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What is the summary of The Eyes Are Not Here by Ruskin Bond?

Ruskin Bond's short story "The Eyes Are Not Here" tells the story of two blind people who meet on a train. The narrator sits by a girl who he enjoys speaking to, but he cannot see her and wonders what she looks like. He tells her she has an interesting face, which she says she hears often. After she has gotten off the train, a person just getting on indicates that the girl is also blind.

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In this story, the narrator is traveling by train through India, and he notices a young woman about to get on the train. The couple who brings her, probably her parents, give her lots of instructions about what to do and how to behave on the train. The narrator says that he was totally blind at the time, only able to see light and dark, and so he could not tell what the girl looked like, but he very much liked her voice. His voice startles her, after she sits down, and he attributes this to her good eyesight, suggesting that sighted people miss lots of things because there is so much for them to see. Only later is the irony of this statement made clear.

The narrator decides to see if he can keep her from realizing that he is blind. They talk about where each of them is going, and he tries to get her to describe the scenery outside, though she likely assumes he's asking about what it's like to be blind. She is pleased when he tells her that she has an interesting face because, she says, she's tired of hearing that she has a pretty face. When the train stops, he knows she'll forget their encounter, but he feels he will remember it forever. He smells her perfume just as she is getting up to leave, and he hears some confusion in the doorway. Presumably this is caused by her inability to see the young man waiting to enter the compartment. It is only when this young man tells the narrator that the young woman was blind does the narrator understand the irony of the situation.

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Valentine England eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Ruskin Bond's The Eyes are Not Here, a man (the narrator) is sitting alone in a train compartment en route to Rohana when a girl boards the train, assisted by a couple who the narrator assumes is her parents. The narrator is blind, able to see only light and darkness, so he cannot make out the girl's appearance—only that he likes the sound of her voice and the sound of her slippers.

He asks her if she is traveling to Dehra; she responds that she is headed to meet her aunt in Saharanpur. They converse a bit more about their destinations, and the narrator wonders if she has taken notice of his blindness. He moves to sit across from her and tells her that she has an "interesting face," which she is amused by because she claims to be tired of being told her face is pretty. 

The girl prepares to depart at her station, while the narrator wonders about her hairstyle and wishes for more time with her. After she leaves, another man boards the train and comments on the girl's beautiful but useless eyes—revealing that she too was blind. 

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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First, it is important to note that "The Eyes are Not Here" is also known by two other titles:  "The Girl on the Train" and "The Eyes Have It."  In short, it is about two blind people meeting on a train.

At the beginning of the story, a man is alone in a train compartment simply waiting for the journey to begin.  The man is blind and can only differentiate between light and darkness.  Soon, he is joined by a young girl who is originally accompanied by her parents.  They seem extra anxious about her well-being in that they tell her exactly where to put her luggage, not to lean out of the window, and not to speak with strangers.  Soon, the girl's parents leave and the man and the girl are alone in the train compartment as the journey begins.

Most of the story involves the conversation between the two characters:  the man and the girl.  When the man asks the girl if her destination is the same as his own, she is startled, but is happy to strike up a conversation.  The girls says that she will be met by her aunt in Saharanpur in order to be taken home.  When the girl learns the man is headed to Mussoorie, the hill country, she looks at him in envy.  The hills are beautiful at this time of year. 

Just before the girl exits at her stop, the man tells her that she has "an interesting face," which the girl likes because she is usually told she has a "pretty" one.  The girl leaves and another man enters.  Through the comments from this new passenger, the man learns that the girl, too, was blind. 

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