Monday, February 08, 2016

Out of the blurred world

This is my first post in the long (hopefully) series of posts concerning objects in daily use as the theme. Each post will specifically and exclusively talk about that one particular object, which will serve as the main focus in that episode of my memoir.
Today I'll begin by talking about something that I use everyday, and sometimes forget that I'm using it and end up searching for it while wearing it: my spectacles.

My sister had a habit of incessantly watching TV everyday and my parents had started to get upset and worried by it. One day she began to complain of her eyes watering. Even after washing her eyes with cold water and limiting her TV viewing didn't help, my father decided to get her eyes checked despite her insistence that she could see clearly. My mother, not surprisingly, supported my father. She does that when it comes to the matters of health (where you must fail the test) and education (where you must pass the test). While my sister got a clean slip, I got a number, - 0.5, after what happened the next day.
At the hospital the next day, I discovered that I couldn't read the last two lines on the eye testing board. That reminded me of a famous idiom in hindi, "Kaala akshar bhains baraabar". This is in reference to the illiterate population living in villages for whom black is synonymous with the color of a buffalo. And alphabets written in a book are generally black in color. Since they are illiterate, they can't differentiate between the two blacks. Hence the idiom translates to, "black alphabets are equivalent to buffaloes." Hence, I felt as helpless as the illiterate people while reading those last two lines.
That day at home my parents made me wear their spectacles to make things clear (pun intended) which it certainly did. The result of this realization was that one week later I was wearing my first new pair of spectacles.
At the optician, I felt odd. I had seen my fellow classmates and friends wearing spectacles but never thought I'd be wearing one too, that too at the age of 15 (seems similar to how guys feel about marriage). The optician tried to cheer me up by saying that many boys and girls these days wear spectacles so it wasn't a new phenomenon and I had no threat of being labeled a pariah, or teased as a chashmish. I soon got comfortable about wearing spectacles because I was already a socially awkward kid and a pair of spectacles couldn't really make it any worse.
The day after the hospital visit my father asked me, again with the same surprise in his tone, how I didn't realize I need a pair of spectacles to see clearly. At his insistence I could recall and hence confess that I often tried to squish my eyes to read from the green board at my coaching classes for Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, while sitting in the first row. On that I also remembered my best friend Himanshu's comment with giggles, "Abe ye kya kar rahaa hai buddhe ki tarah?" (What the heck are you doing like an old man?)
Honestly, I wasn't jealous of my younger sister. I was happy for her, she could now watch TV guilt free, or so I thought. Now that I joined the club of people with four eyes, my parents had a living example to scare my sister away from TV. She, however, has a mind of her own and tends to ignore things she knows are not important for her at that time. Despite everything, she did watch TV guilt free as she always does.
I felt odd to have this frame sitting on my nose and its arms firmly holding on to my ears. I twitched my nose to readjust the frame or adjusted it with my hands to ensure it is correctly aligned horizontally. The world through spectacles looked sharper and clearer. However while sitting at my study table at home, I realized that I couldn't glance sideways that I often enjoyed doing, since my vision went beyond the frame and into the blurred world. In the last few months I had got so used to my blurred world (gradually of course) that I never realized that a clearer world existed. The feeling of ecstasy to see everything so clearly (just like Blu Ray print of a movie) during the morning bicycle ride to school while wearing the spectacles for the first time, was surprisingly new and unmatchable. Nothing that day could dampen my spirits; I was out of the blurred world!

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