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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A bad hair (wedding) day.

I have not been to a lot of weddings outside Kerala, but I envy them. 
Whenever I tune into some Hindi wedding song I see all those impeccably ornamented, good looking , happy families, full of youngsters. An average looking baby born into such a family could suffer from some serious inferiority complex. And there are like fifty people in the 20 to 25 age bracket which is not logical, this being one among a lot of other things. For example the wedding in the movie 'Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani' (where there were no adults anywhere in the scene) is so awe inspiring. All along it is like- who wants adults at a wedding they are old, they can’t eat cake. Somewhere some super rich Dad was paying astronomical bills and was not invited to what he was paying for. The bride gets to choose her designer and her hair done in the most exquisite style and eventually ends up looking like a …a….err… Bollywood actress:-/ (Well, what else)

Talking about hair, I am sure there must be some great tradition behind the updo hairstyles for Christian brides. Christian weddings in Kerala- I’ve been dragged to a lot of them – and willingly went to a few. And this hair updo undoubtedly is one of the greatest traditions that no one ever dared to defy. Other smaller, insignificant traditions like marrying someone from the same religion or caste or age group were reformed ages ago.

The bride, who is usually a woman who has never appeared in an updo in public view before, does so on the biggest day of her life. Other days she did updos were at home, when there was load shedding. You cannot really call that an updo…it is something like a temporary (and futile) way of tying up the hair to keep it away from the face and neck because of increased perspiration.

I have always wondered why a comfortable and tried-and-tested hairdo cannot suffice on a wedding day. A bridal updo is considered to be very sophisticated and its origin dates back to the days of Adam and Eve. The bride has no choice but to submit herself to the hands of the experienced hairdresser (who does the obvious which she has been doing since decades now she can do it even in her sleep). Even though the day hugely belongs to the bride, her choices are comparable to the likes of white mice at the laboratory. Only the angle of elevation of the updo differs, and organza flowers on the updo replaced the traditional pearls, but the stylists are completely oblivious of the fact that no one really cares.

However I have noticed that a lot of pretty women end up looking like someone they are not. The hair, the comfortable partition that defined the shape of the face and everything that looked good on a woman is changed for worse. Yes some brides did look much more beautiful than usual, but most commonly it so happens otherwise. The updo for one is tried for the first time, the off white saree spells simplicity and hence the makeup needs to be tastefully done- but I have been witness to beautiful women who became quite unrecognizable.

Wedding rehearsals are still not very common yet. Why not someone just go ahead and let the hair loose if she is most comfortable and pretty in it? You can always trust hairpins to keep hair away from the face. A simple and uncomplicated tiara to complement that can look like a fine hairdo! Look at her- I am not saying that this is an uncomplicated tiara, but the hairdo is pretty simple.

Ban updos. They are not for us. Let’s admit it, updos can look sophisticated with gowns on some women but with sarees …I don’t know, they just rarely look good. Sarees and updos are so familiar to us; we see it every other day that we have ceased to see beyond it. With time we are just improving it but we did not replace it with what suits us best.

I had an updo put up at the back of my head on my wedding, and disliked it to my very core. I wished I could pluck it and throw it away. I had never done an updo before that, ever. And I got a terrible headache with hair pulled up so much that its strength was tested (so was my patience). There were as many hair pins as there were people at my wedding and I ended up looking like someone I was not. And you know what? I cannot go back to that day and do it better!

It is so ridiculous I had the guts to choose my life partner but not my hairstyle.

Image Courtesy:Google Images.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

About Cleanliness and Cluelessness.

My convent school memories are like a sepia tinted beautiful musical. All that I look back and laugh has something to do with the disciplinary methods of the school and how we managed to break the rules and regularly ended up in the Principal’s office. The phrases ‘Pin drop silence’, ‘Do not eat with your hands’ and ‘Shoes should be so clean you should see your face on it’ ring in my ears whenever my mind takes me back to my school days.

 I am sure they went a tad too much with that shoe thing. I have never seen my face on my shoes. However some teachers tried to see their reflection on my shoes and failed miserably, in turn subjecting me to their wrath. Logically speaking, this cannot be a judging factor for adherence of school rule number 2, Cleanliness. They also said that Cleanliness was Godliness, and my school shoes just kept proving that I was not God.

In my terms, a clean black school shoe is one that is NOT brown.  I've had my share of brown shoe days (it was a magical time when bad hair days were unheard of) along with many others and on such days our Principal decided that we were unfit to be in class for the first hour. Which means the first hour is basically for shoes and not people? What does that make of those kids who were allowed to attend the first hour class? Theoretically they should feel offended. However they were seen hopping away to the class with much glee and pride. Seriously I still don’t understand certain things which everyone else seems to get.

And then came the eating with hands part. Even when a fork or spoon is used we are still using our hands right? So what is the point in saying ‘Do not eat using your hands’? This can only be possible if Mummy came and fed me during lunch hour, so that I will not be using my hands, but hers. Being pure non vegetarians, our lunch consisted of fish on a daily basis. How are we supposed to eat fried dish from a deep round steel lunch box using a fork and a spoon? The chance of the fish taking off and landing somewhere else was very high. We also had vegetarians in our class and someone complaining ‘Ma’am she threw a fish into my lunch box ewwww’ was the last and only complaint left to be registered in my file. Also I am not ready to part with my fish. Same was the case with all my pure non vegetarian friends and not once in our school days did we use forks and spoons.  

And then one afternoon, I was happily sharing pending stories from the weekend to my friends. The clocked ticked its way towards the end of recess and the bell rang. I hadn't eaten much, my fingers still dipped in a tub of rice, sambar and fish. There was no way I could reach the wash room and be back before the teacher came. And I dint believe in carrying napkins my Mom gave me along with the lunch box every day, I just kept wondering why they even existed. I was caught in a pickle. Suddenly a brilliant idea struck me. I took my water bottle, put my hand out of the window and washed it. The water fell on the sun shade.

The teacher walked in watching me do the dirtiest thing that could ever happen in a convent school. And then she made me write ‘Henceforth I will not wash my hands through the window' in my school diary and asked me to get it signed from my father.

Papa was NOT a terror in our school days, but any failure in following discipline can irk him real bad. Even if I failed an academic year he would not be too bothered. However he does not tolerate bad behavior. That whole day I’d been thinking how to face him and then bring up that diary which could change my life forever. I had no excuse. I had no one to support me. Mummy was like ‘WHAT? Unbelievable! How could you…’. Our house was a complete setting for an intense drama. I ended up looking like a kid who did drugs in school. And that sun shade would have dried up already. It’s not like I drank whiskey and threw the bottle there. Whatever it is even if I say that my friend ALSO washed her hands through the window(which is my most commonly used excuse) he’d just say he dint care about anyone else. Well if he cared about me then he should have just signed that diary!

What happened next is history. Papa refused to sign, there was a lot of angry gyaan, I cried some crocodile tears and then there were talks about how my last name was also his first name and that it was shameful. The next day Papa escorted me to school.  He met the teacher, she was mighty pleased, they spoke and occasionally looked at me, and I stood there facing my shoes.

Papa was very satisfied with how seriously the school took its rules, the teacher happy that someone took her seriously, and I still couldn't see my face on the shoes.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Travelling with The Hulk.

Travelling with a baby is one thing. Travelling with a baby and a bag that should be treated like a baby is another.

I am back from a rocking vacation to Singapore that drained even the last droplet of energy left in me. Going by general health levels I have hit rock bottom. My friend told me not to worry about rock bottom they have Hard Rock café over there :-/ My eyes have sunk into their sockets. I got a tan which says I had actually been on a vacation to the sun. I am not bragging or anything but I returned from Singapore looking like the Devil. 

The highlight of our Singapore trip was 'The Hulk', the star passenger with us. The Hulk is an over-sized camera bag, and it was nicknamed very appropriately for its striking similarity in color, dimensions and general outlook to the incredible superhero. The Hulk bag is bigger than a normal backpack, but smaller than a house. It is also heavier than a backpack, but lighter than a house. Throughout the journey, The Hulk got to sit on cushions and on people’s laps (not necessarily ours) when other bags were either dragged or dumped in the boot.  Well, my husband maintains that it contained his camera and its accessories. However the bag looked like it contained a camera, its accessories and an ogre.

Well if I look at it from a layman angle I should admit it was none of my business because the owner of the bag did not make anyone else carry it. Second thing is, if he asked any of us to carry it he would have carried that person all the way home. Thirdly it is difficult to watch a person walking around pretending to be very comfortable all the while carrying a cross on his shoulders.

At bus stops and metro stations, the bag was not placed on the floor or the very cleanly maintained waiting benches. That was when we realized the dark and glaring truth that was always there, right in front of our eyes . The reality that is always bitter and it was our turn to take a bite of it. It was the time to accept The Hulk into our family as an extension of hubby. It was now an unspoken yet painful fact that at any strange and crowded location, the chances of me and my son getting lost is high as compared to the bag.

We are also not allowed to badmouth this bag. For example remarks like ‘Please put that down we are going to be in this queue forever’, ‘Shift the bag out of the way this is a public place’, ‘Move the bag out of the seat for the physically challenged’ will be met with fuming grunts and scary frowns coupled with rolling of eyes that you can almost see angry birds flying out of his ears. Sometimes I think compared to us Roger Federer can go on completely peaceful vacations with his n pairs of twins. At least he has a hope that his babies are going to grow up some day and become people.

One fine sunny morning at Sentosa, Singapore, we hopped on to a cable car. There were seven of us, and the cable car capacity was eight. So the guy at the counter kept us waiting before he closed the cabin, waiting for any single weirdo who would have come to Sentosa all by himself. When he peeped into our cabin he found the seven of us, sitting slightly cramped and the bag on the seat royally placed. And he said ‘Okay this car is full’ and closed it. Because seven human beings + The Hulk = 8. I am just glad he dint charge a ticket for it.

And so this ogre laden bag followed us everywhere. I am sure during one of those tiresome walks in the hot sun, the hubby secretly wished the ogre to come out and hold the bag for once. On our way home from Sentosa we hired a taxi and hubby asked the driver to open the boot. The driver said he could keep the bag inside. But hubby insisted. The driver opened it and he kept the bag there. The trip to the hotel, hands free, was a liberating experience for all of us.

Finally at the hotel:

Driver: “Sir 19 Dollars”

He: "But your meter shows 16"

Driver: “And you used the trunk which is 3 dollars”


Once more, the bag showed its worth, that it can travel business class even in taxis.

Image courtesy: Google images.

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