Friday, April 11, 2014


"Please come madam, sit here," she coyly led me to a comfortably ostensible sofa. I had just entered one of the city's popular chain of spa and salon. I thanked her and settled down for a session of manicure. I could figure out that she wasn't a Tamil speaking lass. She began with her work on me- stretching my hand out to reach for my nails so she could get them filed. I was supposed to be relaxing there as it was my weekend get away. However I couldn't but help engage in a conversation with her. I need to be resting the blame on my inquisitiveness I say. I kept gazing at her- she was all but a tiny frame trying to earn a living by serving the salon's customers who want to plough into some opulence.

She caught me gazing and I quickly returned a smile. She fields my gaze at her with a question- "Aap ka shaadi hogya?" (Are you married)? That question got us talking. She hails from Jalpaigudi, West Bengal, India. The moment I showed signs of my geographical awareness, she seemed to be thrilled- She quickly acknowledged that with a question- "Aap Jalpaigudi jaante ho?" (Are you familiar with the place)? There have been multiple such people whom I have met- I have always been curious to know more about them. What made her different- and make me want to write about her-I really don't have a direct answer. Nonetheless, I carry on with my newfound acquaintance. I was bowled over with the rest of the conversation that ensued. This puny thing was married!! She was all but 21 and had come down all the way from Jalpaigudi for the sake of love- I had asked her what she was doing here in Chennai, where she has no linguistic or cultural familiarity! She gingerly replied- "Woh yahan kaam karthen hain na, uskeliye!" (He works here, and thus am here)! Hamare bhaai ka dost hain woh-(he's my brother's friend)-was the answer to the connection that I was trying to establish, for I still couldn't place her here in Chennai, of all the places- not that Chennai is bad or anything- All I thought was, she could have been closer to her home. Her work seemed rather lighter and non-monotoned- for she was discussing her life with me. Perhaps not many would have had the slightest botheration. After all the hassle of having been able to relocate to Chennai and run a home, she says that she hardly gets to meet him now- their schedules were different- including their day-offs. Amidst the story, she deftly manages to brush my arms and have them massaged- Pressure ok hain na, she's quick to check with me. (is the pressure for the massage ok)? Now I was more interested in getting to know this little woman, so everything seemed just perfect. Oh no, I am not going to be talking about her entire life thus far here. This is just an introspection, over the lovely lives we get to lead whilst there are some others out there doing I wouldn't say menial jobs, yet struggle to get ends meet. While she's almost done with her work on me, her colleague checks the clock and hints at her saying- "hey your shift is about to end." As she was wrapping up for the day, I pottered around there and came to know that these girls employed there are timed for the work they do. Thinking aloud with me she says, "how could I possibly get a manicure or any other service done in just 30 mins?" It is not plausible- the customer would raise their voice stating that the service isn't gratifying. It's a constant battle, she says, between keeping up time and managing the tantrums of her bosses on the floor. I thanked her with glee, inquiring her name- she sheepishly replied- Geetha, aur aapka (and yours)?


  1. Is andher nagari main - kitney log, kitney sapney, kitni kahaniyan - the line may be true for Bombay - but would apply for every city! Nice post :)

    1. @theertha: Yes, little things that matter big time! Thank you Mahesh :)

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