Friday, January 14, 2011
Ask me what it is that I detest most in the world and my answer would probably be, “My glasses!” Myopia was what I was born with, and will die with, one day! These glass barriers appeared over my orbs not because I had blinding blackouts or terrible headaches. One day, I tried on Dad’s spectacles, something which was forbidden and so all the more doable, and found the world a crystal clear one! Gone were those blurred outlines, those hazy figures and ghostly shadows that populated my world. Earlier it was quite natural, when I was watching a movie, to mistake the hero for the heroine [they didn’t have size zero then except in Rwanda!]
Of course, things were not as comfortable at school when I was given the honour of reading from the blackboard, and I kept insisting that I could not possibly read off an empty board. And the worst was when I walked home after school, fervently hoping that I would not meet anyone I knew, because I would be unable to recognize them from a distance. May a time I have annoyed friends and turned them into foes, as I stared through them with ‘a curiously penetrating eye’, as they would later put it, while I would feebly try to explain that the above eye was also ‘curiously myopic’ as well. In a frenzy of despair, I would turn over a new leaf and vow to wave cheerily at all and sundry, in the hope that there would be a few chance acquaintances amongst them. This earned me many puzzled looks, as people tried frantically to rack their brains on where they had met me.
Finally the day arrived when I got my first pair of glasses, hideous thick ovals that made me wish I could disappear from behind them. Thankfully after a couple of months of misuse and disuse, they fell to pieces. A round pair of frames caught my eye next, but with my moon-shaped face and ‘cheeky’ look, the combination was definitely owlish, and I gave them up before I could begin hooting!
This was when Mum decided to step in and prevent me from any more fashion disasters. I ended up with very pretty pearly pink frames which looked exquisite, except when they were on my face. By this time, I had realised that I would have to live with glasses and decided to give them a try. Which is when my spectacles came alive! They would disappear and I would look around for them frantically, till suddenly someone would sit in a chair and CRACK, there they would be! Or I would trip over a well worn step and there they would be, twinkling brokenly at me from the ground. Very inconvenient indeed!
When I met my future husband, all I saw was a rather shadowy figure and all of a sudden, his glasses glinted. I had found my kindred soul, and the Powers-that-be ordained that we had enough power in our respective eyes to make us compatible! After marriage when my glasses continued to break of their own volition, my husband announced, “I have just the thing for you to make sure this does not ever happen again!” I was thrilled. “Contact lenses?” I whooped. Instead he held out a chain to hold up my glasses! When I protested he grinned, saying, “If I get you contact lenses, I’ll be on my knees, hunting around for them all day!” He vanished before I could throw my glasses at him!
The chain looked particularly snaky and I hated them. I got a silver chain which made me look like a merchant’s wife! A black thread and I was pronounced miserly for using a ‘shoelace’ to hold up my glasses. A dark thread with gold beads proved very distracting, as they glittered every time I turned my head. Then came the hooked varieties so sharp that they made rents in my clothes, followed by coloured beads which looked nice till the paint peeled off. When I finally got the perfect chain, it was as though I had found one of Ali Baba’s famed treasures.
Times have changed and now my glasses have become part of my persona. I have got a chocolate brown chain which is the right colour and the right length, and I wear my glasses so that I can wear my smart new chain. And maybe, I don’t mind making a spectacle of myself anymore!
City Journal, Thrissur
Graphics: Smiley with Glasses, by OCAL,