Granma decides to hurriedly fry chaklis(rice flour in oil) because her sister phoned her up at 9am to ask what she has already made for the festival, with the underlying message of expecting a picture of it all to be sent to her over WhatsApp so that our extended family in Mangalore can scrutinise her cooking from all angles possible.
An entire day is spent in finding the perfect outfit for the three of us; burger king breaks inclusive, of course. Said day draws to an end with us diving nose-first into our respective beds, fatigued beyond words.
Sweets are bought from, arguably, the best sweets shop in town, after much deliberation and serious taste bud judging.
What’s not to like? Everyone’s in a festive mood, we come together as a community to share sweets, spend ten minutes catching up and complimenting the beauty of each person’s clothing, the birds are chirping and everything is juust peachy..
Except, it isn’t.
Allow me to elaborate by shedding light on yesterday’s glorious festivities.
You see, I wore a spaghetti strapped tent dress. I would have looked flawless,(well, almost) however, I suffer from chronic cystic acne. Which means, my back, shoulders, chest and face are swamped with mountain-sized ‘pimples’ which give off a rather, purple-ish, monstrous shrek colour. And trust me when I say that there are tons of them, on each part. The efforts of concealer, are, well…appreciable, at most.
But, of course, I thought to myself-what the hell! I deserve to feel good in this dress, and shouldn’t allow a skin condition to prevent myself from exactly that. So I pressed it with love, and managed to cut two gaping holes on either side of it while trying to remove the two extra sleeve materials that were stitched on the inside(don’t worry, two safety pins came to my much-needed rescue!)
and so I wore it with the hope that people would be kind with their words and gentle with their stares.
oh, what a fool
It was the second house we visited. An elderly malayali couple who have known my grandparents ever since they moved into this flat.
She complimented and oo’d and aah’d my sister’s neck-piece, and then looked at me with great disappointment. “Why aren’t you wearing a choker like that?” she asked, with pity. “That’s not how fashion works, you bitch” is what I said with my eyes.
my sister, the incredible conversationalist, came to my aid,rather quickly, by stating that my stone-studded hoops, paired with a choker like hers, would be more bling than I’d like to display.
My new favourite aunty retorted, in my direction, with a callous and condescending wave of the hand, “Your hair’s covering your earrings, so I can’t see them. You should have worn a neck-piece like your sister’s”.
My unwillingness to confront her, unfortunately, meant that victory was hers.
The couch I was seated on, no longer felt comfortable.
Of course, dear aunty couldn’t let me leave without a second round of discomfort. As we stood up to(finally) leave, she asked, “What are you doing about your skin?” with a frown, her eyes darting all over my body, akin to that of a frog’s, when it spots a dozen flies- an unexpected buffet for dinner, waiting to catch and feast on the first pair of unlucky, fluttering wings.
The four of us spent five whole minutes discussing the wonderful topic of my skin, the initiator(favourite aunty) and body of interest(yours truly), igniting an unspoken emotional war, which will now last as long as the earth keeps moving, thanks to my stubborn and unforgiving nature.
And people wonder why I get riled up so easily.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come to love Diwali more and more, as the years pass. Maybe I’m just allowing myself to let one small incident lash rain and thunder on my entire illuminated parade. Maybe it’s my cancerian tendency to be sensitive when people comment on my insecurities, much less, discuss and deliberate them.
Maybe some people just suck, period.
Oh, well. Generous slices of Baskin Robbins chocolate truffle ice cream cake, motichoor ladoos, pedas, chocolates and namkeen snacks sure as hell made up for it. Although it is the price of Hell that I will eventually have to pay for my guilty pleasures, in the form of nice, round, deep acne cysts, the burial of feelings in food is a classic for a pretty darn good reason- it works!
Oh, and, don’t even get me started on the firecrackers. It’s heartbreaking that people here have absolutely no concern for the environment, inclusive of the cleanliness of the atmosphere, sound , and animals with sensitive hearing.
I pray that the Government eventually grows a pair and bans these trouble-making ‘celebratory demonstrations’ for once and for all.
Have a happy and safe Diwali!