11/29/2010 at 7:28 AM
Battle with Bifocals
while clearing old papers in the closet, I found a small but heavy bag full of coins that I had collected during my school days. I just opened it and they all tumbled out, making a happy noise, as if having met a long lost school friend. Noisy coins! Yes, they represented different countries by origin, color, and shape.
Apart from the coins, there was a glass prism, magnetic compass, magnifying lens, and few magnets. I also found a plastic case with my old pair of spectacles I'd worn in college days. It was a black plastic frame with somewhat thick glasses; I hated them as they crowned me as a 'myopic' and were also responsible for the ouster from our cricket team. As I grew older, so did the power (of lenses) increase?
Curiously enough, I put on the rediscovered glasses and presto! I could read a newspaper with ease. Next, I viewed my computer screen and, what a pleasant surprise, I could see better wearing my old glasses as compared to my latest bifocals (or tri or tetra focal as they are called) procured a fortnight ago and costing a few thousand Rupees.
On the threshold of forty, like most other individuals, I was prescribed bifocals as the natural lenses in my eyes were no longer flexible enough to focus on near or far objects. My long battle with bifocals continued as none of them satisfied me. My visits to eye specialist and optician were regular, as I was always on the lookout for something new to satisfy my needs. My friendly optician, made me aware of various ways to see the world as I changed glasses from plain-bifocals, executive-bifocals, D-bifocals, fiber lenses, and even the high-index lenses.
My most recently purchased glasses had "progressive lenses," as there are three or more powers embedded in the same lens, allowing me to read a billboard at a distance, or a traffic police camouflaged alongside the nearby pan shop, or the speedometer in the dashboard, and even allowing me to read the name of person calling my cell phone.
Despite all the progress, i.e., the so-called "progressive lenses," I found these old spectacles to be most comfortable. While punching the keys of my computer keyboard, my eyes remained focused over the screen while my mind explored ideas while constructing a new story. Anything happening behind me, including the commands of my wife, stayed "out of focus" for me--an ideal situation to think and write.
Carrying the reason for my joy, I went to my eye specialist, seeking to explore the possibility of a reversal in my eyesight, i.e., restoring my vision to that of my college days. "Yes, this reversal is only natural after retirement from service" was his reply. "The only mistake you made was to select that pair of "progressive lenses." At your age and after retirement, you don't need to look around and near at the same time. You should be happy with two pairs of spectacles, one for reading and the other for while you are driving or go for a walk. As for your old pair of glasses, they are now good for near vision only. The sight you had with those glasses, although not good enough to play cricket, is good enough to read the screen of your computer and you should be happy with it."
Extremely happy wearing my "new-found" specs, I was now ready to take a deep plunge into the memories of my college days, while punching on the keyboard of my PC.