1977 – A mother was looking for a suitable match for her daughter. Her relatives told her they could not help, unless she agreed to pay an extra ten grand in dowry, because her daughter wore spectacles. She refused.
1978 – The girl was married off to a bespectacled lad without any dowry.
The bespectacled couple passed on their myopia to their darling daughters. Yours truly was fitted with spectacles at 10, Sis decided it was too lonely being the only one at home without specs, so she was fitted with specs at 7.
Soon, a strange thing started happening around me. Nose by nose, spectacles started disappearing. None of the new people I met had spectacles. I looked like an aberration in a world of 6/6 vision.
Contact lenses had taken over my acquaintances’ lives. Everyone had them. After a few initial days of discomfort, they seemed pretty well adjusted to a life of not being able to cry whenever you want, not being able to make random overnight plans because they had to touch base with the lens case, and searching for a bottle of solution at ten in the night in a small town. They all looked beautiful, except when they were poking fingers in each other’s eyes to set right a misplaced lens. But only I saw that, and I was not their target audience. (This is getting too mean, I’d better stop)
Then I realized guys wore contact lenses too! Wow! (Warning to self: don’t start don’t start) That pair of glasses is the only thing that distinguishes most guys from monkeys and they go ahead and (stop this instant I tell you!) Ok. Never mind.
“Don’t hide behind your glasses” is a statement I get to hear often. “And why not? Why should I give up my unique perspective on the world? And why is hiding behind make-up, accents, streaked hair ok, if hiding behind glasses is not?” I demand to know.
There are two notches on my nose where my spectacles rest. Some people have a groove between their fingers where they hold their cigarette, some have a depression where they wear a ring, and I have nose notches. It’s an old relationship.
It’s getting lonelier by the day in the women-who-wear spectacles world, with only nerds and people allergic to lenses keep me company.
Note to mother: If you’re planning to marry me off, ten grand from 1977 is probably ten lakhs now, so arrange for the money because you’ll need it to get me out of jail when I’ve shot the bastard who asks for it.