21 February, 2008

Spectacled Satire

Loony picture from cupofjo

Once upon a time...

My tryst with spectacles began at the unassuming age of 14.

Managing to get out of hostel was a humungous task, everyone wanted to, most tried to, few managed to. Across the school gates lay things coveted by all our eager teenage minds. Ice-creams at Dinshaws, phone calls home and other places too, movies at the seedy halls where you often had to keep your legs suspended in midair to allow the rats feast on a forgotten burger or packet of Uncle Chips, "Cooks" - the only place in Gwalior that offered fast food and of course, the right to wear "coloured clothes", as opposed to the bland white salwar kameez that made up our hostel dress (the coloured dupattas were half-hearted relief). Anyway, so when I proclaimed I could barely see and thus needed a very urgent eye check-up in order to not let something as trivial as my eyesight to tarnish my all-important academic prospects, I managed to get out into maddeningly interesting city that is Gwalior. I whistled in the minibus that had been allotted the noble task of carrying me to the pokey little street of the eye doctor. The song went something like this:

There is nothing really wrong with me
You wouldn't guess but I can actually see
I'm out in the city as smug as a grin
I roam free hither as they wiggle within.

After all the gloating and whistling, we reached the eye doctor (a man who learnt to recognize me very soon as will be apparent shortly). He checked my eyes (You know you needn't bother really), put on a ridiculous frame of iron that weighed a tonne (Ha I can read all those letters down to the tiniest size) and finally pronounced his wretched verdict. "Dono aakhein laal hain. Lagta hai zyada hi padh liya hain (here, insert an oily grin). Power -0.25 hai. Achha hua abhi aa gaye varna....." (I hate varnas which trail off into the murky realms of uncertainty - they serve no purpose and conjure up terrifying images thanks to fertile imaginations). And so the whistle died on my lips. I was to become a specky. This was not going the way I had planned. I was supposed to laugh in his face, do my hop-skip-n-jump routine and dash out of this stuffy little glass cubicle of a shop. Instead, I found myself choosing a frame. Aaaah, the injustice of it all.

Two days later my very smart pair of spectacles arrived. They were rimless (wow) and everybody obviously found it very amusing to see me in this hideous new avtaar. I put them on, "Aha not bad. Hmmm they suit me. Great!" The whistle was back, I hopped, skipped and then....skid skid skidddddddddd. In front of the accused splash of water which had converted my jump into a skid, lay a forlorn me and a pair of shattered rimless glasses. So much for being warned for aeons about how fragile this unframed frame was.

And so the next day I found myself in the bus again. The novelty had worn off, the oily doctor was no one to look forward to, my whistle wasn't in tune and the sun was too happy. Much grimacing and unheeded advice later, I walked out with a pair of half-frame specs; I think they make them for clumsy people like me. Now not only was I the butt of all jokes beginning and ending with the word chashma (infact all jokes that could be remotely associated with chashme were aimed my way), I also had to wear the hideous thing. Weeks passed by without mishap.

It was past midnight, way past the aggravating time for lights out and we were hogging on semi-cooked maggi, proudly prepared by Chef C and Chef M. Sitting on the floor, licking our fingers clean, we chatted, gossiped and generally lolled in the comfortable ambience of a maggi well enjoyed and a conversation least required. Hearing some noise from the matron's room, we rushed to hide and even amidst all our shuffling, a thunderous crack echoed, ricocheting from floor to wall, banging on the ear drum, into my cochlea, reaching my nerves, tingling up to my brain which said: "Yes, you stamped on your specs."

I did get another sturdy pair made, it of course looked worse than its predecessors and I managed to mangle the poor thing beyond recognition. Many pairs and years later, I gave up on my abilities to look after something as destroyable and since my all-important academic prospects had been found to be a huge farce, I had no reason to wear the monstrosities. The eye doctor was forgotten, the pairs strewn about in forgotten drawers and my existence shuffled from one insight to another.

And then began these thought-ripping headaches. Alarmed at her "poor daughter's deteriorating health", my mother marched me off to an eye guy. Back to the same rigmarole but with a slight difference. One eye's power had gone up to -0.5. No cause of concern ma'am, said the flirtatious salesman, his tere naam hair gelled into his scalp, jeans displaying artwork fit for walls, his toothy grin a poor takeoff on The Ren and Stimpy Show. Spectacles were manufactured yet again; they were worn diligently for a week and then conveniently shelved. My mother was beside herself in rage, "She will turn blind. I just know it." Off and on I did try looking for the shelved pair in the years to come but they kept themselves out of my destructive reach. I found certain interesting things as drawers were upturned, cupboards cleaned out, books flipped through, but the darn pair of my third and fourth eyes were not to be found. And then many forgotten years later (read three), I found them. In the shoe rack.


My eyes had once again started playing their nasty tricks (actually nasty is a nasty word to use, the poor things had tried to see all these years and were now simply exhausted). I was sitting on the computer way too much, reading way too little, eating zero carrots [my mother (and I too, I just realized) believes carrots = answer to all eye problems] and never washed my face (implying that my eyes never got the Delhi dust out of themselves). So last week I marched myself to the chashme ki dukaan (ok ok I didn't go voluntarily, it was because of the urging of concerned friends and shockingly concerned foes). I am now sitting looking like a ridiculous clown (with a -0.5 power in both eyes), seeing the world in frames (its aggravatingly confining) and wondering how long this pair will last.


  1. Hahahahahaa!!!!!! Awesome! Reminds me of the time when I had to get glasses... Get a second opinion, I got rid of the glasses after the second opinion :D

    I always wanted to go to a Boarding School...

  2. trivial eyesight and all-important-academic-prospects, lol reminds me of those funny school days ... best read as yet.. tho rightly chosen glasses are awesome cosmetic accessories, and try contacts if you break this pair too :)

    you should be an author tho, make your own xkcd of sorts?

  3. Frame/half-frame/no-frame, there's always be something sitting on your nose...the sooner you get used to it, the better

    They never go, no matter what the doctors say...sigh

  4. devanille: Once I was told that I have holes in my retina and if I didn't get this "cryosomething operation" done, I would go blind. I didn't get it done. I didn't go blind. But my spectacled strory has travelled from Gwalior ki galliyaan to Delhi's bustle. I think opinions no longer matter now :P

    About boarding. Ya its everything you think it will be. Ten times over.

    Haru: Best read? :O And I found it long. Do not mention lenses. I fear with my record I may just blind myself with them or swallow them or find them in my pocket or I don't know what. If I was an author who would pursue my all-important-academic-prospects?Ha.

    You sigh out my spectacled fear
    So much for hoping I wouldn't have to wear
    these horrendous frames of crippled sight
    I look into a mirror - give myself a fright

  5. you can try those ridiculous looking plastic frames, they have survived many havocs caused by me.

  6. This is too tempting!

    Got so used to them, it doesnt matter anymore
    Dont care if I look, even to myself, an eyesore
    The mirror still grunts, but I hear no sound
    What if it takes me four eyes to have a look around?

  7. The planet sized brain ran out of each song
    Numbers are east to crunch, words come out wrong
    But the story about the specs is kind of interesting
    Even Piper thinks so, a point surely worth noting
    Loyalty to one's chassma is an honor found in few
    I hope you learn the tricks before you start to rue
    Haru, it seems, finds the write oh-so-very great
    I can't choose to agree, for it's called hate

  8. marvin reminds me of starvin marvin moriarity :)

  9. Haru:

    From a cursory glance it seems
    you say something you can't mean
    the lanky "i" throws a party
    "moriarity" or Mr. Moriarty?

  10. my bad.. was the latter :)

    alas i never read holmes tho

  11. Anonymous11:13 pm

    the former >_<

  12. Anonymous4:11 pm

    if you get a chance
    listen to
    Make it with you - Bread

  13. Oi

    Please enable rss feeds and it put it in a corner or bottom or something



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