‘Left eye, 0.5 and right eye, 0.75, both hyperopia numbers. Son, you have to wear a pair of spectacles, every minute!’ the doctor made some notes on his slightly torn and worn out pad, with his traditional looking pen. He tore the slip off, and handed it over to the parents of 16 years old kid, Ishan.
Ishan could do nothing, but stare at the wall, which had an eye-testing chart with different sized alphabets written on them. He couldn’t believe he had a weak vision. Just a week back, he complained of a migraine and headache problem to his mother, from that day onwards, his mother was asking his father to get his eyes tested.
His parents quietly moved from the clinic, gave the order for a pair of spectacles, and came back home. Whole the way down, from clinic to home, no one said a thing, it was a pin-drop silence in the car, and Ishan knew that a fierce storm awaited him. As they entered the home, it seemed as if some volcano of emotions erupted on poor Ishan.
‘This is all because of that stupid computer of yours, I told you not to stick your head in it, did you ever listen?’ his mother shouted.
‘More than computer, it’s because of his phone. I should have never got you this phone, never mind, I’m taking it back soon anyways!’ his father put forward his explanation behind Ishan’s poor sight.
‘Leave phone, this boy has seen a million movies on TV in these summer vacations, it’s all that stupid TV’s fault. I think we should get the digital cable disconnected. Our facilities are spoiling him.’ Mother again came up with a new explanation.
‘You think only TV spoiled him? He never goes out to play, when I was young, I would always take out spare time to play outside, in the fresh air. Do you have any idea how much are physical activities important for you? And what do you do? Keep sticking up your head in TV, Computer and Mobile? Do you have anything else to do? Tell me?’ father shouted.
‘I study too, dad. I scored 80% this time, and you can’t blame it all upon TV, computer and phone only!’
‘Yeah, right! Excellent! When there’s nothing else left, put the entire blame on study! How many students of your class wear spectacles?’ his father folded his arms.
Ishan knew this question was the life saver, as more than half of the population of his class wore spectacles. Kids were not only obsessed with the stylish frames, but also the brands now. It was a trend to wear spectacles. Kids who had a perfect eye-sight, also wore spectacles for fashion sake. It made them look smart, some said, while for some, it was just a fashion statement.
‘More than half of the class wears specs, dad. There’s nothing new in it! My best friend Anu, she also wears specs, her eye sight is so weak that she can’t even see beyond the man standing in front of her!’ Ishan smiled and boasted, about having slightly better sight than Anu. But never did he know that the tsunami of yells was coming right after him.
‘Oh, so you brag about having a better eye-sight than the ones who are wearing glasses from childhood? What is your mission, Ishan? Tell me? Do you want to surpass all those kids and become blind one day? Do you want that your poor mother should die? You have given me the biggest tension of my life, who will marry you now?’ his mother held her head in her hands. She had no other worry in her life, but to get him married. A tear slipped from her eyes and Ishan hugged her.
‘Maa, please don’t cry, please! I promise I’ll do whatever you’ll tell me, but please don’t cry…’ he hated his mother’s teary eyes and cracking voice.
His father left the room, as the scene got emotional. Ishan promised his mother to take care of himself, watch less TV and computer, spend less time on phone, and take some time out to play outside.
‘I love you, son! I don’t want you to carry this burden on your face for your entire life.’ She held his face gently, and kissed it.
‘I’ll make a diet plan for you, we’ll include a lot of Vitamin A in your diet, this number is not too large, and I believe you can get rid of these burdensome spectacles as soon as possible!’ his mother said with a smile. She was determined to get her son treated in the best way possible.
She called her friend, who was working as a dietician in a local hospital. She knew everything about vitamins and minerals, something which were only scientific terms for Ishan’s mother.
‘Okay…okay…alright…carrots! Yeah, I buy plenty of carrots!’ Ishan’s mother made some quick notes from her conversation with her dietician friend. She had made a large list of grocery which she was about to buy to feed Ishan, including fresh fruits, vegetables and some medicines which were recommended by the eye-specialist of Ishan.
‘Son, you have to follow this routine daily, now listen to me carefully. As you wake up in the morning, splash some water in your eyes, splash it 5 to 10 times. Then rub your palms and when some heat is generated, place them quickly on your eyes…’
Ishan was yawning, while his mother was reciting everything from that crumbled piece of paper in which she noted down some points from her monthly magazine.
‘Every morning, in breakfast, you’ll have to eat soaked almonds with warm milk…’
And the list went on and on…Ishan stared at his mother with blank eyes. He knew that even if he’ll listen to all those things, then also she will remind him of everything daily. Moreover, his hard work paid off, and he finally got a weak eye-sight. Something he wanted, not for himself, but for Anu.
Anu was Ishan’s classmate since childhood, and Ishan had a serious crush on her since 1st, wait…maybe 2nd standard. He didn’t remember it clearly, but what he remembered was a brief incident, that made him fall for her that day.
Ishan entered the class, his section was changed on request of his parents, as he was bullied by some guys of his class. From that day, Ishan avoided sitting with guys. He not only ate his tiffin, but also punched and kicked him in recess for fun.
‘Can I sit here?’ little Ishan who was new in class, asked a girl in pig-tails, who was picking her nose.
‘No, this is my seat.’ The girl pasted a huge sticky booger on the seat, claiming it to be her territory.
Ishan saw it, he was disgusted. He moved on to the next bench. A cute little girl, with chubby cheeks was taking out all her books.
‘Hey, can I sit here?’
‘No, my books sit with me…’ she made a big pile of books and placed them on the bench next to her.
Disappointed Ishan, with his head held down, moved on to the next bench.
A girl was sitting there, who was scribbling something on bench with an ink pen.
‘Isn’t it supposed to be wrong? You should not write on benches, and how can you carry a pen when we are allowed only pencils? You can be fined, you know?’
‘Shut up, boy. Come here…’ the girl pulled him towards her and made him sit next to her.
She was the first girl of the class who allowed skinny Ishan to sit with her. He was delighted. Soon, the teacher entered the class and all the students stood up for her welcome.
‘Good morning teacher, welcome teacher…’ little children sang this daily song, and the teacher made them sit down. As she started taking a round of class, she spotted some drawings on a bench.
‘Who drew this? Stand up both of you, and tell me who has done it.’
Ishan was scared to death. He kept on staring at the girl.
‘Ma’am, when I came in the morning, it was already there.’ The girl spoke.
The teacher left thinking of it to be true. She could never figure out the devil behind the girl’s angelic smile.
‘You’re so smart, I like you…can I be your partner?’
‘Yes. Why not?’
‘You don’t have any other sitting partner?’
‘No, everyone is scared of me. I beat everyone in recess.’ She boasted with a grin on her face. Ishan swallowed a lump in nervousness. The same horror that he left in his previous class, was again confronting him here, but with a beautiful smile and sweet voice.
‘Bye…’ Ishan got up with his school bag, and stepped out of the bench. The girl held his arm tightly.
‘I’ll make deep scratches on your arm if you leave…’ the girl threatened him with her sharp pointed ink pen.
Ishan sat down in fearfulness and terror. The initial four periods passed with extreme difficulty, with the girl threatening and pinching him every now and then. Finally, it was the time for recess.
‘Hey, I don’t want to sit with you.’ Ishan gathered his courage and said it straight to the brat girl’s face.
She looked at him with blood red eyes, ‘What did you say? No one has said that to me, ever!’ she punched the table, and Ishan shivered.
‘Please, leave me!’ Ishan almost begged in front of her, ‘I have changed the section because the boys in other class beat me and bullied me.’
The news of bullying caught the girl’s attention, ‘What? Someone else, bullied you?’
‘Who was it? Tell me? Was it Abhinav?’
Ishan was scared hearing the name. He nodded his head and the girl rushed to the next class. Within few minutes, she was back.
‘I kicked that brat’s stomach, now he’ll never bully you! Nobody can bully you till you’re sitting with me!’
Ishan felt proud to have such a nice friend. He shared his delicious tiffin with her, and from that day onwards, they were friends.
‘What is your name?’
‘Anamika, but you can call me Anu. That’s what my father calls me!’
‘Good! Anu…I’m Ishan, my father calls me Ishan only, while my mother calls me Ishu. And what does your mother calls you?’
‘My mommy doesn’t live with me, she went to heaven when I was born.’
‘Where is heaven? Don’t you go to visit her then?’
‘Nobody can go to heaven alive. You go there only when you die!’ Anu looked up, ‘My father says he lives in the sky! When I’ll die, I’ll go and see my mother…’ she pointed towards the sky from the window of class.
‘Don’t die, dying is a bad thing. My grandfather died and everyone cried, even I cried. I don’t want you to die. I miss my grandpa so much, and I don’t want to miss you!’ Ishan hugged the little Anu. She hugged him back.
When he came home that day, he narrated the whole story to his mother, who was so happy to know that finally her child made a good friend. When he told about Anu, being a motherless child, her mother couldn’t resist, but visit his school to spend some time with the little girl. After meeting the naughty yet sweet child, she made it a habit to send two tiffin boxes to school with Ishan, one for him, and one for Anu.
Soon, time passed, they came closer. There were no ego clashes, as Ishan was an innocent boy, while Anu was a brat. There was no argument over marks, as Ishan used to top the class, while Anu managed passing marks with difficulty. Soon they reached eleventh standard. They shared everything, every important moment of their lives. From Anu’s first period, to Ishan’s first masturbation session, everything was discussed and laughed at. She always used to make him jealous by roaming around with other guys. Ishan would scold her, but would never confess how much he loved her. Deep down, Anu was also seriously in love with him, but all she wanted was, an initiative from his side. Something, which seemed impossible without Anu’s master-mind.
In tenth standard, Anu was prescribed a pair of spectacles due to her weak eye-sight. From that day, Ishan used to call her ‘Chashmish’ (a mockery used to describe people who wear spectacles) and teased her that no one will marry her in future. Anu always used to claim that one day, he’ll also join her league, and the day that will happen, she’ll kiss him on his lips and he has to become her boyfriend, so he will be the guy to marry the ‘Chashmish’! Both Anu and Ishan had discussed about kissing on lips, but no one had done it till now. It was Anu’s secret bet that the day he’ll be prescribed a pair of spectacles, she’ll remove all her myths about kissing.
Ishan joined school after a few days leave. For weeks, he avoided wearing spectacles in school for a secret bet, and copied everything from Anu.
‘How’s your headache, buddy? And what’s wrong with you? The moment since you’re back, you’re copying everything from my notebook, knowing that I am going to fail, again! What? You wanna fail too?’ Anu was chewing the cap of her pen.
‘No, actually, there’s something I wanted to tell you…’
‘Me first, see…’ Anu lifted an inch of her skirt.
‘What are you doing?’
‘I got my legs waxed!’ Anu chuckled, took his hand and placed it on her leg, ‘Smooth no? But it hurt real bad, I tell you…’
‘Whatever…I need to tell you something more important!’
‘Whoa! That serious look! What is the grand surprise then, buddy?’
‘Not here…you have to come with me!’
With what Anu just did in class, he was afraid that he might end up making a joke of himself, and a subject of gossip for the whole school, if Anu kisses him on his lips in front of whole class today.
‘This is getting serious now, tell me what’s wrong?’
‘I told you not here…’ Ishan knew the kind of girl Anu was, she wouldn’t even care about the surroundings to complete her bet. They were sitting in class for the Mathematics lecture.
The lecture got over, and it was recess time. Ishan took her their secret meeting place in the school. Behind the basketball ground, there was a garden with huge trees, and behind those huge trees, nobody could notice anyone.
‘Why have you brought me here? Are you going to propose me?’ Anu mocked. She knew that Ishan can never gather the courage to admit that he loves her. It was something that he expected ‘her’ to initiate, and she expected him.
Ishan stood in front of her, took a few deep breaths and fondled his pocket.
‘What are you doing? Searching for a pack of condoms, you bastard?’
‘Shut up, Anu! You’re making me nervous!’
‘What is it? Come on, quick! I can’t wait anymore!’ Anu was jumping at her place.
Ishan took out his pair of spectacles, and wore it.
‘Oh. My. God. This can’t be serious! Are you kidding me?’ Anu jumped with joy…she knew Ishan had weakened his eye-sight on purpose, just to make her initiate their long-awaited relationship.
She neared him, held his face and gave a deep warm kiss on his lips. Ishan held her from her waist and brought her near. They kissed for good 3 minutes, before the school bell rang, and recess was over. Ishan left her with a jerk.
‘Asshole! You have no idea how happy I am today!’ Anu hugged him tightly.
‘And you have no idea, how tough it was for me, to have this pair of spectacles permanently on my eyes…’ he smiled…