Saturday, April 26, 2008

A picture speaks louder...

I sent pictures of the conference I mentioned in my last post to a lot of people. Of course I vetted them and sent out the ones where my hair looked fairly OK, and my double chin was hidden behind the potted palms as much as possible, but beyond that it wasn't like I felt the need to photoshop my flaws out of existence, because these pictures were merely to show photographic evidence to people "See! I really did have a good time at so-and-so place." As far as my expectations that people would send me medals by post for my beauty, and renewed wedding proposals ...I didn't have that many.

But see, that's something most people don't get. I put up one of these pics as my google chat picture and one fine evening a friend pings me to say, "hi...if you don't mind my saying look fat in the picture." Just like that.

I just didn't get it. For one thing, Yes, I DO mind...and I told her that atleast I don't look as fat as she does in HER pictures. Something my superior manners restrained me from telling her earlier. Second, she KNOWS I talk endlessly about my weight, so it couldn't be that, as a friend, she thought she was pointing out something I hadn't noticed, so that I could thank her tearfully later on when I was all svelte and beautiful again.

Third. I didn't put up the pictures in a fond moment of belief, as I mentioned earlier, that Bollywood scouts would catch sight of them, and ask me to be Aamir Khan's new leading lady. I think, at the risk of sounding intolerably swollen headed, I have a VERY good idea about how I look and torture myself endlessly about it. I send out latest pictures, again, to show people that THIS is where I went with THAT group of people and so on. Something even my parents don't get frankly, so this friend of mine can be forgiven to a certain extent, except that she didn't MAKE me, and raise me, and so have entitlement to make rude comments about me.

I remember having a lark with friends (incidentally one is the fat-caller) in Goa, and taking pictures in very bizarre outfits and sending them to everyone saying "Check this out, we had a BLAST!" My folks remained ominously quiet about the photos until I thought I would hear the worst and called to ask if they hadn't seen them. My mother sounded instantly uncomfortable. "Yes dear, I did." "Well?" "Well dear, none of you look in the pictures." What about the blue, blue sea in the background, what about the funny headgear, what about the huge, big grins on our faces??" "Yes, yes, dear, I saw that."

See what I mean? Of course if anyone does compliment me on my recent pictures (yes, my darlings, that happens rarely but still does) I won't pretend to say I'm not inordinately pleased by it.

But on the whole, I feel the people who really get it is the bunch who write back saying: "Whoa! It looks like the trip was a gas! What is that person doing with that watermelon in the background??"

If not for those questions, all I really needed to do was keep circulating my college and wedding pictures ( saying stuff like 'this is me at the office party I attended last week!! Why am I dressed like a bride you ask? And why is my mother-in law in the picture, you ask?') at regular intervals and enjoy the compliments pour in, until I dropped down dead at 92.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Get down and boogie.

I’m just back from a conference at a resort with 60 other colleagues and what can I say I just couldn’t stop dancing. My boss’s boss’s boss personally came up to me and begged me to stop dancing lest I hurt my foot again and had to call in sick but I wouldn’t listen. Just the very mention of a Hawaiian night in a pub called Liquids and I could feel my dance hormones coursing through my body. It was almost like a chemical reaction. For the life of me I couldn’t stop dancing.

I’ve seen a few other people like me, and there’s some comfort in that I’m sure. Otherwise, as you faithful readers know, I’m not a person who likes to draw attention by doing anything unusual in the work place and have been known to try to look as much like installation art as possible in meetings so I’m not asked to speak. But lead me to a dance floor and I give a damn who looks at me and what they think. And this attitude has always paid off (apart from one party where I drank too much and was pretty much a three-hour-long wardrobe malfunction) I have always come away from these parties feeling like I was on a high.

Give me music I don’t hate and clear a little area of the floor so I don’t trip and fall too often, and you can sit back and wait for Ms Jekyll to take over. It’s just not me anymore.
As it is I find myself on the dance floor quite embarrassingly early. I know the modus operandi is to hang back and act like you don’t care for dancing…but that just wastes time in my opinion. I walk in and hit the floor and don’t come off until they switch off the lights, explain that they’d stopped the music 15 minutes ago, and that they had families to go back home to, could I please leave?

As I walk on to the dance floor and a song I like comes on, I can feel all my hesitation falling away, and my body comes up with all these wild dance steps I didn’t even know I had in my repertoire. It’s quite an out-of-body experience. Whether I’m great at it I don’t know, I’m not half bad, that’s all I know and that’s all I need. I don’t do it for other people any way. This is my me time, when I get to feel happy in my skin, and lose all the nonsense that goes through my head every waking moment of every day since the day I was born. The music plays, the beats take hold of me, and if I have a half-way decent partner (read: who doesn’t complain that the music is bad, his feet hurt, and threatens to stop dancing after every second song) I am the happiest (the out of my mind, sing aloud, jump-in-the-air kinda happy) woman in the room. And I don’t even need booze. I just let loose, whirl, and twist and turn, and in general go haywire.
And then after those three hours of near-religious furor, I drift back to bed and think happily back about those few hours of oblivion.

Because of my foot injury this time of course, I limped stiffly about the hotel all of the next day, but I had an awfully big grin on my face to set it off. I still haven’t stopped smiling, and have started planning my next fix. Let’ see…