The beauty of cheap sunglasses does not elude me. Yet, I cannot, for the love of God, bear the thought of wearing a pair. It’s not that I have a fetish, as a lot of us do, for expensive brands — like the fake Raybans that the man at Connaught Place forever circling the circles of the heart of the national capital insists on selling to me for a knockdown price. It’s just that there is something intrinsically tacky about sunglasses the moment one perches a pair on one’s nose.
I associate sunglasses with folks like Hema Malini, Tom Cruise, Amitabh Bachchan (wearing tinted glasses in Kasme Vaade) and my neighbours, Mr and Mrs Ahluwallia. Somehow, sunglasses add to their intrinsic cheesiness that many people mistake for glamour. But even real glam people, including genuine ladies like Sushmita Sen and Jayalalithaa, hardly have their aesthetics enhanced because of their sunglasses.
Can you, for instance, seriously see John Malkovich, Manmohan Singh, Stephen Hawking or Amartya Sen wearing shades? I certainly can’t. But I believe that wearing sunglasses is not only about making a fashion statement. It is also about protecting one’s eyes.
Which is why that famous photograph of Indira Gandhi wearing shades while inspecting the first Pokhran blast; which is why that less famous photograph of Atal B Vajpayee wearing shades while inspecting the second Pokhran blast. Surely, both leaders could have crinkled their eyes in the Rajasthan heat like Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly instead of looking like Disneyland dorks?
So here I am, approaching the hottest month of the year when the sun makes a deal with sunglass manufacturers and refusing to buy sunglasses. I might as well wear a tie. Or even better, try to look like Karunanidhi.