Wednesday, December 27, 2006

nose job

Desi ghee ya phir rye ka tel laga lijeeyega. Pake ga nahi phir aapka naak”, advices the portly sonhar when he sees me wavering.

It really was my idea to get nose pierced. A lark, a whim, a fancy. But mostly for vanity, let me not deny that. Four thousand years ago somewhere in the Middle East, Rebekah was gifted a nose ring, a tribute to her ‘enchantingly beautiful’ nose. In ancient India, nose piercings were regarded as a mark of beauty and social standing.

Who am I to fight these strong winds of chronicled culture? Happy I am, to submit to them.

Amorous possibilities is what I had in mind. In reality, I had no clue what step one should be. It’s kind of easy to go to the beauty parlour and let the ladies sting you with a gun shot and some cheap metal. But that’s so pedestrian and I’m in a mood for some serious love song here. Besides, the only metal my precious skin can adopt as its own is 22 carats.

Some one suggested Zaveri Bazaar. It’s not far from office and my boss is not in. The planets have aligned.

Not so much actually. In the middle of the afternoon, I go from jewelry shop to jewelry shop – large showrooms to 5-foot shacks, and whilst they’ll sell you all sorts of ornaments to decorate your nose and ears, no one, absolutely no one does the job of piercing them. Backward integration to provide customized solutions – this market ain’t believers of that axiom.

Walking in the heat through narrow crowded by lanes, I’m hungry, thirsty and my 1 inch heel threatens to give up on me. Maybe today’s not the day? Maybe it’s a sign? I almost hail a cab when someone takes pity on me and tells me to try Mumba Devi Mandir.

Situated in the midst of one of Bombay’s most herded alleys, Mumba Devi temple is crowded with devotees, their prayers and offerings. The temple is alive, Mumba, commanding goddess of Mumbai, sits proudly dressed in aesthetic robes with nose studs. I figure I can at least pray to her to make it happen somehow.

As it happens, there are still some gods I may not have yet displeased. Around the temple there is sweet smell of jasmine and orange marigolds and worshipers sell copper bracelets, rings, rudraksha necklaces, incense, saffron, and more. Seated amidst this chaos are two portly men, one eating lunch and the other beating flat one piece of yellow metal.

I stop and hesitatingly ask them if they’ll be able to pierce my nose. Silence for 2 minutes.

Chaandi ki taar se?

Nahi, sone ki taar se. I venture hopefuly. Aap karenge, please?

They again measure me out. Samay lagega sone ki taar banana mein.

Theek hai, main wait kar sakti hoon. I’m not going to give up so easy.

Aisa keejeeye, aap apni taar leke aaiye. They dismiss me.

Lekin…hum kahan se taar laaenge. Aap bana dijeeye, hum wait kar sakte hain. I’m desperate now.

Nahi, aap taar leke aaiye. Hum phir ched kardenge. No more debate on this. I’m finally brushed aside.

Worn out but still hopeful, I take my case to the court of Zaaveri Bazaar again. Fruitlessly I wander around till a tiny shop Tara Chand (TC) Jewelers agree to sell me a 1 inch long, 22 carats gold wire. Bless them!

Yeh leejeeye. I pronounce triumphantly to the sonhar duo.

Again they measure me. Kitne paise diye iske liye.

300 rupay. Kyon zyada hain kya?

I’m not sure if they smirked at me, but one of them finally nodded. Hum aapse ek sau ek rupay lenge is kaam ke liye, apne labour ke liye.

Woh theek hai, lekin kya hume dard bahut hoga? Second thoughts in my mind. Am I crazy for doing this?

Arre nahi. Koi dard nahi hoga. Aap sab humpe chod dijeeye ab.

Only too happy to.

The wire is taken and sharpened. He gets up asks me – kaunsa side? Left? Right?

Ummm right side. I have really no clue.

Waise to log left side par karte hain.

Hang on. I quickly call a friend and she confirms. Left it is.

Theek hai bhai saab, left side par kijeeye.

My head is forced to the left, some one catches hold of my nose and OUCH! It hurts. There’s no blood but my eyes are watering like crazy. People gather around to view this spectacle. For almost 5 minutes he uses pliers to knot the wire. I’m balancing between wanting to shut my eyes because of the pain and wanting to keep a watch what this chaps doing to my nose

Then it gets done. A lovely piece of gold wire pierced through my nose.

Right now it’s enveloped in a weird concoction of soframycin and desi ghee, but it feels sexy as hell.

Maybe i will get my love song after all.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Skin Deep

Really that seems to be the point of frustration always. It’s a great package. It looks pretty darn sexy. Someone’s spent a whole lot of money and time marketing it.

But you take one bite – you reel back. It’s revolting. It’s a lie. There’s nothing underneath the pretty package.

Did anyone spend anytime on first principle? On looking up quality ingredients? On trying to build the original product and not just the covers?

Nope. Didn’t think so.

We love pretty exteriors so much it clouds our judgment on anything else. It’s like all of us are on psychedelic drugs and we’re grinning gleefully at the coloured rings merging into each other.

No one respects your intelligence any more. No, change that. They don’t think you’d have enough mental faculty to actually demand much, forget being offended.

The latest pissing off entity in the market – they made what they call a movie – Dhoom 2.

Popular news channels couldn’t stop gushing about how great the protagonists were looking. Ms Bips went on to say she worked really hard for the movie. Working out to look good. Everyone did work hard. Everyone but the script writers. And Mr. Chopra. They gave us a lemon. And it ain’t even freshly squeezed juice of Vitamin C.

The other morning one ostensibly intelligent gentleman sent me a text – Dhoom 2 rocks! A refusal to concur with this emotional effusion led him to gallantly remark – it’s the age of marketing and not content.

Well, that’s like saying the Indian cricket team is the best in the world since they endorse a whole host of brands, even though you can’t remember the last time they convincingly won a match.

I’m done with the low IQ-ed mainstream garbage in the name of entertainment, infotainment that they’re dishing out. You want my attention? You darn well work for it.

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hello to say good bye

I don’t think I can forget my wedding date. It’s the day my train pass expires.

It can be an extremely harrowing, hectic perhaps even fulfilling a day. For me, it was remarkably calm. I woke up early, didn’t really take a shower and even managed to tuck in a large cup of strawberries and cream, fresh from a popular mid-town juice centre.

There are inflection points in your life – you can either ignore them, let go, or you can stand to regret them. It’s too early to tell if I’m going to regret this. The problem begins when you start to expect it to change your life, to make a difference. Expectation is clearly, the mother of all fuck ups. If you could just learn to ignore it – the feeling of excessive elation or massive disappointment.

Why is that you need the endorsement of an event to feel fulfilled?

Why are you so scared of letting go?

Why is your presence more significant than anyone else’s?

Are you going to reach a milestone that no one else has?

Are you going to disappear and no one will ever remember you?

Maybe you’re making a rather large mountain here out of a non-existent mole hill. Maybe you need to pay a little less attention to the rock on the left hand and focus more on the road ahead.

Maybe I just want to commemorate my non wedding day.

Maybe if you throw me together with a few more folks, I’ll just bell-curve out.

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