That was me this Valentine’s Day.It was just one of those days. Today, I look back at it with a shake of my head and an indulgent smile. Well, almost.
Well, it started off with my well-meaning intention to visit a beauty salon. My beauty regime is so sparse that it is practically non-existent by normal womanly standards. I use a moisturizer on my face after a bath and… that’s about it. And I visit a beauty parlour once a year or in case of some big event – so, maybe twice. When I do go, I usually take the O3 facial, which does seem to work miracles on my skin and is usually the most expensive one on the list and makes me wish I was more regular in Salon visits, even if that sentiment doesn’t last long. Sigh! What would Martha Stewart say.
This time, I decided to go to the parlour in the mall near my home. I have been there before and had been very pleased by the work of a sweet Bengali attendant working there. However, unfortunately for me, she had left a few months back and I was handed over to another woman who was declared to be ‘very very good’. Let me skip over the hasty cleansing, the scrubbing of my face without adequate water so it seemed like my skin was being scraped off with a sandpaper, or the 20-second inadequate steaming followed by the battle to pull out black heads that had were still snug and tight in their cubby holes, or even the completely new massage moves she tried out on my face and move on to THE FACE MASK.
O3 facial ideally culminates in a gel face mask that peels off your face in one fluid movement. So, at first she fobs me off with a normal mask and when I ask for the gel one – she immediately says that comes after this mask and scuttles out. Not my first rodeo darling, I think smugly. I hear some whispering out in the corridor and then she brings the real mask along with the manager since she is not sure how to apply it. Anyway, they muddle through it and then leave me alone for the mask to dry. I had not made a single comment upto this point, which was probably my mistake.
Ten minutes later and nobody is back. The mask should be off by now. I decide to wait, trusting the incompetent fools to know better. Fifteen minutes, no sign. Twenty minutes and I am really getting worried – that thing seems to be fusing to my face. There is no bell, so I frantically call the front desk with my mobile and start banging on the door. The attendant finally appears, whispers a bored ‘sorry madam’ and proceeds to try and take my mask off.
Only, the thing is like a block of cement glued to me face. She tries to pry it off my skin and I scream for her to stop. It was like the pain when you hurt yourself, a scab forms and you try to prise it away too early. Only this wasn’t my knee, but my face. The manager comes in too and decides to ‘help’ by trying to pull it off my face by sheer force. I scream some more. I ask them to pour water over my face and let me do it myself. It takes 20 minutes to get it off in little solid chunks with wisps of my long hair still attached where she had touched the hairline. By the time they finished my face was red and rashes were sprouting one side of it.
I cannot remember correctly when I last lost my temper in a proper way or used the words F*** and B**** in anger. It was in college probably. I hate creating scenes in public and don’t like them in private either. When I get angry, I usually walk away after one line or so and sulk and, very rarely, give in to a bout of tears. But when I do lose it, maybe a total of four times in my life, it is like another human being has overtaken my body. I have actually turned and looked for the ‘screaming’ woman one time a gang of guys were eve-teasing me in the bus, only to realize it was me. It would still have been alright this time around and everyone would have escaped unscathed if the stick-thin, sour-faced manageress hadn’t decided to say,’Nobody else ever has a problem with our mask – I don’t know why you have one madam’.
For one second, I was aghast at her brazenness. Five seconds later, I hear a woman’s raised voice and realize it is me. For a second, I think I should stop myself but then THAT woman says sulkily, ‘That’s what a mask is supposed to be like’ and I decide to just Let it go.
I used epithets that I have never used in anger before and shouted the place down. I used the B**** and F*** words one time each, accompanied by lots of idiots and stupids thrown in. I am not proud of that. By now, we are surrounded by about 15 employees of the salon and I can’t believe that the woman refuses to apologize for their mistake.
Then, a rear door opens and a 6ft,5in guy walks out. He asks the woman to step aside and turn to me with a suitably grim expression and wants to know what the matter is. I tell him and THAT woman again starts saying stuff like ‘We didn’t pull her skin off’. By this point I am ready to assault her. Only, the guy turns to her and says solemnly, ‘You cannot talk to a customer like that – customer is Godfather!’
That was my undoing. I took a deep breath and once again Let it Go, but in the ‘wash my hands off it’ sense. I paid them, because the smug Woman had said to me in a condescending tone that I needn’t pay if I was unhappy and my burning Rajput blood refused to allow her any nonsensical moral high ground.
Wait! It wasn’t over yet!
For the evening, my husband had tickets to an ‘intimate’ dance performance at Ranga Shankara. My face was better after lots of ice and I dressed up for the event. When we sat in the cab, the driver said he wasn’t familiar with the address and would Hubby check it again.
Hubby, who was very smug about planning a Valentine’s Day surprise for me, opens his mobile app and exclaims with horror, ‘What!?!’.
‘What?’ I ask.
‘I have the wrong address,’ he whispers. He thought it was in Malleshwaram, while it was actually in JP Nagar, a time difference of more than half an hour in Bangalore traffic (you have to see it to believe it).
Since, Hubby had thought it was closer (20-25 minutes) and because he is a civillian, we had left home at almost 7 for a 7:30 performance. He called up the theater, only to be told they bar the gates after 7:30. Hubby still insisted we should try, although I was ready to turn back already.
Then, the driver decided to throw his two cents in. He said we must cancel the ride and then re-book the cab with a new address or else he will get into trouble. The car is stopped by the kerbside. Hubby tries frantically to re-book the cab, but the driver claims he isn’t receiving any info for the same, even though it is clearly coming up on Hubby’s phone. Ten minutes of this and I am ready to disembark. It seems the driver wanted to take us as a private fare after turning off his app. Alas, he stretched the ‘introduction’ to that act too long.
We got off.
Hubby suggested going to Toit for a pint, since we were a few steps away from it. But, It was Valentine’s Day! There were no seats to be had for walk-in’s that evening. I just wanted to go home by then. Hubby tried to book cabs and none were available for the next 25 minutes, as we stood outside the pub among revelling, courting couples. I spied a cafe next door and suggested a coffee, since I could see Hubby about to blow his top.
So, to cut a longer story a little short, then we ended the evening by me having a hot chocolate in the cafe sitting across a scowling husband, booking a cab for home after several more tries, going to three ATM’s before finally finding cash, reaching home, trying to order food from Food Panda – who happened to be closed on Valentine’s Day for some reason – almost despairing of the vagaries of fate, but ultimately finding the Fasso’s website and ordering sustenance for our frayed nerves.
All in all a memorable Valentine’s Day!