probably the most beautiful story bond ever wrote. he’s known primarily as a writer of children’s stories, but this one is a real gem.

  14. Please send me the appreciation/understanding of the text ‘Eyes Are Not Here’ also known as ‘The Eyes Have It’. I am a class 6 student, and need this for my exam.
    Thank you.
    Zoshua

  15. Please send me the appreciation/understanding of the text ‘Eyes Are Not Here’ also known as ‘The Eyes Have It’. I am a class 6 student, and need this for my exam.
    Thank you.
    Zoshua

  16. a really hear-touching story. this is the 5th time im reading it.

  17. :) ok this story is really good. wuld be lovely if anyone directed a film on it!!!

  18. Suparna Bhattacharya

    the ‘looking in’ and ‘looking out’melt so imperceptively into each other in this story that the Keatsean “Beauty is Truth” no longer remains a remark of elevated sublimity belonging to academicia but a part of our daily train commuting too. Thats undoubtedly a melody created by Bond to make our life beautiful.we love to look through his eyes which are everywhere!

  19. Please can you send me the critical appreciation of this story

  20. Plz send me d critical appreciation!

  21. A really nice store

  22. :) loved it

  23. i am big big fan of RUSKIN BOND .AND this story really touched my heart.really good

  24. lavleen tiwari

    the writer is very good

    i read all the story of ruskin bond

  25. its awesome!!

  26. good short story

  27. such a great love story. i love it.

  28. It’s an encounter between two individuals which reminds us that life is so precious and mind rules the mundane

  29. one of my fave ruskin bond stories……..we had it in our sixth std text book……..the story really touched my heart and i kept readin it over n over even after d exams. this story made me start readin all the ruskin bond stories!!

  30. this story is the best story i have ever read………….must read it!! : )

  31. luvd this story. tis a story evry 1 shud read…………………………… it reely moved me 2 tears man! : (

  32. its a wonderful story. it touched my heart deeply. it taught me to admire the internal beauty of a person.

  33. we should rad this story in future

  34. PLEASE SEND ME THE CRITICAL APPRECIATION OF THE PROSE “THE EYES HAVE IT”
    PLEASE I NEED IT URGENTLY.
    THANKS

  35. this book is really emotional and blabla

  36. a very intresting story :)

  37. not that good :P

  38. really a fantastic story!

  39. very good one i loved it very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  40. The awesome climax by the author.

  41. can u plzz send me d componets of dis story on d basis of d components of a short story

  42. kapil gahlawat

    mast hai kati……….manne tai badhiya laagi ya story………………………..

  43. Beautiful,touching story…love ruskin bond.

  44. why is the name of the story ‘the eyes have it’??

  45. Its awesome nd i enjoyed it all summer by reading it again and again.

  46. Beautiful story…can someone help with the appreciation of it?
    I agree with kivi…movie will be wonderful…
    And i hav the same doubt as Sharanya….please help.thank u.

  47. A very very wonderful story! It beggers description! It left a deep impression upon me. It tell us about the feelings and sentiments of those who are unable to see the the beauty of this world.

  48. very very wonderful story! It beggers description! It left a deep impression upon me. It tell us about the feelings and sentiments of those who are unable to see the the beauty of this world.

  49. It is very nce story . God bless u Rukin bond.
    I have not seen 7 khoon maffa.But evey body was saing that it is very nic story.

  50. such a wonderful story………………too emotinal bt very nice story……………

  51. A GOOD STORY

  52. such a fantastic story

  53. velgoose bad hard story oops

  54. it was very funny and this was a very good good one i liked it thanks ruskin bond for your story

  55. it is very touching story

  56. very touching story for me………….forever

  57. teena kaushik

    please write short summaries of your books for me !!!

  58. teena kaushik

    write some short stories this is yakksssssssssss

  59. lovely story????????????????????????????

  60. shraddha mishra

    its a beautiful story its really touch my heart

  61. i love this story. its a better choice

  62. i have it in my school book

  63. very heart soothing story , hats of to ruskin bond

  64. Taniya Agrawal

    i read this story and its really so touching. i like to read this type of story because, here we can get real feelings.

    wanna suggest u al to go once through this story.

  65. relly very toching story……………………………

  66. a good and interesting storie

  67. a very touchy story
    can any 1 give it critical apprecation

  68. a marvellous touching story!

  69. awesum story

  70. extremely gud

  71. a good and touching story..

  72. awesome story i like it .

  73. very bad story

  74. hai dude .this is very heart touching story to blind person . ruskin bond is a great author .he only the author of this story, no substitute any one author.

  75. yahoo user……………. oh great auther

  76. this would be one of my favourite story

  77. i just luv this story its there in my 7th std book

  78. :):):):):) really great!!!

  79. i love this story………….i read this story first time in 11 standard

  80. a very nice story

  81. swati
    a very nice nd a heart touching story.

  82. good one……love it………….

  83. wow its an awsome story i loved it it really touched my heart

  84. i lilked this story by bond it really nice one as we r reading it we fell as if we are traveling with the author . . .

  85. thanks a lot

  86. superb touching story,thanks a lot for giving such a story.

  87. Bidoo,touching story,this sometimes makes me feel cry about the ironies in nature

  88. No words to describe, yet lingers and it will!

  89. its very interesting n absolutely awesome………….

  90. i had this in my 6th std text book

  91. I Love all the book writtern by Ruskin Bond. Even though I haven’t read many of the books writtern by Ruskon Bond it have influenced me

  92. is it a short story?

  93. heart touching story…

  94. i would lyk to knw why the story is called “”the eyes have it”” …
    can sumone tell mee…?

  95. nice story………

  96. the story reminds us that we must thank God every moment for all His blessings to us

  97. A ver good story

  98. good story

  99. i really enjoyed reading this short story by
    Ruskin bond

  100. What a story….probably Ruskins best contribution to literature for India…

  101. Pingback: Meeting Mr. Ruskin Bond! | NeoBluePanther

  102. best story i have read!!

  103. i love this story

  104. I read this at school and 8 years later it’s still a joy to read the story…

  105. very nice story & all those who said it was’nt nice are idiots.

  106. awesum……………..lovd it want itin scripts of drama

  107. i am in seventh and i have this story as a chapter

  108. Max Malyabrata Karmakar

    just awesome ! No words , <3 <3 <3

  109. interesting story

  110. ooh a sad and inteeresting lovee storyyyyyyy…….

  111. I’m really inspired along with your writing talents and also with the format to your weblog. Is that this a paid topic or did you customize it your self? Either way keep up the excellent high quality writing, it is uncommon to look a great blog like this one nowadays..

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  113. Pingback: Meeting The Giants In World Of Writing: My Precious Moments With Ruskin Bond And Gulzar | Indowaves's Blog

  114. the irony is fantastic! this story will be an unforgettable one!!
    thank you Mr Ruskin Bond

  115. i love that story

  116. This is the first time I am reading such a romantic story. It is really romantic

  117. This is the first time I am reading such a wonderful story.It is really romantic.
    THANK YOU Bond.

  118. M crying…. :’( fabulous story! touched the heart……. <3

  119. This is the best short story I have ever read. It really touched my heart.

    This is the best short story I have ever read.
    It really touched my heart.

  120. One of Ruskin Bond’s finest stories upholding the irony of life which touches
    our heart and soul….

  121. One of Ruskin Bond’s finest short stories…

  122. Will anyone come out with d explanation of d title phrase , plz?

  123. very good short story

  124. Will anyone comment on the the title of the story

  125. REALLY GOOD STORY.

  126. ya its superb and quite mysterious :D

  127. Is this of the stories of oxford English modern book of class 6th or exactly same as that?

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