Thursday, November 24, 2011

A hairy story

There IS one place on earth where I feel humbled, humiliated and inferior. My usual self-confidence goes for a toss and I feel not a day older than an errant five year old. It’s the local beauty saloon. From the minute I enter, I look around me nervously. An immaculately groomed lady smiles and asks if I have an appointment. Obviously I don’t. She asks me what I would like done and I state my required objective. She sighs. It’s a very sad sigh, if sighs can be made to sound sadder than they are supposed to be. She comes out from behind her desk and smiles. “Your hair is too dry and there are split ends.. yes,yes, for you a shampoo and a hair spa would be good, pamper yourself and then we can give you a trim.” “Bu…but I shampooed in the morning, I stammer,” “Yes, yes,” she waves an immaculately manicured finger at me, “but see how your hair looks dry and lack luster, your shampoo must not be suiting your hair ….and, she looks at my hands in horror, “your nails!” she picks up my stubbly digits and disapprovingly looks at my toes which I am trying to hide under the top of the sandals. “A manicure. And a pedicure too. Don’t worry, they’ll do it all,” she peers into my face, “and are those blackheads? We have this amazing facial to remove blackheads and tans and it’ll leave your face fresh and glowing with health. Shall I schedule one of those too?”
“No, no,” I finally find my voice, “I have to go, only a trim.”
“Come on,” she puts her arm around me and draws me aside, ‘you are so busy, I know you don’t have time, but one needs pampering. Give me an hour, everything will be done.”
I look at my watch, “okay an hour.” After all, who does not want to look nice? I am whisked away upstairs. Within moments a lady is dipping my hands in soapy water and my cracked heels have been dipped in another vibrating bowl of luke warm water. I decide to settle down and enjoy it.
Only the guy at my feet has determined otherwise, after viciously scrubbing my feet he takes to scraping it, yes, SCRAPING it with a knife blade. Oh horrors, it tickles and I have to squeeze my eyes shut and use all of my will power to stop myself from squirming. The ladies (there are two, I’m in a rush, you see!) in the meantime are pulling at my fingers and have contorted them to impossible shapes, soapy water trickles around and basically I feel cloistered. Is this pampering I wonder, is this what Cleopatra felt like, when she had her milk bath? Then just when I feel like I’m getting used to all this snip, moisturize, knead business, it stops. Just like that. The bright faced attendant shoves peculiar nail paint in my face and looks most disappointed when I want a transparent colorless lacquer. She does not know that no matter what, it will not last me even one round of dish washing!
I do not bother to explain, I am busy looking at my watch and having kittens. In the meantime the phone has vibrated silently against my thigh a half dozen times and you cannot explain to an irate husband that you could not take the call because your hands were dipped in soapy suds!! I insist I have no time for a haircut, not any more, and run before I am sold yet another salon treatment which costs the earth and promises to make my hair sleek and shiny and straight. The receptionist looks disappointed as I make my clever escape after tipping the ladies and having paid through my nose for a manicure and pedicure I did not need! Back in the car, I settle into the driver’s seat, turn on the AC, chip a nail trying to pay the parking attendant without ruining the fresh nail paint and realize I still have not done what I came here to do in the first place: have a haircut!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Unclaimed corpses.

Ela clutched Alia in her arms and jumped.
The cold water almost made her forget that she was here to drown her cancer-ridden body along with that of her spastic four-year-old.
She almost forgot to hold on to Alia as the water filled her lungs and every instinct screamed survival. Almost. But she did not fail.

This is an attempt to meet a challenge: write a story in not more than 55 words, they said!!!!!!

Write a short story in exactly 55 words, no more, no less. Title not included. Tag #55word. Plz RT.

Monday, November 14, 2011

An irreverent look at: Children's Day.

Children's day never meant much to me. In school it was just another day for yet another boring trip to the planetarium, where we promptly took off our shoes, put our feet on the reclining chairs and went to sleep! Speaking strictly for myself, Chacha Nehru, with all due respect, failed to inspire me or make me feel loved. Moreover children's day was bang in the middle of our final exams, so it was just a day of respite, that "no exam tomorrow" kind of glee that only a school kid will understand!
Today's children, are, obviously, much better informed. The entertainment organised too is more refined. My daughters have a mini fete to attend in school, for which, much to my dismay, they have taken almost a year's worth of pocket money to school!
Then of course, they know all about Jawaharlal Nehru, warts, rose and all. They saw it all (yes, you guessed it!) on the net! They did not glean the information from grainy black and white images on TV or from an encyclopedia which had an overload of information and no pictures ( yup, we had one of those at home!) And whenever I asked my grandfather (he was a treasure house of information!) about Nehru, he'd lauch into a long winded story about the Indian National Congress and his (Nehru, not my grandfather) fascination with Edwina Mountbatten, I would hear all about his education in England, the fact that he was the first Prime Minister of independent India and how he hung on to Kashmir at the cost of peace and hated Jinnah and was also responsible for the partition and the pains it wrought etc etc etc. As a foot note my grandfather would add, it was his birthday on 14 November and yes, he loved children, or so they say! Hence, Children's day!!!!! Lah di dah. (BTW, after so many years, today I suddenly remember my grandfather with a lot of affection and nostalgia, it was, incidentally, his birthday, yesterday!)
Of course in school we were taught to respect and admire the gentleman (Nehru, not my grandfather!) but those are two things that, I have discovered, cannot be taught. They have to be earned. And in my humble opinion, the guy may have loved kids and had a vision and all that and he WAS the first PM of independent India, but that's it.
What they could not teach me to do is to be fascinated by his achievements, and if you ask me, save for that oft repeated midnight speech, I really do not know all that much about the man. But, yes, I have read a few books that do chronicle Nehru's fascination for Lady Mountbatten and yes, Kashmir was certainly an issue with him and history does show him to have his scheming moments but all that is so passe. So ordinary. So expected. All famous people are like that, no?
Yes, my husband would shudder if he reads this, he's very big on historical personas and the Nehru family in particular and he has been brought up to be appropriately respectful, and yes I am an ill informed nit if that's all I know of Nehru and his ilk, but lets just say I feel that rather than know about the man, its more important to instil the necessary values in our future generations. So today I sat and thought about all the difference I make to the children around me and I think I've done a pretty good job at teaching children the values of life. Why, they get those lessons from me each day, they have learned all they need to become responsible citizens of the world, only by listening to all I have to say. To wit:

TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE-"If you're going to kill each other do it outside-I just finished cleaning."

RELIGION-"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

TIME TRAVEL-"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to kick you into the middle of next week."

LOGIC-"Because I said so, that's why."

FORESIGHT-"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

IRONY-"Keep laughing and I'll *give* you something to cry about."

OSMOSIS-"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

CONTORTIONISM-"Will you look at the dirt on the back on your neck!"

STAMINA-"You'll sit there till all that spinach is finished."

WEATHER-"It looks as if a tornado swept through your room."

HYPOCRISY-"If I've told you once I've told you a million times-Don't Exaggerate!!!"

BEHAVIOUR MODIFICATION-"Stop acting like a nincompoop."

THE POWER OF CHOICE: "Do you want a tight slap or the peas?"

OBEDIENCE: "I did not ask you to like it, I asked you to eat it!"

RESPECT: "I am big, you are small, I can beat you up!"

THE CYCLE OF LIFE: "what comes out, goes back in. You puke and I'll feed it to you, you every last spoonful!"

ENVY-"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

Can you think of any more? I am sure all us moms have a few, do share. Some of the above have been gleaned from the net, some are, I believe, my very own. I realised universally all moms use them. The idea too was inspired from, I shall add as I remember more! Or maybe I'll just ask the kids!!!!