Saturday, 12 April 2014

The Salon




The same telephone call. The same words. 

Late, meeting, you eat. Her mind veiled the ears from listening any more … or caring? The ‘bye’ by him was spoken to the wind, for the receiver was already half-way down to where it usually stood. Undisturbed. A lethargic movement of her hand and the quietest click. Like a tear which falls unnoticed. That soft that insignificant. Equally sad.

She sat with her hands in her lap for a few seconds that seemed to stretch like a movie in slow motion, thumb playing with the 23-year-old ring on a certain finger. As if looking for something around it. As if it itched. The fingers on the other hand tapped in rhythm with the clock. Tapped on the thigh thinking, with deathly stillness. As if looking for ways to part the velvet curtains and jump out … no no, only fly out and return later. To something new, or maybe to a new self? 

A new self.

She slapped her thighs with new-found energy and got up, with a decision made so impulsively that it took her red and white bangles by surprise. Made the red bindi on her forehead hang precariously, so frowned-with-determination the brow seemed. Salon. Let me go to the salon

She started getting ready. In the mirror she saw a face adorned the same way since she was 23, as she combed her frizzy hair nervously to re-do the bun. Those magazine girls from the expanse of her free time in the confines of her 4 walls came rushing to her mind – lips painted red, eyes smoked grey, those arms and legs gleaming with sheen and hair so stylish, she wanted to pick up the scissors and cut off her tail instantly. Sinfully. With every thought, her heart beat faster, as if she was going to run away. Forever. But she was simply going to go to the salon, right? Two blocks away. Oh how she wanted to ever since it opened, but how the feet and mind refused to take her there. Kept her lust in check. Like a schoomarm’s conditioned birch rod. And ... He says I don’t need to be touched up, so pretty I am. That no foreign hand need rob me of Simplicity, the true jewel a woman can wear. She who belongs at home.

Is it? 

With every stroke of the brush, she noticed herself anew. The shadows under the eyes had got darker. The cheeks seem to sag and in place of the lips she saw a mouth tightly shut. For after all, not all thoughts found freedom in breath. Actually, most did not. How much can you talk to the ladle in the kitchen, or the vacuum cleaner? Or even to the flowers, no matter how fresh the arrangement? Once, she caught herself talking to the sparrow which often came to perch itself on her kitchen window. A few words, but she checked herself in time. Am I mad talking to a bird? She had turned the television real loud that day, drowning out the ‘What do I do? What can I do?’ spoken to the bird long back, but lingering in the air around still. Heavy with guilt. 

Am I going mad?

Her pulse kept pace with the fastness of her hands. The last knot was tightened with a tenacity which shook both the earrings. Like a quake with its epicenter inside her body, somewhere. She will go to the salon today. She will. Let him come home later to a surprise. Will he like it? Will he get angry? With one sweep of her hands settling the dupatta in place, she swept those questions away. Her feet moved like a little girl’s on her prom night. Free, somewhat, and following the voice in the gut. Dancing free style to visions of another face in the mirror. A new face she wanted to see. Perhaps, the face of a voice?

The bag could hardly breathe, she held the straps that tight. It almost fell off in protest, or was it her shaking hands? She turned the door knob and the door acquiesced. Oh, I should leave a note! But what will I say? But what if he worries? But .. and in she turned to scribble her impulsively made decision on a post-it. If only she had just left … without caring. The phone rang. ‘On my way’ and ‘the meeting got cancelled. Keep the dinner ready’.

The door closed on her face … with the quietest click. Like a tear which falls unnoticed. That soft that insignificant. Equally sad.

She woke up from her Awakening. Threw the dupatta on the dining chair, got the stove burning. Drowned the rice in a bowl and ripped the eggplant to roast. The juicy red of tomatoes flowed on the chopping board. The sound of the knife shadowed the sound of those pretty giggling girls from her magazines’ folds. The jingle of small freedom could not compete with the cooker’s siren.

She wiped the sweat her forehead was oozing, as she watched the pots and pans, the smoke and the gurgles, the waste. In the bin. What was I thinking? Salon? At this age? After all these years? Plus, what is the point? He says I don’t need to be touched up, so pretty I am. That no foreign hand need rob me of Simplicity, the true jewel a woman can wear. She who belongs at home. Is it? 

Of course it is!

----

[Written for WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. The prompt for today was - Decisions, Decisions - How are you more likely to make an important decision — by reasoning through it, or by going with your gut?]




64 comments:

  1. Back here after a short hiatus. Nicely done, to bring that age old problem in our society to back from the shadows and into the light. At the risk of sounding like an activist for these stupid politicians, I say : " Let's empower women" to leave such idiots and go live their life as they see fit.

    ReplyDelete
  2. lovely take on the prompt, What a strong post and you name it the Salon, nice combination !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ananya, for noticing all that. :)

      Delete
  3. Quite a nice post on many levels. Firstly, the topic you chose is something that most middle aged people can easily relate to given the increasing occurrences of mid life crises that we all hear about and sometimes personally face as well.

    What I liked the most about this piece was the fact that the terms you used in the last paragraph were basically terms which had also appeared earlier on in the post, but this time around they took an entirely different hue and color of their own, and that to me Sakshi speaks volumes for your craft of weaving words together in a beautiful tapestry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jai, so happy you read this that carefully. Many thanks for liking this and my writing. No matter what I say, I do look forward to your response. :)

      Delete
  4. You make my jaws drop every time...Another re - read post.. Bravo



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) Ever kind, Salesh, aren't you? Thank you! :)

      Delete
  5. Nice way to highlight insecurity of a women for attention or to be faithful to her duties as a married wife

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sneh. Good to have you here! :)

      Delete
  6. Like a tear which falls unnoticed. I loved it, Sakshi ♥ :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. "She woke up from her Awakening" - that's some line, Sakshi!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you liked it. Being quoted gives me a high. Thank you, Beloo. :)

      Delete
  8. Loved it. The words found a life of their own in this story. I could imagine her going through the drill.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The story of many whom we know and sometimes one slips easily into a scenario like this one. How well you bring the dull and faded alive with your style.

    Joy always,
    Susan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Susan. Very happy to hear what you say. Always looking to make the 'ordinary' the subject of my posts. There is so much there waiting to be shown.

      Delete
  10. Lovely piece ! You have brought out the pangs of loneliness very well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am happy to hear that word - loneliness, for my intent was to show that. Many thanks for reading.

      Delete
  11. Such beautifully expressed angst! Loved it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dipali. You are so full of love, you amaze me!

      Delete
  12. wonderful piece of writing.!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to see you here. Glad you liked this!

      Delete
  13. A great, visual story. Loved the ending you gave it. One sans judgement. Let the protagonist make her decision whatever be the trigger.
    I feel whatever decisions one makes rationally, are the right ones. Anyone who has managed to sort her (or his) priorities from life, no matter what age, is a star in my book. Because most of us waste our entire lifetime chasing regrets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like how you interpreted the end. Makes me believe mine was not the only version the protagonist was presented with. What I saw as 'inability/helplessness to break free' you saw as 'choice'. I do like what you say, Rickie. It makes me even more confident in my belief that often we tend to shoebox others' lives in our handwritten labels. THIS wonderfully confirms my fears. :)
      Thanks a lot for reading, even though you are many more meters above sea level than I am right now. :D

      Delete
  14. Such beauty in your language and the description of the lady's anguish , enjoyed reading it and can almost relate to her!Wow great read Sakshi

    ReplyDelete
  15. Quite difficult topic for an youngster to write. Possibly you observed the umbra and penumbra zones of life. Nice narration, keeps the reader serious to read upto the end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you reading and liking this, Pradip.

      Delete
  16. One of the best piece I read in a long time...!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love this. Something to be read, re-read and again read. You are an amazing being!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Parvathy. You take me to another level by saying 'amazing being'. :)

      Delete
  18. Beautiful ! Beautiful ! I love the way you write Sakshi, you are so much in touch with life :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) Thank you, Puru. That is a nice way of putting it. 'In touch with life' :)

      Delete
  19. Beautiful Sakshi! Is all I can say! Wonderfully expressed the mid-life crisis and dilemma of a homemaker.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I like the way you express yourself. Very well told story

    ReplyDelete
  21. And there she innocently crushed her simple desires. Unknowingly.
    This was the best post I read this month.
    I genuinely mean it!
    Right after your 'WOMAN IN THE MIRROR' post. WOW!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Replies
    1. Nuha, that says a lot. :)
      Thank you!

      Delete
  23. very well crafted story.. I guess in the end everything boils down to the fact what one chooses..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Simple. :)
      Thank you for reading!

      Delete
  24. Very nicely written. Oh yes, there are umpteen times when I have justified my own decisions by mulling over them in my head. Very visual post! I could even see how she went after the vegetables. You worked on the prompt beautifully through a story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Rachna. You good words are very very encouraging.

      Delete
  25. There is so much of pathos in this story. Told with just the right amount of passion and detachment. Loved it :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sridevi. The right amount of passion and detachment sounds wonderful. Hopefully, it was not a one-off coincidence. :)

      Delete
  26. Very well written! I loved the way the description of the vegetables reflected on how she must have been feeling. Actually Interpreted the end as that of a woman wanting to break free. Reading Rickie's view gave it a different perspective and made me wonder whether the way we women look at it is stereotyped and limited... why cant we look at things the way Rickie just did? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seeta, I love that you noticed that description and made the link. :)
      I agree with you. When I read Rickie's comment I saw my own post carrying multiple inferences in its closure. Like I said to him, he opened my eyes to my own questions.
      Thanks for reading! :)

      Delete
  27. Life is not about what we can achieve but what we want to achieve... at least she had desires and dreams at her age... beautifully written... gives inspiration beneath the layers of dark truth of her life.. just amazing sakshi... I made my entire family read it. Everybody appreciated it... thank you for giving us such a beautiful piece..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Shruti and thank you to your family for reading this and appreciating it too.

      Delete
  28. It's so amazingly written ...depicts her true feelings in every word in every line . How many lives get confined just like that in the 4 walls ...and nobody bothers nobody cares .

    ReplyDelete
  29. The woman in her longs to be the girl trapped inside, suffocated by expectations.

    Evocative. I could feel her angst bottled up inside.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, what you see is what I too had in mind when I wrote it thus. Varied interpretations followed, which again is a good thing.
      Thank you so much, Purba ma'am. :)

      Delete
  30. An absolute delight like the Absolute Vodka coupled with varied shades&colors of life. Sakshi,you really wear your heart on the sleeves. Whatta post and you in competition with yourself as you raise the bar higher &higher every time. Need I say more?:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, you need not. :)
      Thank you, Vishal!

      Delete
  31. The jingle of small freedom could not compete with the cooker’s siren.

    It could, never. In such cases, not at all.
    My heart goes out to her, Sakshi. There's a little of her in every woman, at least a little. Most of us come out of it, our freedom competing with and winning over the whistles of the pressure cooker or the sizzle of roasting brinjals....but some shades still remain !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you, Sreeja. There is a little bit of her in all of us. I think you put it really well here. Glad you read this and dropped your feedback! :)

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...