Yes, that’s right! Not a typo, not an oversight, I did write Specs Appeal. This is something, which I have by the truckloads.
Now I see you people scratching your head and wondering what is this darn thing? *taking my time and enjoying my 2.5 seconds of fame and speculation* Ok, Ok before you guys get bored and run away, let me get straight into the explanation… It’s a long story…Mind it! Rascala ;-)
As per Section 2 (d) of the Intangible Qualities Act, “Specs appeal is that extra quotient of unidentifiable matter which alters your appearance significantly with and without a pair of spectacles that an acquaintance takes 2 seconds longer to identify you”.
I have been hearing about how different I look w / w out my spectacles quite often that I came with this term “Specs Appeal” to pacify the confused / startled acquaintances.
Day 1: Me in spectacles greeting a newbie at office.
Eljo : Hi, so everything fine? Did you get accommodation? *and similar such pleasantries*
Newbie: Yes, fine. Settled quite well.
Day 2: Me in contacts greeting oldbie *IT lifecyle is really rapid*
Eljo : Hello, so settled? *scratches head to ask questions not asked the previous day and settles on the lifesaving topic “weather”*
Oldbie : Huh? Have we met before?
Eljo : *thinking there it comes* We met yesterday.
Oldbie : Oh, its you! You look so different!
Eljo : Yeah, its Specs Appeal! Bye. *runs away before more questions are asked*
Now all this looking different business started a loooonnnggg while ago.
Cut to the Sepia tinged flashback: *background score: songs from Maine Pyaar Kiya, Kilukkam, QSQT*
Spectacles became my shadow and companion ever since 8th Std. The first pair, which I got, was an Ugly Betty type and just like her I also got my braces the very same year. All you have to imagine is a gawky spotty teenager with thick soda glasses, braces on her teeth and a ponytail and that’s exactly how I looked in my initial teenage years.
Braces don’t stay on forever but spectacles do stick on like a leech. So in a few years time the braces came off but the specs stayed on but they did metamorphosise into contact lenses by the time I turned 18.
Now don’t imagine a makeover story of how the gawky & clumsy teenager turned into a babe and everybody was gasping the next time they saw her. If there were any gasps, they were only from mom on seeing sis & me dressed in jeans for yet another family function. This would be start of her standard rant which went like this “Ho, ee kochungale kondu thottu, namade veettil pani edukkan varunna Kamakshi vare evare kalum menakanu poruthe pokunney!#$!”(In angrezi all it means is “I am fed up with these girls, even our help Kamakshi goes out better dressed”) Thankfully I had sis for company and after lots of negotiations suitable outfits would be found to be worn to the countless functions.
The funny thing is about looking different is the ensuing conversations with relatives. Now that we had been away for a long time from Kerala, most of our relatives had a couple of years old image of me with the braces and specs and then they take one look and go:
Relatives: “Ayyo, ithu Eljo aano??? Aalu aake mari poyallo, pandu engane irunnathayirunnu?” (Is this Eljo??? You have cbanged a lot since the last time”)
Eljo: “Enthu cheyyam aunty, vayasai varuvalle ;-)” (What to do aunty? I am growing old)
I do realize that you don’t need to change drastically for the above- mentioned conversation. Every annual vacation to Kerala, sis & I were subjected to the very same conversation.
Cut to present time: *background score: songs from Taare Zameen Par, Bheema, Jodha Akbar*
Though I do have my contacts I prefer wearing my specs ever so often for the simple fact that I am L.A.Z.Y. and half the time I can’t be bothered about dressing up and looking presentable.
So the next time, you see a woman running around in Netherlands in unwashed jeans, hair looking like a crow’s nest, an overflowing shoulder bag and spectacles / contacts, don’t forget to come & say Hi as in 99.9999% probability its bound to be me.
I have realized over time that having Specs Appeal is actually a blessing in disguise. I look like a homely “pavam” girl when I have my glasses on. So if I have to get something done all I have to do is wear my glasses and act naïve. Other benefits include hiding from the manager to whom I had promised some requirement documents. All I have to do is just do a quick flashback and check whether I worn my glasses the previous time I met him. If Yes, wear contacts, look different. If No, wear spectacles, look different. Zo Zimble, No??? ;-)