Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Spectacles

"How do you think I will look with specs?” I asked Kumar.
"You mean eye glasses? But why do you want specs at all?  Be thankful that you have good sight", Kumar replied.
“I want to see myself sporting eye glasses with a golden frame ", I said with a glee on my face.
"You are crazy. You keep living in your own fantasies", Kumar said with a resigned look.

This was 11 years ago in the English class in the first year of engineering.  Eye glasses always fascinated me because of the new look that one could sport with them. 

Even as a kid, I remember trying to draw faces with a pencil. I was no great artist. So when the face went wrong and had a horrible look, I would try adding specs to the face. For me, a bespectacled face was somehow always better than the one without one. 

College was over. Job happened. Over the years , being surrounded by so many of my friends and colleagues with specs, I somehow stopped imagining myself sporting one. Life without a pair of glasses seemed cool enough.

However last week, I visited an eye specialist and I found myself reading those sequences of letters UQmuS KpDUW from a distance. On a couple of occasions, I did have a problem reading them. 

I went to the doctor as my eyes were turning red at the slightest exposure to dust since the last few days. The doctor told me that I would be better off wearing specs while driving as my eyes were ultra sensitive to dust. Of course it was up to me to decide if I wanted to use them for things other than driving.

Specs? Did I hear it right? Oh yeah… so finally the time had come. And I didn't want to buy those in some neighbouring mom and pop store. I had to brood, research, contemplate and decide on the specs and the kind of look that it would give me.  

I went to buy the eye glasses a couple of days later and my Dad was along with me.

I examined quite a few of them and decided that I wouldn't be spending too much. Finally the choice was between rimless and full-rimmed with my Dad pushing for rimless and me opting for the later.

Dad: Take this rimless one, it looks elegant. From a distance, it doesn't even look like you are wearing specs.
Me: That's the whole point. I want my specs to be visible and make a statement.
Dad: You don't look good with those full rimed ones.
Me: I want the de-glamorized retro look. I don't want to appear too urbane and stylish.

At this juncture, the salesman in the store decided to intervene.

Salesman: Excuse me! The full rimed ones are the stylish ones. These are the ones worn by art directors and ad agency guys these days. The rimless ones are the basic simple stuff.

Did I hear the words ‘Art’ and ‘Ad agency’? That was enough for me to go ahead with the full-rimed ones.

I reached home sporting the new look and stood in front of my mom.

Mom: But aren't these frames pretty old fashioned. I have seen my brother using it when he was about your age.
Dad: Hahaha! Your old fashioned mom calls your frames old fashioned. Go to the caves, kid!
Me: Grrrr!

Were the specs really so old fashioned? I went and stood in front of the full size mirror. Umm… I was ok. But it certainly didn’t appear as cool as I thought I would. Did I get it wrong again? I was lost in deep thought for a couple of minutes.

I was suddenly looking different in the mirror. It was me but I was looking more confident and very assured. There was also some kind of a glow and radiance surrounding me. I was looking perfect. If you asked me how I wanted to look and feel, the answer was staring in front of me in the mirror.

The Other me: What are you staring at?
Me: Nothing. You look so much like me. But you are perfect like a dream.
The Other me: Dumbo. Of course I will be like you. I am your conscience.
The Other me’ is too long a name. Let’s call him Tom - the abbreviation for The Other me.

Me: Oh… no wonder you look so much like me. Anyway don’t you think I look cool with these spectacles on?
Tom: Cool? You broke up with the word cool the time you quit IT. And now these old fashioned specs!
Me: Even you? Are these really old fashioned?
Tom: Of course. Your mom was spot on. Rimless would have given you the look. But as ever you missed the trick and decided to go Old.
Me: Hmpf! I am tired of the word ‘Old’.
Tom: Lol!  You don’t help your cause. Do you? Your hair cut is designed to announce your receding hairline.
Me: This new hair cut is to complement my new bespectacled look.
Tom: Why the funny spectacles? And why the funnier haircut?
Me: This is not funny.
Tom: Remember one thing. You are what you are. Specs/Spectacles improve the visibility of your eyes. They don’t make you spectacular.
Me: But I thought the new girl might like this look.
Tom: I will tell you what. With these specs, you have lost whatever little chance of finding a girl. Your life is over
Me: Grrr! I hate you. I am off now. I got to blog

Tom: Blog? Jalsa? Listen to me and stop writing Jalsa. It no longer suits you. Play your age.

I moved away from the mirror. Tom disappeared. I sat down to write a new Jalsa story. But this is what I managed to write. Was Tom right? Hmpf!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Black and White man

Year - 2082.

It appeared to me as if I was part of a virtual reality. To be frank, I hadn’t seen this kind of a world ever before.  There were colors everywhere. It appeared as though a painter was provided a software tool like photoshop and asked to paint the world.

That was the diversity in the colors that I saw.  However there weren’t looking too natural. It appeared as if I was a part of some game.

However there was some strange element of monotony that seemed to have robbed the world of its beauty. It wasn’t certainly as lively and rich as the sun rise on the sea shore that I was so used to seeing as a child.

I was in a hall that seemed to have screens everywhere. I am sure there were thousands of them at the place for the event.  The people I saw had sharp features.

Most of them were absolutely flawless. Sharp noses, flawless skin, perfect features devoid of any kind of dark circles below the eyes- They had them all. There were no puffy faces or chubby cheeks to be seen anywhere round.

Their skin colors were also stunning. I had known only one girl in all my life who had the glowing skin that could be compared with the skin colors of these people.

These were the kind of colors that I was used to seeing in magazines and on websites. I can understand if there were one or two such people in one single place. But there were around a hundred of them there and all appeared flawless.

I spoke to a guy from UK who was sitting next to me.

“These people now get to buy the best algorithms to enhance their body and facial features” he said.

It was true. The girls around me appeared as if they were designed to seduce men. They had such perfect features and awesome body colors.

“Well all 21 of us appear to be from a different time frame. Well, in fact we are. But the technological advances make me feel as if we are in a virtual reality”, the guy from UK commented.

He was right. We were the 21 humans around the world who were more than 100 years old. This special conference that was being held in Mumbai called “The Celebration of “Human Race. All of us were the treasured species since there was something human and imperfect about us unlike the current generation.

I saw a Japanese guy moving towards me.

“Hey. You are so unique and out of the world here. My brain read the feed about you but I wanted to know your story in person. Why are you black and white? I know it is something to do with that emotional quotient transfer” he said.

I started explaining him the  story and this is how it went.

My face and features were blanked out due to the mishap that happened during the emotional quotient transfer that was carried out by Facebook on the advertising professionals in India in 2073.

My face lost the features and the color. I now looked like this life sized dummy model used to display clothes in the shops of yore. It was indeed ironical that my face had to be blanked out due to a mishap by a company called Facebook.

 I was however being prepared for this “Celebration of Human race” conference. The Indian teams of scientists were trying to use my picture and enhance my face accordingly. As luck would have it, I had lost all that data during the emotional quotient transfer mishap.

There was only one picture that I had and it was in Black and white. This was the one where I looked like an underworld don in Bollywood movies. My cousin’s obsession (the one who clicked the picture) with the Color accentuated mode left me black and white.

As per the instructions from the conference team, this photo was not allowed to be enhanced or changed in any form so that the natural element could be retained. My picture was left in black and white instead of being colored. I was dressed in a white shirt and black trousers so that it matched my black and white face.

I finished narrating my story to the Japanese guy and others around me.

So, I was the black and white man in the world glittering with colors all around. The 20 other 100 year olds paled in comparison but then they were the natural species and had this specialty about them.

As ever, as it always happened in my life, I was again the outlier. I was the 100 year old with the face of a 29 year old. I was most unique of them all perhaps. But then grass is always greener on the other side. I would ok if it was just green on my side but then it was Black and white. I wish it was colorful.


P.S - All the images except mine are not my own and are from the internet.

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