Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Beauty & The Beast

23 December 2009

Tomorrow would be the best day of my life. It was going to be my Graduation Convocation. I was so happy. I also had to look my best. What with all the cameras clicking around, I could not afford to look dull. I had to be at my shining best! The thing about convocation is, even after 40 years of your life, people will still look at these photographs. 

Accordingly I went to the best parlor in town. Got a bunch of their most expensive facials, manicure and pedicure. Advised some other customers on the precariousness of using beauty parlor products and how they should stick to herbal products only. The assistants in the parlor gave me a look. 

“But I’m not doing business, I thought. I’m just advising lost souls about skincare- which is as elementary as hygiene.” 

With this in mind, I went on and on about skin care and how the customer should buy herbal products and not that chemical trash they feed your skin at the parlor. ‘I know, it works. And it will work for you too’. Followed by that perfect white smile that you see on fairness cream ads. Or Colgate. Whatever.

And finally my beauty sleep ended. The assistants were still looking at me as if they would roast me alive if possible. But they were relieved to let me go. So was I. As I proceeded to the counter with my tower high nose, I looked carelessly for the 500 rupee note lying at the corner of my purse. It eluded me. “Naughty girl,” I smiled to myself. “Now don’t play hide and seek with me, Mummy needs you”. I searched and searched but there was no 500 rupee note! Only a worn out 50 rupee note.

A cold drop of sweat passed down my forehead. Panic. Blackout. My immediate reaction was aggression.  What! Those cranky assistants stole my money to get back at me! There I went to the parlor manager (who had already heard about my illustrious expertise as the next Shahnaz Hussein) complaining to her that I could not find my money. I had kept it there, yes in her parlor, and now it was gone! She was calm as she told me that none of her employees were thieves and I could go check anywhere I wanted to. 

Ears burning hot, I went and searched inside but could not find anything. As if they would keep MY money here after stealing it!

I was intent on foul play. However my paranoia was not going to get me out of there. Think think. I went back up to the counter again.

“Here ma’am I’d also like to trim my hair. It should be perfect. I have a function tomorrow.”

The lady nonchalantly pointed me to the hair stylist who spent the next half an hour styling my hair. After I saw it, I raised a fuss. “Nah, I didn’t want it that way. What have you done? It’s ruined!”

The stylist took a look and said, “But it’s perfect!”

“This is perfect? From what angle is this perfect? I look like a rabbit with a lion’s mane. How am I going to show my face tomorrow?”

I looked intently at the mirror and then picked up a spot in my cheek, “Oh no… It’s red. What did you put in my skin?”

The assistant looked at my skin intently and said, “Where? I can’t see anything?”

“Of course you can’t. I can feel it. I am having skin irritation.”

At this, the counter lady (who was also the owner) hurriedly came up to me. She looked at my face intently and said, “Look ma’am, I can’t see anything, everything is perfectly alright.”

I glared at her. Other customers were coming in and to add an element of authenticity, I started shrieking loudly. “This, this is what you call world class parlor? My skin irritation is getting the better of me. I will never come here again! Never.”

The other customers were equally surprised and looked at each other. The counter lady went to tackle them. I looked at them and said, “See what they did to my face. I’d run if I were you.”

The lady then came up to me and said, “Ma’am what is the problem?”

“Problem, problem you ask me? Tomorrow’s the biggest day of my life and you spoilt it all! Why will I pay thousands of rupees if I don’t get value for money? On top of that, you people have harmed my skin!”

“Ma’am, listen to us..”

“No you listen to me. I am never coming back again. I am horrified. God knows what your assistants will do to my face if I stay here any longer. Thank you so much for your time. And thanks for wasting my time. Have a good night.” 

With this I stormed out of the parlor, heaved a sigh of relief and promised myself to triple check my purse from now on. Even now when I go to a parlor, I pay the money in advance. That was an embarrassing moment that I’ll never forget. But as it is, good sense can rescue you from any situation!