Can’t shatter the glasses ceiling


If marriages are made in heaven, spectacles clearly have no space in it. This above fact has been well-known to those of the female gender who have spent countless hours at the optician being persuaded about why one particular frame is better than the other — and why four pieces stuck together can cost so much — to realise very few see beyond the glass in the middle. As well as those who have gone on to suffer through the best years of their lives with contact lenses — a better part of that time spent on all fours looking for the damn things.

Those small transparent discs were clearly not designed for human fingers or, for that matter, eyes with poor vision (which rather defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?). Or for fingers which have come within touching distance of anything irritable in the preceding hours — you can never be sure how many is long enough. The red eyes that follow in the consequent struggle to put the lenses in does no one any good, especially a partner waiting for you to re-surface.

I have known friends who have “lost” their contact lens within the eye. Having heard that story, I once spent days worrying if, after one particularly long night, I had actually taken the lenses out, or had they just swam to somewhere deep inside my brain and were now waiting to sneak up in some scan.

Why do we put up with all this? Because long before age wins over vanity, we notice — the difference between the days we wear spectacles, and days we won’t. Dorothy Parker might have been rather general in quipping that “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses”, but that phrase tends to stick, and before they become men, boys certainly don’t.

It was hard to tell the difference at the most recent celebrity wedding, where the only good part was that Bollywood prevailed over politics. We are talking of Parineeti Chopra weds Raghav Chadha, or of one stiff groom trying to keep up with his giggly, gregarious bride. That apart, what was most striking in the pastel cornucopia, where again more was less, was an absence – Chadha was not wearing his glasses.

Festive offer

Call me obsessive, but I didn’t even need to see filmmaker Kiran Rao’s work to be impressed with her. It was enough for me that the woman marrying a Bollywood star, a heartthrob for many, matched her white sari with glasses at their wedding. Rao-spotting became a habit of sorts after that, and she never disappointed – even if their marriage did. It might have helped that she seemed to have a wardrobe full of piquant glasses. Not like our collection – one to go, one to spare, and one scratchy one held on to for rainy days. Though, of course, rains and glasses are another bad mix.

Back to celebrity weddings, there was at least a recent one we could cheer for. Over in bad, bad Pakistan, their biggest woman star Mahira Khan got married at a small, private event to a long-time partner, owning proudly her age and her grown-up son. There were many moist eyes as Mahira acknowledged finding love after her first bad marriage.

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We recognise that his heaven too must have required some touch-up, and, surely, plenty of contact lenses. But there are some fairy tales we want to believe in.

Till then, notice a camera? Slide those glasses up your forehead, or take them off – and then hope that the general direction of your eyes is somewhere towards the lens.

National Editor Shalini Langer curates the fortnightly ‘She Said’ column


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