Make-up and Men

The ex always had it in for make-up for some reason, forever claiming that: “You look beautiful without it, so why do you need it?” I tried to explain that it was because I liked the colours, and the ability to reinvent myself, but usually fell on deaf ears.

His list of dislikes, or rather “I don’t prefer” [sic], was rather long: I think make-up is unnecessary, and natural beauty is better; why straighten your hair when you have such lovely curls; wear something apart from jeans and tee. It has become your uniform, and you would look so good in other clothes too; would you consider putting flowers in your hair; and so on.

To be fair to him, he did provide a tremendous boost to my confidence, by telling me constantly that I was beautiful. [I paraphrase, because his versions were usually long, adjective-ridden, and hyperbolic. I’m too embarrassed to reproduce them.] But honestly, after the first flush of attraction was over, what difference did it make what I looked like?

He had no problem with me being overweight, although he did encourage me to become healthier overall. He had no problem with the normal exigencies of every day life: sweat, period stains, grimy hands, food-stained clothes, etc. His time spent in a naval academy really inured him to all of it, except: make-up.

So I toned it down considerably. Let’s say it was a happily conceded compromise, because there was all the other stuff to weigh against. It was a small thing to do. I went from full eye make-up to a liner and mascara. Dark lipsticks to glosses and balms. Very rarely did I do anything to my scraggly hair. And he was happy. Fair enough.

But after we split up, the status quo changed. I could do whatever I wanted to do, without wondering if he liked it or not. [I still did for months, but I imagine that’s natural.] And I got back to my rather flamboyant former style; not completely, because my taste evolved a bit.

And then I got back into the dating scene. And my friends noticed the change.

Dear lord.

I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve asked me why I apply make-up at all. It is such a bizarre question, because it is so normal, so pedestrian a thing to do for me. I have been tempted on several occasions to retort with: “Why do you comb your hair? Or what made you pick that shirt over a sack today?” but I refrain because sarcasm is hardly ever recognised as such.

And my friends. Good grief.

The remarks have had range, I’ll admit. Since none of these boys are remotely romantically interested [THANK THE HEAVENS!] in me, they don’t quite see me as a girl, but as a vaguely girlish approximation of a ‘bro’. Which results in annoying exclamations:

– “Why are you looking weird today?!”
– “Why do you have weird shit on your face?”
– “Are you unwell?”
– “You don’t actually need lipstick, you know. Makes you look like a girl.” [*facepalm*]
– “Oh God. You look like a girl today. Yuck.”


And in the last 10 days, I found myself explaining to 3 different men, why I use make-up: BECAUSE I LIKE IT!


Silly Trifecta

Not that I would ever admit this to him (because he would make incessant fun of me), but I have an amazing friend. I spend a lot of time chatting with him, and we’ve gotten into this comfortable equation of sending each other context-less updates a few times a day. It’s really the best.

Having said that, he is a clown. I am also a clown. And add to that, my mother is ALSO a clown. Case in point:

(He calls me Mom sometimes, because I am the responsible one of the two of us. Also, I can be very stick-in-the-mud at times.) He texted me, asking about what to reply to a match of his on Tinder, when the poor girl said: “What’s up?”

His initial idea was to say “Ceiling” but I threatened to disown him, to which: Mom! ๐Ÿ’”. We then ramble on for a few more minutes, before I decide to role play. So I ask: “What’s up?”
And he says: “Ceiling.”
Me: “I’m used to this shit, so I will continue speaking to you.”
Him: “Mamta.”
[Now, in my defence, ‘Mamta’ is a first name in India. So:]
Me (genuinely confused): “Banerjee?” [An Indian politician from West Bengal.]
Him: *facepalm* “Maa ki mamta. One day a random projectile will fly through your window.”
Me: *dying of laughter*

[Maa ki mamta = Mother’s love]

Second case in point:

He calls. And:

Him: “Dude! Ghar me spoons nahi hai.” [There are no spoons at home!]
Me: “What? Did you throw them out or something?”
Him: “No. I forgot to wash them the last time I did the dishes.”
Me: “… and your mind equates unwashed spoons to NO SPOONS AT ALL?”
Him: “Obviously! Keep up dude.”

Third, and final, case in point:
I was telling my mum about JH calling me “Mom”. And her response: “Why didn’t you tell me I have a grandson?!”
Crazy people.

Chicken Kari

Embarrassing nicknames anyone? Of course, we all have them. I have had my fair share too, although I have thankfully outgrown being embarrassed by them.

An old school friend was in my town recently, and we made plans to meet up. I had last caught up with him 5 years ago, and we had subsequently chatted online a few times. It was great fun to see him again, because, even though he may not remember it, he bestowed my enduring school nickname upon me.

Back when I was in the third grade, all of 7 years old, my mum had her silk business in Dubai. She was always into design, so she had a couple of fashion shows, although she was primarily into upholstery fabric and corporate gifts. [One day I will list out all the stuff my incredible mother has accomplished. She is really a cracker.]

Being a doting mum, she named her brand after me: 4 letters from my first name, and 3 letters from my surname. I was torn between being chuffed and embarrassed with all the attention. Also, I was in the fashion show. [A really, really doting mum. I am not sure I would let my hypothetical children into anything, because they are sure to be hellions.]

Since I was in the fashion show, I needed special permission to leave school early that one day. Of course, the leave was applied for and granted early on, so my class teacher knew about it. My mum asked me to get the permission slip signed on the day of, and so I did so, an hour or so before leaving.

Reliving the memory, I realise that my teacher asking me to do the steps for one of the choreographed sequences was fairly atypical. But at the time, I did it with aplomb. She asked me a lot of questions, and the innocent 7 year-old blurted out that my mother’s brand name was named after me: Kari—. And I explained how it was coined too.

Only for my friends to pick up on the fact that ‘Kari’ is a homonym of ‘curry’.

The next day, I learned that my new nickname was Chicken Curry. Everyone had picked up on it. The boys were hollering it all throughout break, and the girls ranged on my side for defence.

The funny part was that I didn’t mind. Every break, my friend stood in the doorway, yelled out “Chicken Curry!”, and peeled out into the school yard with the other boys. The girls and I would give chase, although what we were supposed to do once we caught them, we never really considered.

Today, only I and another friend remember that nickname. But it still makes me smile.

Lines of Farewell

One of my friends from ParserPile was ecstatically in the process of leaving, so much so that he planned his farewell email days in advance. The only catch was that he didn’t know how to draft it. So he called me with an SOS.

Friend: Dude, need help
Friend: Something urgent
Me: haan bolo
Me: what’s up?
Me: what do you need?
Friend: ๐Ÿ˜ˆ
Friend: Need a farewell email
Me: if it is cake…
Me: ahh
Me: hahaha
Friend: Can you write one for me. Plzzzz
Me: you can’t be serious
Friend: Cake too..
Me: aaj last day hai?
Friend: I am damn serious
Friend: Kal hai
Me: get lost. not making cake for you
Friend: I am giving you proper timelines/deadlines. ๐Ÿ˜‚
Me: I will write the email and send it to you
Friend: ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
Friend: Thnx เค•เคฐเคฟเคถเฅเคฎเคพ
Friend: You’re a true friend, Karishma

The next day, though:

Friend: dude, your personal email id plz..
Have written one myself.. Need someone to proof read it ๐Ÿ˜›
Me: <email>
Friend: sent
Me: Got it. Will check and send by afternoon
Friend: ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
Friend: thnx
Me: done
Me: check and let me know if you need anything else
Me: btw
Me: the personal messages are awesome ๐Ÿ™‚
Friend: โ˜บ
Friend: Thnx
Me: ๐Ÿ˜€
Friend: Such smooth language.. I am planning to deliberately add some linguistic errors, just to make it feel real. ๐Ÿ˜‚
Me: ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚
Me: What a cartoon you are

And then later that day, two of his team members called me, asking me to write a few lines [on their behalf] so that they could inscribe it on his farewell card.

After I had finished all of this, I realised that at least in one permutation, I wrote a farewell email to myself, and then replied to it too!

Smallish Sort of World

Funny coincidence happened a few weeks ago.

I was out and about in the market with mum, and we started feeling a bit peckish. So we slipped into the highly acclaimed, slightly overrated Cafe Madras for a quick lunch.

The place is so insanely popular that the tables have to be shared. That means, since there were just the two of us, and all the tables are four-tops, there were two young lads seated opposite us. They looked nice enough, and we carried on our conversation, and they did the same peaceably.

One of the waiters evidently recognised us, because he came up to us smiling, asking whether we would like to have a condiment we had had on a previous occasion. My mother nodded, and he brought a little bowlful to the table.

Granted it was little more than a tablespoon, but this was what is commonly known as gunpowder. I will refrain from carrying the metaphor forward to its logical conclusion, and leave the contemplation of location and exit of the (metaphorical) cannon ball to your imagination.

My mum wasn’t about eat all of it, so she offered it to the boys in front of us. This little gesture probably signalled that we were not stuck up or averse to mild interaction. And thus, a conversation started.

One of the guys was doing most of the talking, and most of it addressed to me. We exchanged small talk along the usual lines: what do you do; do you come here often; where to you work; etc. It just so happened that he was a software engineer at a startup. I laughed a bit, because of course he was. I told him that I was in that world till 6 months ago, and he must have heard of ParserPile.

He had. In fact, one of his colleagues was from ParserPile. When I asked him which startup he worked for, I was pleasantly surprised to learn its name. Let’s call it VaGaTor.

A good friend from ParserPile works at VaGaTor, so I knew who the colleague in question was. And then I uttered the fateful words: “Have you gotten used to his PJs yet?” [Aside: ‘PJ’ in India is slang for ‘poor joke’. I wasn’t referring to his nightwear.]

To my surprise, the guy did a double take. “What?!” he exclaimed. “But he is the one who complains the first, loudest, and longest about any joke cracked in the office.”

My turn to do the double take. “But he cracked the worst jokes at our shared table! In fact, I created a classification system, where the lowest bar, beyond which jokes are mere statements, were his level: JH-level jokes!” I responded.

The look of sheer, unadulterated glee that dawned slowly over his face was priceless.

The next day, I receive this from the friend:

joke-levelSo not sorry.


Do You Even Lift Bro?

For the last couple of days, I have been having hysterical giggle fits in the evening. This particular evening, one of my friends was unfortunate enough to ring up to discuss a project we are both working on.

He sounded a bit out of breath, so:

Me: “Hey, are you climbing stairs or something? Why are you out of breath?”
Friend: “No man. Started working out a bit every evening.”
Me: *stunned because he is a super scrawny character who eats like a sparrow* “You. You’re working out?!”
Friend: “Oh dude, just stretches. No weights or anything!”
Me: *giggling* “Good. Although, if you wanted to start, they suggest water bottles. You should start with empty ones though.”
Friend: “Geez Karishma. Thanks man. I should always call you when I’m down. You will always show me that there is obviously further to go.”
Me: *in hysterics at this point* “Of course! And you can increase the quantity by 10 ml each week!”
Friend: “You need to go lie down. Good night!”
Me: *crying with laughter*

Ok, so I know it wasn’t that funny. But he thought it was funny too, and we both got a good laugh.