Monday, July 20, 2015

Finally, The Writing is No Longer Clear on the Wall

As a young girl I yearned to wear glasses. Perhaps I thought it would lend gravitas to my ten year old frame. Unfortunately for me, I had no fairy godmother who could wave her magic wand and make my eyesight weak. So, I had no choice but to be self-reliant. First I had to convince myself and then my parents that the writing on the wall was far from clear till I didn’t get to wear spectacles. I’m not sure how genuine my headaches were. But every time I’d open a textbook, especially Math, I’d be seized with a debilitating headache. It took a considerable number of re-enactments, each with increasing intensity to convince my parents to take me to the doctor. The doctor only too happy to treat a phantom ailment sent me for X-Rays and check-ups with fancy names. I had the unique distinction of going for medical check-ups with a spring in my step, a song in my heart, only to return home crestfallen when the reports said everything was more than okay. I would curse my normal eyesight and console my nose-bridge that her specmate was gracing the wall of some store, waiting to unite with her and vindicate her lonely existence.

I can’t quite recollect what came first. My headaches that gave up on me after many failed attempts to convince the world that my eyesight was as weak as my math. Or me resigning myself to my 20x20 vision that would be the first one to read bus numbers while waiting at the stop. All I know is, when I landed my first job that required me to work long hours on the computer, I promptly got myself a stylish pair claiming to be anti-glare glasses. My younger brother didn’t waste much time in losing them while trying to impress girlkind at large with his newly borrowed intellectual look and I never found out if my anti-glares were as good as its claims.

But one thing was clear, I could now blame my genes for this innate need to impress others with intellect without uttering a single word while peering solemnly from behind the glasses.


God was kind enough to get me hitched to a man whose spectacles do a wonderful job of hiding his kind eyes that crinkle up deliciously with laughter. I had finally found my strong, silent, thoughtful man.

It took me just a few weeks to realise, the strong and silent type makes you want to bang your head against the wall with frustration while trying to interpret his silences.

After decades of waiting patiently, my lonely nose-bridge has finally been united with her specmate, a stylish pair in coral red. The thing about reading glasses is they make you realise how much you read even when you’re not reading. You learn size matters a lot, especially when it comes to reading packaging labels at supermarkets and washing instruction labels on your newly bought dress printed in the smallest typeface known to man. By the time the oil in the wok has reached just the right temperature, you discover you can’t read the complicated recipe you downloaded and bolt like Usain to get your specs.

Plus I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to things to lose besides my peace of mind. Not only do I get to misplace my phone, house-keys, documents, ID’s, I get to do extra cardio while running around looking for my spectacles under cushions, inside books, on the kitchen shelf or near the doorway! I no longer have to rely on spell-check to make embarrassing typos. I just have to take off my specs. The other day when I texted ‘just realised Kolol’, to a friend, she actually thought it was a deep philosophical thought she had failed to grasp instead of the inane ‘just reached Kolkata’.

You wish your reading glasses could fly to you, every time you cooed ‘come to Mama.’ 


I’m sure home delivery staff of various stores in my vicinity are convinced I’m illiterate after hearing me say ‘mujhse pada nahin jataa’ (I can’t read) every time they present me with the bill. These days when I’m eating out, I don’t even bother looking at the menu at restaurants that thoughtfully dim the lights for the reading pleasure of diners. I simply smile seductively at the maître d and purr – could you read out the menu for me in my huskiest voice.

Of course the thought of carrying my reading glasses with me whenever I step out of the house is unthinkable. And why should I when this is how I get to do my little bit to inculcate reading habits in others!

I think my love for wearing glasses has reached its zenith. Just like you feel the presence of a loved one more in their absence, I feel the weight of my specs even when I’m not wearing them. I swear, I have woken up countless number of times trying to take off my imaginary glasses.

Since my eyesight will only get progressively worse with age, I’m expecting my specmate to pop the question anytime soon. I can already envision a future where we’ll bicker like kids and accuse each other of being intolerable, but wither away with loneliness when destiny forces us to part ways - just like a couple that has spent an extraordinary time together.



35 comments:

  1. The story of specs is pretty much the same and the 'Parkinson's Law' works best when hunting for reading glasses! A lovely tale , Purba:)good to see you back!

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    1. I'm now looking for glasses that come with caller tunes.

      And thank you. The break was unintended.

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  2. I can so relate to this one. Since the reading glasses are a new thing in my life, you should see me struggling with the menu card and the bill at a restaurant.
    Hope you had a great time in Goa, regardless of your nose bridge meeting its spec mate.

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    1. I had such a good time in Goa that I managed to read menus at all the restaurants without my glasses.

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  3. Welcome to the ever-increasing vision clarity club. I am inclined towards the pair of glasses only when pain takes over the head or else my eyes start watering without onions and heartache. Loved the write up !

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    1. Oh, that doesn't sound too good!

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  4. Hahaha That was a delightful reas. I demand a picture of you with your spec mate. :-) For those of us with chasma all through, reading power will be a breeze too. :-)

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    1. Chalo, done. Next DP will be with glasses.

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  5. Loved this one, as always was grinning throughout :)

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  6. Ha ha.... good one. And trying to read the menu at restaurants who thoughtfully dim the lights really gets on to my nerves.
    Also reminded me of what one of my friends said, "and you know when I got married I realised that I am married to a blind man's association " (all in the laws place wears glasses)

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    1. Lol...but these days I often have to ask my bespectacled husband to read out bills and notes to me.

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  7. :) :) One more thing to lose...I think just like smart phone they should have smart spectacles. And when Ms. Ray calls where are my specs the spectacle screams " I am here mam, near the sofa side table" :) :

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    1. See, now you know what a woman really really wants!

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  8. Enjoy reading the post on how we can't do without the specs. I also end up misplacing the specs and can't live without it.

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    1. I demand specs that have legs!

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  9. I'd always wanted to wear glasses too. But now that I 'have' to wear them, I hate the little marks that they leave on the bridge of my nose. I've got enough 'natural' blemishes as it is.
    Welcome back, Purba :)

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    1. Thanks, Sid. The break was unintended.

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  10. ditto.. my sentiments when I was younger... I would love to wear them, never got them.. my brother had it for the last 3 years of school.... how I envied him :)

    Even today I don't have it... but now I am quite proud... especially when everybody in my house is trying to read something, and if they are lazy to get to their specs.. all they have to do is.. call out my name, so that I can read it for them...

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    1. I was my Maa's 'put the thread through eye of the needle' doer. Now I have to run after my daughter to get the same done.

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  11. Love the self-deprecating humour

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  12. I have a pair of reading spectacles, but I haven't worn them in ages ! My eyesight must have deteriorated by now, but I am doing just fine :D Which means, you are the opposite of me haha!

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    1. Which proves you don't need reading glasses!

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  13. Right now, I have a ninth grader who preens around with her new acquisition and placing it in the right angle is part of her dressing up before stepping out. Sometimes, I get this feeling that the ophthalmologists do actually indulge their fantasies and bless them with a prescribed pair.

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    1. Exactly the kind of opthamologist I was looking for all my life!

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  14. Loved the tale. Good to have you back.

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  15. Irony is that people who don't have specs crave for them and who have them abhor them. You should get those with chains at the end so that you don't search for them again :P I wore glasses from times immemorial. The first time I wore contacts, I felt heavenly. The day I got my lasik done, I can't tell you the feeling. It's been 7 years now and the doc on my last visit said, I slightly have eye sight. I wanted to kill him with a dagger. Now I think reading glasses will follow soon...curse curse...

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    1. For me its part of aging and not resisting :D

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  16. Haha!Come to mama.I wish it was possible.The menus at restaurants,the details on capsules and the small print on packages they all make life difficult.Why do the lights have to be so dim and the print so small?

    Btw try looking for them near the cookie jar i always keep them there to dip into it and then....

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    1. Mine love playing hide and seek with me. I guess, this is how I get to add excitement to my life.

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  17. Your childhood story is the same as mine, except that I went to even greater lengths to mess up my eyes, like reading with the page almost touching my nose....despite that, I still retain 20/20 vision! Darn it! I don't know if it's a Bengali thing to be fascinated with the intellectual look above all else!!

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  18. Unfortunately I have the problem of both distance and near vision, with both my eyes deciding to go their separate ways.So my problems are compounded with two glasses :)

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  19. Interesting read, Purba. I wear glasses and I woke up with imaginary glasses too. But my moments of searching glasses with my glasses on are high comparitively. O-O Growing old, sigh! :P
    A Rat's Nibble

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