Today was one bloody tiring day.. hell lot of work at the boutique.. It's unusual for a Monday, but today wasn't just another Monday.. everyone wanted to make sure they looked their best for their New Year Eve parties. The requirements are all the same: 'unique' , but the results are always expected to be 'different' all the time.. what's more, the clients bring in their own reference pics from glossy magazines.. it was fun, nonetheless... as much as I love my job, today, I thought, was dead tiring.
But more than all that chaos, it's been an emotionally exhausting day.. something weird happened today, which got my mind racing back to my schooldays as a teenager.. guess who walked into the salon today? Ria! she was the most popular girl, back at school.. every other girl dreamt of being in her shoes.. or become her best friend at the least..
I had also dreamt of being Ria. I did not want to be Tamilselvi anymore. I wanted to look beautiful.. have a smart hairstyle like that of hers instead of my two-plaits.. i yearned for those mascara eyelashes n not my spready kajal.. wanted those pink lipsticks against the cheap ice-candy colors.. to the extent that when Rosetta Ma'm suggested I go for a change in name while joining her Salon, I did not have to think twice before borrowing her name. I christened myself 'Rhea'.
Today, 10 years since school, when she walked into the salon, I couldn't really recognize her.. Bina was attending to her at the counter opposite to where I was. She looked different.. pale face.. a huge pair of goggles which covered half of her face.. pursed mouth.. n a dull black scarf around her neck.. she looked almost ghostly to me.. a far cry from the Ria I yearned to be.
I wondered whether I should walk up to her and say a 'Hi'.. she probably wouldn't recognize me? May be I could've just introduced myself as an old schoolmate? somehow I could not muster the courage to go talk to her. I never had. She always had this air of a diva around her.. And more so now, she did not seem a bit approachable.. I did not talk to her.
Later, Bina was ranting about her busy day.. she got talking about this lady.. one of her 'concealer' clients, as she always calls them.. the ones who come for heavy camouflaging.. didn't take me much time to realize that her concealer of the day is Ria. Apparently, she needed to cover up all those tell-tale signs of domestic violence, for the evening's bash..
Tonight when I punched out from work, I found myself signing 'Tamilselvi' on the register..