In India as elsewhere every girl or boy has fond and warm memories of his childhood, from the day he begins to talk to his mother and father in broken syllables. Invariably a child learns and recognises the faces of his mother and father, of sisters and brothers who play with him constantly, or the servants who prepare his meals or watch him play in a nursery strewn with knickknacks and toys. He must also remember the rich colours of the butterflies and birds which children everywhere always love to watch with open eyes.

I say must, because when I was three and a half, all these memories were expunged, and with the prolonged sickness (meningitis) I started living in a world of four senses – that is, a world in which colours and faces and light and darkness are unknown. If my age and the length of the sickness deprived me of the treasured memories of sight, they also reduced things which are valued so much in the sighted world to nothing more than mere words, empty of meaning.

I started living in a universe where it was not the flood of sunshine streaming through the nursery window or the colours...

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