I just do not understand all this trivial discussion about the problems that women have in balancing work and home. Child’s play, let me tell you, compared to the main time-consuming issues that confront us women. Issues that confront us the moment we wake up and do not let go till we get to sleep, if we can get to sleep.
Wake up in the morning and you have this hideous bird’s nest on top of your head. About the first thing you do is to check the pillow to see if there is the fine layer of dust on it – the dreaded ‘D’ word - dandruff! Better you do it than some stranger on the streets with a scalp camera looking to scalp people like you! Uh! Oh! Time for the anti-dandruff shampoo! Now, do you have a sufficient stock of that hair-conditioner around? Can’t show your head to the world with lifeless hair or, God forbid, split ends, whatever they be! You just cannot imagine the number of problems that strands of dead protein can get into nor the amount of effort that goes into making that self-same dead protein look alive!
Never realized the number of life-threatening problems that your face can go through! Some say seven some say ten but, how many ever they be, they have all got to be addressed. Do you really want to go around with damaged skin? Of course not! Unless your skin is fair it has got to be damaged, right? So, on with the moisturizing soaps, moisturizing creams, face washes, fairness creams and the rest. Oh! Peel off that facial layer first! To think that our parents were naïve enough to think of vitamins as something to ingest! Without the use of vitamins all over their faces, no wonder they look wrinkled. (Signs of old age and not of vitamin deficiency? What nonsense! They never even heard of anti-wrinkle creams and claim that at sixty-odd, wrinkles do appear. Excuses! Excuses! )
Till not so long back, that was about all the problems I had to tackle in the bathroom, except the periodic depilation (sounds more scientific than hair removal, doesn’t it?) of the armpits and the legs and those creams for the feet that keep them from developing cracks. But Life does love throwing curve-balls at you, doesn’t it?
When I do wear those sleeveless dresses of mine I had always admired the play of color across my arms. The slightly darker tan, up to where the sleeves usually are, tapering off to the lighter tan above seemed very pretty to me. How was I to know that that was gauche and, if I did not have an even tan all over I would be shunned by society? Much as I’d like to say snootily that, since I don’t play tennis, it doesn’t matter how varicolored my body is, I am not sure that I can carry it off. So, I have to smear body lotions all over now and, let me tell you, if someone has found a way to conveniently reach the middle of the back – other than using a husband or boyfriend – she deserves the next Nobel Prize for whatever!
I know that I have no intentions of picking up a couple of pompoms and flinging up my hands. So, what do I need with fairer armpits? Maybe this is one thing that I can dispense with. I, however, don’t dare do that unless I intend keeping my hands firmly stuck to my body whenever I wear a sleeveless dress. Just cannot stand the idea of my friends murmuring, “Did you see that? Her armpits are darker than the rest of her body!” and sniggering at me. (Boy-friends? No way! A man has difficulty enough in seeing that his girl has her head completely shaved. Pester him about it and “You look somehow different”, is the most he can come out with. When he has difficulty in even seeing that what you are wearing is a sleeveless dress, do you really expect him to notice subtle variations in skin color? Nonsense! It is the friends of my sex that I am apprehensive about)
Am I done with the bathroom and can I proceed to my dressing table where there is another pharmacy set up to design my face and body? Till about a week back I thought so. Not now! Apparently even my vagina has got to be the same color as the rest of my body. Now that, at least, is safe from the eyes of my friends and I can rely upon men to not be very perceptive, can’t I? One doubt bothers me, however! About the only two things men seem to take interest in are a plunging neckline and the vagina. To be sure, their interest in the latter has not, hitherto, been in looking at it but dare I take a chance? I may be willing to trade in my current boyfriend for a better model but I cannot stand for being the one who is dumped and with cause!
You do not really want to know about the saga of the dressing table or the dress decisions that come thereafter or of shopping for all these. After all this, do you really think that I even have the time to worry about balancing work and home, leave alone actually balancing them? What am I - a juggler?
I envy the previous generation. A bit of shikakai, some turmeric and soap and they were done! They never knew how easy they had it. I can, however, thank Heaven for small mercies. By the time my daughter grows up, they would have found a way to get rid of the unseemly red that mars the lips and the mouth and that disgusting pupil which is of a different color from the lovely white of the rest of the eye! It will probably take a woman two days to get ready for an outing but, then, any sacrifice is worth it to make a proper appearance in society, isn’t it? Thank God, I won’t have to make all those sacrifices! Yet!