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.