At the turn of the last century, my eyes grew moist and my vision skimmed and dimmed. Soon, I fell to my knees. No, I was not overwhelmed at the prospect of having witnessed Y2K, but it was because, after years of gaping at moving images and turning printed pages one after the other, my eyes had given up and had rendered themselves useless. Enhancements were required.
I got my first pair of appendages at the age of 14 and the result? I looked even uglier if that was possible. But importantly, though I didn’t look any better, I could look much better.
For a month or so, whenever my Dad returned home from work, he would look at me sternly through a pair of his own and cluck his tongue a little too loudly with disappointment echoing around the middle-class room. I would, of course, ignore him and go back to watching Winnie on the Wonder Years.
My wonder years continued through High School and my “sight” or rather the lack of it increased at a quick pace. Each year along with new books, I got new spectacles as well. My Dad had long given up clucking his tongue and glasses had become a part of my already “infested with extras” existence. A friend even used to joke that I kept them on while sleeping to view my dreams better.
For a long time, my “sight” was steady and I was doing fine on the glasses front. About two weeks back, I woke up and reached out for my carbon friends. Alas, their date was up. They were broken. I must have trod on them while battling a rowdy knight in one of my dreamy trips to fantasyland the previous night. And to top things off, I didn’t have a spare. And it being the fag end of the month, I realized as dawn broke outside my window, that I along with my glasses was broke too.
For two whole days, I tripped and felt my way through the muddy paths of ever-raining Hyderabad with my severely deteriorated “aankhen”. As I somehow managed to enter one optical shop after the other, I was severely reprimanded by each optical guy in the shop for having the balls to go around the place with my naked eyeballs.
I knew it was dangerous. People who can see are themselves prone to untimely deaths. So, I took whatever was left of the frame and kept it on. The right lens was intact while the left side of the frame was conspicuous by a gaping hole. With the finance problem tugging away at my mind and the headache arising out of this One-Eyed-Joe routine, I decided I should not see from my left. So, I ventured outside with my left eye shut and my right wide open.
While on the road, a girl looked twice at me (probably for the first time in history). She probably thought I was winking at her. But probably the most eye-opening experience of it all was when I was walking on this pavement in Secunderabad thereby avoiding the vehicle strewn road. I was looking down in the dark so as not to plunge my legs into human or other shit. I instinctively stopped and looked up. Inches away from my unmanned left eyeball, the sharp end of a “boring pump” was staring at me. If I had taken a step further, I would not have needed glasses at all thereafter.
After much economic deliberation with the optical guy, I ordered a new pair and waited the whole next day indoors for fear of my life.
At last, I got ’em. Confidently put ’em on. I looked about at the greenery, the blue sky and the “figures” of the twin cities. Finally, my glass was full now.