I was born in the decade when donning specs signalled two things – either you were a studious 90 percent scrorer in school, or you were an ardent follower of the idiot box. Sadly, with my 6/6 vision, I was neither of them. I loved specs; to me the colourful frames lit up a dull face and the glasses around the eyes gave a somewhat intellectual look. Often, I secretly donned my sister’s specs and admired my new look in the mirror; till one day mom caught me and gave me a big gyan on side effects of specs (uncomfortable in summers, monsoon, can hurt if you fall while running etc etc.)
As I grew up, I discovered another aspect of our society. Men who wore specs could easily pass on as the professionally successful groom material, while specs for a girl of marriageable age meant a negative aspect during groom searching. It irritated me when a friend rushed for a corrective surgery only to look perfect on her D day while on that day, next to her, stood her groom, wearing full framed specs. And nobody bat an eyelid! Phew!
I was irritated. In an age when dusky was beginning to be considered sexy and a little extra flab passed on as being curvaceous, the spectacled look still didn’t quite pass the beauty test!
Well, late nights, my penchant for reading, sleep deprived nights during MBA days and a hectic schedule at work finally did it for me! The ophthalmologist looked concerned as he advised me the do’s and don’t’s of wearing specs and even suggested I buy contact lenses for attending functions. “But why, I love the way I am” I protested and he looked surprised.
That evening, with dreams of colourful frames in my eyes, I landed up at the optician and chose 2 different specs for different looks. When people can have a variety of shoes and clothes, why not different specs for various looks? I wondered then.
No matter how much you try to ignore them, some relatives can’t help being their irritating best. My new spectacled look drew strange reactions from some relatives – “eyes weak ho gayee?”, “ye kab hua?” , “Oh, that’s bad, these days life is so stressed at work, eye muscles get weak” etc etc…
However, the more irritating chapter 2 began with their unsolicited advice.
At a recent wedding, I was wearing saree with my spectacled look and quite loving it! Soon, photo session followed and the aunty next to me suggested with a smile that I remove the specs for a better, photogenic look. Already irritated by their reaction, I announced I loved my specs and would never feel shy enough to trade them for contact lenses or corrective surgery. After the photo session, the group on the round table found a new gossip item – my specs. When, where, how session followed and soon I was flooded with advise – “why don’t you go for corrective surgery? These days they have all modern techniques.”, “Why don’t you buy contact lenses? These days, they have disposable ones and you can even experiment with colours!”. The icing on the cake was when a male member on that round table commented “see, no matter how much you call this spectacled look intellectual, the truth is, the spectacled look doesn’t suit the Indian woman, especially with the Indian attire.”
I was not willing to give up this time and asked him why then he liked the Kareena Kapoor with specs in 3 idiots. Wasn’t she looking gorgeous even then?
The discussion died with the next round of snacks, but left me wondering.
What will it take the Indian mentality to change? If chosen wisely, spectacles can be an excellent accessory. The Kareena Kapoor in 3 idiots and Kiran Rao are excellent examples. While each woman has a right to choose her look, wearing specs shouldn’t be type casted a beauty killer. For, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Ah! Perhaps the beholder forgot to get his/her eyes tested!
Readers, what say you?