Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happy, My Foot?

This place is buzzing. I wonder how so many of these women could give up on the most precious thing in this world- D Sunday morning sleep….

I am at a plush unisex salon. It’s that part of Mumbai where every inch of real estate matters. I observe the details of its utilitarian interior designs. Each corner being given its due importance, vertical placements, foldable equipments, smart merchandizing- Loreal and Wella screaming that they are the biggest in the market from smallest of the surfaces!

I am waiting for someone… anyone to get free. To give you a background- today, I am the snapdeal girl (the type of clientele who has already paid up and got a big discount anyways. So every staff’s eyeball says I had to wait!). I don’t mind , as if I had a choice:P.

I look around.

The staff roaster reads all “Present”- no SL/CL. Some Renita came in late though! :) They are all dressed in smart black trousers and shirts, with a Red Apron, well equipped and ready with their gear: scissors- small and big, combs- thin and thick, gels and serums. Their hair spiked , highlighted with audacious colors. Some have their eyebrows pierced and some their tongues .

I shift my focus to the clientele. Three chairs in a row, three women belonging to a different age box , staring at the spotless mirror ahead. It looks like a confused contrast of colors spilled over a canvas….

Her small feet move freely in air on the red leather chair. She is wearing a bright yellow polka dotted frock. Light green, blue veins show up from below the thin tender skin of her wrists… must be in her pre teens. She gives perfect instructions about the nail art she wanted post pedicure- the length of the nails, the colour of petals, the pseudo wet look . She was pepped up, excited may be about the latest crush at school . I wondered , how ignorant we were back then- for us it was an achievement if only we could apply our mom’s lipstick stored high up ,in inaccessible drawer .

The next chair was occupied by a regular client. Probably rich, definitely hefty, she wore expensive stones in almost all visible parts of her body. Looked as if she had the entire day and enough credit limit on her cc to help the salon achieve its weekly revenue target. She started with a pedicure. I could also see the most experienced guy was servicing her, he knows - I am assuming better than her husband what she liked, which nerves to press , the pascals of pressure to apply, the texture of scrub that suited her. There was no hurry to reach anywhere, no excitement to please anyone but herself. She stared in the void…The life in her eyes, was lost somewhere between the mascara and the kaajal. There was a dullness- abundance of money and age had brought with it…someday I will be there- with wrinkles and that day may be I will have the time and money to buy expensive antiwrinkle technology .

The third one was the corporate chick, may be in early thirties. The one who is always in a hurry, the type A personality. The one who destroys 22 loooong days of their life slogging- so that she can buy self assurances of pampered feet on 4 short weekends..compressing her life and building mirages that when she earns enough, one day she will quit. She was too pre occupied to enjoy the pedicure her money bought for her.

Three women three pedicures. For a moment the salon looked like a factory- where machines were being serviced. Some machines brand new…some worn out. This parlor , every office, each home- a circle of perpetual production and consumption, the same machines sometimes producing, sometimes consuming and in the end …all that we are left with is a pair of happy feet...Oh , there's someone calling me for my pedicure... let me also get happy , my foot!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Still, We Give a Damn?

I took up an interesting job today- to clean my up my “junk” folder of all the “junk” and renovate it into a depressingly neat place! – Obviously to accommodate some more junk that life will throw at me until the next such Sunday.

Half filled excels some boring office ppts, stupid photos and an unfinished thought on a word doc.– file name “Gstring Patriots”….

This was a fragmentary piece of my blog post, reeking with my cynicism about the young generations’ patriotism , the generation of which I am very much a part of. The date this file was created – April 3 2011, The morning on which TOI which exclaimed - “India, World Cricket Champions”.

I read it. Reread it. Read it again. I wondered, has something changed since that day….?

I went back in time, visualized “that” hysterical night outside the Wankhede Stadium. Backless Beauties, Tattooed shoulder blades, skimpy skirts, low rise lowers and pierced tounges shouting “Indiaaaa…..India.!!!” . A blatant showoff of the newly hatched, managing the Hondas and the Audis. VLCC crafted “Bodies”, with the tiranga wrap and the figure hugging Blue India T- Shirt…the uproar of “Vande Mataram”. I smirked, and reminded myself that we are anything but patriots. We are the generation which “gives a damn”. I was convinced that this display of patriotism is a commercialized one, a media design.

But last night I made a personal confession- that I was somewhere wrong about a very strongly held opinion. To experience the change in one’s own outlook, by self realization is wonderful.

I wondered, What has changed in a quarter- I looked around and then within

Facebook being used by today’s dudes and dudettes not only to say “SUPALike My New IPhone” but to “ Join Anna Hazare’s Cause”. The profile pic is not much a matter of life and death, but the tag of “I Support IAC” has become important. Of course we still had few losers here too, but there always is a “shallow soul exception” we have to make .

Everyone still wants to be “In Vogue” with a twist , a Gandhian Topi.So what if we wear a short or a spaghetti .

We may earn Thousands a month- but paying a rupee as a bribe , has started pricking somewhere.

From somewhere the guts have showed up, we now can shut up the losers (read cynics) even at the coffee machine conversations.

Arnab Goswami’s newshour debate has definitely become more stimulating than MTV.

Certainly , Its no longer just about "cricket" and "bollywood"!

The energy has been channelized into the right direction with a definite shift in belief that you need not be from a Top B School,-- just “speak UP”

True we are still the same generation - we still give a damn. But we do so about what we are perceived as. We are ok to be seen as lazy and spoilt…, but when it comes to dumping the junk, we are capable of doing a pretty good job.

I really don’t know what the future beholds for the Jan LokPal Bill. What I know is , this one “angry young man” has made us all introspect about something which we never knew existed within each one of us.

I closed the file, kept the file name as is, "Gstring Patriots"…only the connotation has changed.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

U, Me and The Numbers!

I saw him, I dint notice.

I was too absorbed in my thoughts to focus on anything, which most of the times is true for me.Also, he was as insignificant as a struggling dust particle caught in a Brownian motion on this busy bandra flyover.

My rick moved an inch after 12 mins or so... the wait here will be an average 30 mins .Years of travel in this part of the city has conditioned my mind to comfortably float into a state of vaccum and effortlessly do away with all the hurry to reach anywhere , to anyone.

Secretly, I have started to love the silence amidst this commotion and the murder of the obligations “to” (be on time ), “to” (reach somewhere), “to” (work and increase my country’s GDP).

He came closer. A quick analysis gave me the assurance that he will walk past me. The base of analysis being hardcore data and the z.e.r.o. expression face I have become a pro at.

I saw him, I noticed.

A well crafted torso, he wore a painfully bright T epitomizing the Linking road couture. Beads of sweat on his forehead, oceans in his armpit. He stood at the ric , just ahead of mine. A stack of 21 books, from Salman Rushdie to the Kite Runner.

He kept explaining each and every book in detail to the stylish chic , who seemed more interested in her chipping nailpaint than in the literary world.

He was persistent. I was interested. He moved every inch as the potential client moved, every attempt as rigorous as the first….21 heavy books effortlessly placed on the left arm. It seemed to me , God has made such customized job descriptions for almost everyone in this world. The sizzling sheena then picked up her blackberry to dial for sos and put an end to the mutual misery.

I was next. I wanted to be. I wanted to hear all about the 21 books, most of which I have already read . I was amazed at the skill of this dharavi guy , who captured the essence of these book. He spoke about them with passion . I bought a book and my ric moved ahead, he kept walking to me and managed to sell a second. And then a third, at an discounted rate. I did complement him for his amazing selling skill , to which he replied that he has to complete a target of selling 15 books everyday.

I forgot about him. He was inconsequential.

I went to work, I did my targets too. I came back home and did the same. As I looked back at the day, I started wondering about the numeric aspects of this chaotic thing we all call life. The aspect which made us all similar in a way , you , me and the inconsequential dharavi guy.

I thought about the number of petty desires and the hungry obsessions–from showing off branded underwear to increasing the jewelry collections in our lockers.

The want to see the number of “likes” on our face book pics and getting an empty social assurance that we are happy.

The numbers we got in school report cards , then in CAT and now in our appraisals of corporate rat race.

The number of wants in a lifetime and the want of numbers in it.

To earn much more than we need and then increasing the needs much more than we can ever earn. A game with futile efforts to equate the two.

A complicated formula of each number leading to another, every target connected to the next. Every quantitative achievement leading to a qualitative mirage of fulfillment.

Time to sleep and achieve my numbers tomorrow!