FOR those of you who have not been blessed
with the eagle's eyesight, a visit to the eye doctor is, in all probability,
an experience you are familiar with. Eye doctors and I go back a long
time. I would be celebrating the completion of a decade of wearing
glasses next year. Those of us who have been wearing glasses for that
long a time or longer know that though the society has been kind enough
to not categorise us as outcasts, there are some unintentional bias
that we are subjected to throughout our period of short or long sightedness.
1. Social Discrimination: The word
"glasses" immediately conjure the picture of nerds in our
heads. For some very unfair reason, most pictorial references to dorks
and geeks show the subject wearing big, thick and black glasses. This
discrimination has been existing for ages and still exists, much to
my annoyance. Sure, glasses are also symbols of brilliance, like in
the case of Dilton in Archies or in the case of Reese Witherspoon
trying to "Harvard herself up" by switching to catty black
frames in Legally Blonde. But most of the time, in many books, movies,
music videos, it is observed that the mousy, helpless, friendless
kid that everyone picks on is myopic while the popular and "accepted"
group consists of people who have no eye problems.
2. Fashion Deprivation #1: People
with glasses do not get to enjoy the fashionable luxury of sunglasses.
You can get yourself photo-sun lenses but then be prepared to look
like a racoon in all your field-trip pictures. While sunglasses call
to the rescue of many of my friends while they are out on sunny afternoons,
us Glassesists (henceforth, this term shall be used to imply what
it is most likely to imply; do I have to go through the "people
who wear glasses" again?) cannot shield themselves from the sun's
UV rays with shades. So big deal Rayban, Gucci and Versace, have a
great summer collection no gain for you if you happen to wear glasses.
3. The "Eat vegetables" lecture:
If you are new to the world of us Glassesists, be prepared for hearing
the "eat vegetables" lecture at the dinner table, from everyone,
starting from your khala, fupu, fupa, chacha, chachi, baba, ma, mami,
mama (you get the picture, right?). Like anyone cares that your short
sightedness may be genetic; that the reason why you wear glasses today
in this era where the fashionables call the shots is because some
prehistoric great aunt of yours refused to eat carrots in the Stone
Age. Expecting sympathy? Well, don't. You wear glasses because you
didn't eat vegetables. Henceforth, everyone's aim in life will to
feed you a herbivorous diet to punish you for your sin.
4. The "Too much TV" lecture:
They are always dying to say it. Everywhere you go you'll find them
dying to let the world know that you overeat your Televisionic Nutrients
(Note: These are first-class vitamins essential for the healthy physical
and mental growth of a child. Give your child a regular dosage.) When
you get your glasses, however, they have a valid excuse of saying
those words even more. They will grin a malicious grin and their mocking
eyes will say, "I told you so." So brace yourself to hear
the "it's because you watch too much TV" record. I mean,
brace yourself to hear it 20 times more than before.
5. Fashion Deprivation #2: Though
it applies for only 50% of the Glassesists population, that's still
a lot. Yes, this one's suffered mainly by the females (I say mainly
and not all because I do not mean to offend our masculine Dhaliwood
males. They too might suffer this if they have to take up glasses).
If you have eyes like Aishwarya Rai or Cameron D. (if you have eyes
like Cameron Diaz, stay away from me. I might have to accidentally
scrounge your eyes out and exchange them with mine), once again, bad
news for you, girl. No matter how pretty one's eyes are, some of the
prettiness is reduced when the eyes are behind those plastic lenses.
And if you are not a blue/green/grey/hazel-eyed beauty but you like
prettying your eyes up with the best eye make-up in town, all the
Nina Riccis and Maybellines of the world can't do much for you. Take
it from someone who's been there and done that. Eye make-up barely
has an effect on your face if you have glasses. Even if it does, you
can only expect to spellbind some Prince Charming who's within a six-inch
radius. Now, if that happens to you, congratulations but most people
will miss out on those saucer-sized peepers of yours.
6. The Athleteyetis: If you are an
athlete (or a wannabe athlete, for that matter), and all of a sudden
have been cursed with glasses, you are gonna face some problems here.
Glasses usually aren't too sports-friendly. So while playing basketball,
football, volleyball, handball, or any game that involves flying objects,
unless you want to get glass shards into your eye, you must take off
your specs. This is a hassle, since you have to leave your precious
glasses in the custody of some friends, who might not be too big on
responsibility. If you don't have a friend who can temporarily adopt
your babies (yeah, the glasses need sitters just like the little tykes
do), you are faced with another problem. Worse still, you may be really
"blind" without your glasses and then you might have to
kiss your athletic stardom (ahem!) goodbye. Without glasses, you will
be passing the ball to some player who does not belong to your team.
This will be inevitably followed by a couple of shiners from your
teammates (and mind you, without glasses there's nothing to protect
your eyes from their knuckles).
7. The Losing the Glasses Crisis:
If you yet have not undergone this emergency at any one (or more)
point(s) of your life as a Glassesist, I, along with all the people
in this world who wear glasses, disown you as a fellow member/sufferer/friend.
A recent study conducted by a group of very hard-working, intelligent
and observant group (they choose to remain anonymous) has shown that
glasses are on top of the "10 Things You Are Most Likely to Lose
Once Everyday" list (Don't tell me you haven't heard about that
list. I mean, honestly!). This is especially true in the case of people
who have started wearing glasses only recently. Meticulous research
has shown that these people tend to misplace their glasses 73.69%
of the times. Even veterans like myself often have our glasses do
the disappearing trick on us. Like when you wake up in the morning
and you can't find your glasses, or when you take them off to wash
your face and can't locate them. The search for the glasses delays
us, doing little for our punctuality.
7. Environmental Hazards: During
the rainy season, a Glassesist may acutely realize the dilemma of
wearing glasses. As fat droplets of rain splatter on your lenses,
your vision is blurred and you are faced with the decision of whether
you should take them off or keep them on. If you decide to keep them
on, then you'll be concentrating too much to see through the water
on your lenses to realize that that mushy, gooey thing you just stepped
on was the excrement of some bovine creature. If you decide to take
them off, then you might run the risk of falling into a manhole while
crossing the street. Either way, you leave yourself vulnerable to
8. The Foggy Glasses Distraction:
If you are fortunate enough to enjoy the air conditioner of your car,
then you are probably familiar with getting your glasses foggy the
moment you step out. Personally, this is the most irritating thing
that can happen. It's worse if your hands are full of other stuff,
because then you have no choice of taking your specs off but rather
you have to cautiously make your way, bearing with the fogged glasses.
This phenomenon, besides being ultra-annoying, can put you to embarrassing
situations as well. Often there are incidents when people have greeted
me while my glasses were still taking all the time in the world to
un-fog themselves. I stared at, what I hoped (wish/pray) were their
faces and greeted them back. My apologies to anyone I have inadvertently
offended while doing this.
9. The Visit to the Eye-doctor: Ophthalmologists
(God, I took three brave attempts to spell that word myself, then
I just gave up and took the aid of the trusty Spell Check!) are usually
nice creatures. I have seen a couple of them myself and discovered
that they are mild, harmless people who like to listen to music. However,
the waiting period in the waiting room (where else?) for the time
of your appointment can get excruciatingly boring. Also, sometimes,
during your regular check-ups, they make you place your chin in that
weird, white, plastic machine that blow-dries your eye. I hate that
machine: it sends out air punches to your eye at intervals and it
is one thing I am positively terrified of.
10. Underwater Swimming Deprivation:
The underwater swimming gear they'll provide you when you are vacationing
in the Maldives does not include powered goggles. So, while your other
family members may enjoy the full pleasure of such an activity, your
acquirement of pleasure will be sadly restricted. All the beautiful
fish, corals, shells, etc. will only appear in half of their beauty
in your eyes. Better stick to Discovery Channel for the entertainment.
These are only a few of the dilemmas of people who
wear glasses. There are many more, of course, some of which are much
more severe. Glasses do, to a certain extent, shape our lifestyles.
They put limitations in certain areas. Contact lenses, laser surgery,
and other methods are always available as alternate options, but for
those, you need money or a pollution-free environment or guts (none
of which you are likely to have in Dhaka. Oops!). For most of us,
glasses are it, there's no "or". However, once you wear
glasses for a while, you'll see that they are not that bad. They become
a part of you almost (and people begin to tell you that you look "weird"
without your glasses. Whatever!). They become an integral part of
your look, your clothing and your identity. Not to forget, the relief
that washes over you when you relocate your glasses after hours of
migraine inducing glasses-less-ness is heaven itself. They make you
look intellectual (really? you? intellectual?). Glasses are like your
buddies, annoying but comforting, you might hate them at times, but
you can't do without them.