Inspiration can hit me at the most frivolous of times. I can get terribly inspired by good food and then I suddenly find my self in my kitchen whipping up a mess and trying to look good while I'm at it. Thankfully my food related inspiration is always short lived! Or if I meet a friend who has just run a marathon, this invariably sparks a fresh wave of desire to be an athlete. I'll walk briskly for a few days and if I am truly inspired I might do a good imitation of a run, if I'm lucky I might even break into a sweat. Not surprisingly, exercise related inspiration lasts even shorter than my cooking ones and soon common sense prevails and I am grateful to be back to getting my exercise from dancing in high heels (to those poh pahing this, please try a 3 hour dancing session in pointy toed high heels. I assure you that gruelling levels match that of a marathon and you don't even get a medal to show for it).
More uselessly, movies which have gorgeous women in it - Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Dias, Julia Roberts - never fail to inspire me to the scary extent that I can take on their accent, the toss of their heads and their sexy walk (if only from the theatre seat till the parking lot). No, none of these last long - after all, inspiration from a flaky sources is, at the end of the day, flaky inspiration.
Speaking of flaky inspiration, I decided to see if I could be a Sex and the City kind of gal. Not any particular character from the series, but a composite of what a fabulous Manhattan woman would be like. I am determined to examine if buying 50 pairs of shoes can high heel my troubles away, and if I can still look great after endless nights of partying with countless glasses of cosmopolitans and if plunging necklines and shrinking hemlines can make me appear more attractive (you already know the answer to that but for some reason I feel compelled to test the theory in person!). I imagine this would be a truly liberating experience.
First things first - I scour my shoe shelves (sorry Carrie Bradshaw, I wish I had an entire shoe closet, but if I did, it would probably be filled with books). I take out all my high heels and choose a pair of gorgeous maroon stilettos. Then the outfit - a neck line slightly lower than what I would wear to work, wind tousled hair that took 30 minutes to carefully create, a cute pink beret on my head (I normally don't do berets), a scarf around my neck and some chunky jewelery. Finally, the make up. Make no mistake, Manhattan women really go the full nine yards with make up, even just for regular work. I wasn't going to sell myself short. And so I spend an inordinate amount of time applying concealer, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, blush, lipstick and a hint of gloss. I know I am digressing here but I feel compelled to say that purple eye shadow really does look purple...there is none of that delicate hue that you see gorgeous women wearing on their eyes. This is eek, what is that on her eye, did someone hurt you honey, purple. Try washing it away vigorously with dish washing liquid and if lucky, you then may get the colour you are hoping for, but then again it may clash with the very red eyes.
And thus I set off to work. Huge sunglasses, gorgeous handbag that fits nothing that is of use in it's 5mm length and a confidence that comes with...well...ignorance. In hindsight I should have realised that I look like a transvestite with an Hermes bag, on his/her first night at the dance club. But at 9 am in the morning, what is obvious to everyone else (hence the stares that I mistake for admiration) is completely lost on me.
As I strut into my practice, the receptionist nearly drops the phone. I cannot tell if it is the neckline or the 4" heels or the huge gold rings dangling from my ears, but I help pick her jaw up from the floor.
As we gather for the morning patient case discussions, my partner looks at me and casually says - Forgot to comb the hair?
I hate unsolicited comments, er...actually, only the ones that don't compliment. I roll my eyes and say, it's the natural look.
I get an unnatural look in response from him.
The first patient who also happens to be a friend walks in. What's with the hair? she exclaims. And this is before she sees the makeup and the stilettos, which effectively renders her speechless. The only plus in this is that I can work on her teeth without any of the usual interruptions from her. Needless to say, she spends the entire appointment with her mouth open and her eyes on my purple eye shadow. I could have opened a root canal without anaesthesia and she wouldn't have blinked an eyelid.
Somehow what I think is going to be a morning of Sex and the City meets Grey's Anatomy ends up being a bad remake of the beginning of Pretty Woman.
I go out to lunch. After all that's what the fabulous women in Manhattan do - they are the women who lunch. And despite the less than auspicious start, I am determined to complete this day in Manhattan style. So in my favourite pair of high heels I step out onto Mumbai's rain drenched streets. An in ghastly moment that I don't recall seeing on Sex and the City, my heel goes and gets stuck into the gaps in the metal lid over a gutter, in full view of 5 autorickshaw drivers, 3 roadside romeos, 25 construction workers and 2 really hot guys.
As I limp into the restaurant, my lunch date looks at my feet in concern.
What the hell happened? he asks
My heel got stuck in a gutter, I mumble.
Oh poor you, he sympathises, is that also where you got the bruise around your eyes?
I am never wearing this damn purple eye shadow again.
He looks at me quizzically. Why such high heels on such a miserably rainy day? he asks.
Because I want to be absolutely fabulous for one day and look and act completely unlike myself, I try to explain. I want to reinvent myself as a walking talking object of brilliance and beauty and style.
He grins back. Yes the black eye is very in, he says, going back to eating his steak.
I contemplate whacking him with the one remaining heel, but instead sneak the fries off his plate which I am sure will hurt him more.
After the afternoon gutter incident, I am also now forced to go shoe shopping - yes, it is in the plan, just that now it is completely justified. I go from one shoe store to the next, feeling like Cinderella. I am also testing the theory that like the characters from Sex and the City who can pay ransomish amounts for designer shoes that call out to them (!) and still have a wallet with money for drinks, lunch and more shopping, will my wallet have an endless bottom. I am sad to report, an afternoon of aggressive shoe shopping leaves me with an empty wallet (no, not even coins), a rumbling stomach but ooh, truly divine shoes.
That evening as I get ready to go out for a night of dancing with friends, I am hopeful that atleast the evening will end on a high note. I am dressed in Manhattan chic - the little black dress, silver strappy shoes, loads of make up (to compensate for dim lighting) and re-installed confidence. I am determined to have the city strewn with gorgeous men in my wake. Two dances into the night and I'm feeling a vibe. I know someone has their eye on me. My ears are burning up. My antenna is catching a signal. I then feel a hand tap me on my shoulder. I turn around to see a large moustache.
Hello, says the moustache, myself N.D. Shashi Subramanium. I peer below the moustache to see a mouth full of very white teeth which glow neon blue in the discotheque lights.
I smile sweetly at him and say, hello, myself going.
As my friends and I toss back the cosmopolitans and walk out of there, I am hit with the epiphany of a lifetime....(I admit it, my epiphanies are as frivolous as my inspirations)....sure I can do Sex and the City as long I slightly modify to suit local conditions, like lets say Heels and the Gutters or Cosmopolitans and the Moustache.
I have achieved one thing though. It has been a liberating experience - I no longer feel the desire to be Manhattan-fabulous. For what I might be able to carry off in Manhattan, I now know I cannot in Mumbai. From personal (and some of it painful) experience, I can tell you that you can bring Manhattan to the girl, but you sure as hell cannot take Mumbai out of her.