Fiction: The kitty party

Rana Preet Gill

Rana Preet Gill

She dazzled in red! She knew, she always did and today was special because she was organizing the monthly kitty party. She had made special preparations for the day. From getting her nails done at Bilal’s to her usual pedicures which were upgraded, and her face waxed, bleached with everything done on it to make it smoother, fairer.

“But I look the same, Bilal!” she muttered after a week of spending thousands of rupees on the efforts of diligent hard work by his staff.

“Of course, darlin’! You do not expect me to make you a different person!” He laughed as he kissed her fingers.

“No, you do not get it! This is my kitty and I do not want to look the same. I want to look different!” she looked at her image in the mirror feigning an expression of horror.

“But you look so pretty.” He cackled, now playing with her hair, rotating the long strands around his fingers spreading the curls in front of her shoulders.

She looked peeved. Only a day was left before her kitty was hosted at the most expensive outlet in the city that charged a fee even for your presence at their domain. And despite assurances by Bilal that she looked radiant she was not happy with his services at all. He had laughed off her complaints telling her that his staff did their best, and she being the royal client, they used their best products and if she was still not happy she needed to look for another parlour.

“As if you will find it, darlin’!” Bilal had said mockingly when she had looked back at him in anger for being so upfront about catering to all the rich people in the city.

“But they all come here. Don’t they! And you pamper them all so how that makes me different from them.” She had created an uproar with her diatribe and Bilal had a hard time explaining that she was the most special client to him in the entire city. But she would not listen and the next appointment had been waiting for the past half an hour. He tried to brush her of his back by waving his hand absent mindedly indicating her to leave.

“The beauty lies deep inside you. We only manifest it on your face and body. But if you do not feel beautiful despite all this, there is nothing I can do. Go home and find your own. We all are beautiful in our special ways.” He blasted off to another cubicle and she could hear him greeting other customer with the same gusto. She grated her teeth in anger and marched away not before soaking in the words, taking them inside her, wondering what he meant.

 How can beauty lie deep inside me!” If Bilal is hopeless at his job and I do not feel beautiful even after spending so much money it is his fault, not mine.

On the D-Day, she had felt listless and a lack of desire lingered on her mind. She had gazed absent mindedly on the clock, ticking away the seconds. While the time slipped away she felt weary without doing any chores. She had received umpteen messages from her group, expressing excitement at the venue and on the day, that held promises to titillate them because they knew she always did the best. But none of that excited her today. As she pulled up the dress from the cupboard and donned it, the maid came to ask her about the day’s cooking.

“You look beautiful, madam.”

“But what if I looked like them. What if someone else chose to wear red and not one but all of them chose to wear the same. And we all look same and eat the same dishes. How would I be special?” She had spoken her thoughts loudly as she looked at her mirror image in a strange way making her feel absurd about blurting it out so honestly.

“But that will never be! We are all different. We look different and feel different. And you look nice.” The maid left for the kitchen after taking the usual instructions from her.

How simple it is! What does she know about having an identity! She does not know how hard it is to be different from them!

She took all her paraphernalia and deposited them into several colorful bags and was the first one to reach the venue. The staff greeted her, led her to the kitty hall booked by her in advance. Hectic activity started to unfold around her. The stoic place sprung to life. They began tidying up the immaculate hall as she sat pondering over her thoughts.  How she wanted them to wear anything but red to avoid the sameness that made her edgy as she sat chewing her fingertips!

The liveried waiters who mulled around her stole glances at her, feeling good about her presence in that kitty hall. They looked at her, sighed and exchanged surreptitious looks. One of them chose to stand by her side like a sentry waiting for the orders that could come gushing out any moment. She was oblivious to all the ripples being created in the hearts as her thoughts only concentrated on her being different. While the staff hurried to and fro from the kitty hall the manager too decided to jump in the fray and gushed towards her to make his presence worthwhile. She nodded absentmindedly and smiled at his kindness.  They all swooned, looking at her, mesmerized, for she was the most gorgeous women to be present right there, making their day, spreading cheer with her mere presence.

And now the ladies started to trickle one by one, sun kissing, analyzing each other, the make-up, the dresses, the hair do’s. They all lapped it up and took note of everything that could be minutely dissected later on. Some of them wore red and this was a reason good enough for her to feel sullen. Her shoulders slouched and her mood turned somber as she snapped at the waiters and the staff mulling around to make it special for her. Her wide spread halo began receding and the manager who came a second time to enquire if everything is going fine beat a hasty retreat.


The murmurs of discontent were being circulated amongst the staff at her undue harshness and those who were obsequious now did their job but without a smile on their face. Some of them excused themselves and took the work of other tables to find more pleasant customers. They were not even looking at her pink cheeks, red luscious lips or her enamoring tresses that had seemed bewitching when she strode in. She lost her charm and they only took her as another foul-mouthed, rich customer.

She reached home cranky and irritated by their behavior. She did not enjoy a minute of being a host. She felt the place was too cramped and the staff too rude and her friends feigned that they had a good time while overall it was a disaster.

“Why dear, that’s the best place in town? And the staff is over courteous, they say! And they must have been mesmerized by you. You dazzled in red today.” Her husband held her in his arms but she sulked at the day’s happenings.

“They were rude to me. They stared at me all the time as if I had come from the moon. And we all looked the same. All of us. And those who wore red looked awful. Because they all go to Bilal’s and he gives all of them the same treatment and care. And they all must have brought the same duty free make up. How will I ever be different?”

He sighed and moved away and propped his head on the soft, sunken pillows and drifted off to sleep while she fretted and fumed at his insouciance.

I need to find a dress and a color and a make that will make me different next time. And I need to get rid of Bilal and his antics. He takes me for a ride when he tells me that I am the special customer because I do not see him treating me any better than others.

 The hunt for that special dress kept her at tenterhooks as sleep evaded her eyes and she spent a better part of the night searching online sites for something more than the ordinary. And the next day when she woke up she was groggy and more vicious as she found faults with everything, anyone did. No sooner had the staff accomplished their tasks they tried to slip away from the household to escape her notice.

As days went by, her obsession to look different initiated as an innocuous desire acquired strong proportions and a better part of the day went into negotiating ways to modify her looks and her appearance. The visits to Bilal were curtailed and a new spa around the corner looking for new clientele was marked. The moment she set her foot inside, she was impressed by the furnishings and the sleek setting of the interiors.

A bevy of women sat in lounging chairs relaxing their feet in hot dips reading the glossy fashion magazines. She knew none of them and this thought comforted her. Now she can aspire to look different from all the women who went to Bilal’s.  She cringed thinking what Bilal might interpret of this treachery but she immediately put a stop to all her punishing thoughts.

But he never was able to make me different. He made me look the same and then to hide his own flaws he was telling me that I am the one who can make it different. Beauty is deep inside!!!! What was that?

She laughed at his assertions but was soon gripped with a morbid fear.

What if they reach here as well! The women from her kitty group! And then they will be getting the nails done the same way, their hair coiffed in a similar fashion and their face treated with same lotions and creams.

No sooner had this thought taken a hold inside her mind she rushed back to her car. The girl who was waiting with the hot water and a towel wondered and looked at her all perplexed as she kept on calling her name but her steps acquired a speed and she dashed outside discombobulated and feeling dizzy. By the time she was seated in her car her head throbbed with an unknown pain and she held it in her hands for comfort.

While they drove home the driver kept on stealing secret glances at her taking clues that she did not seem very well. She looked outside and saw the heavy flow of vehicles moving in the same direction. They all looked the same, the same make and color and the size.

“Why are we all moving in the same direction?” She implored in a queasy voice. Coming from her, it sounded like a weak reinforcement of her pleas as if asking him to make a change in the travel plans of all those with indeterminate journeys and minds. The driver cocked up an eyebrow but did not seem to understand the futility of such a question. He let her words ping pong in his head before letting his mind shape an answer to such a silly question. He regarded it as some kind of joke on him choosing to ignore his desire to make a befitting reply to her query.

“And why are they all travelling in the same car? “She repeated the question that made no sense to the driver. Obviously, they were not travelling in the same make. He sniggered! Did the madam forget that she was travelling in a Mercedes and all the other cars were not the same? Is she doing it on purpose or there is some kind of hidden test that she is undertaking on behalf of sahib. Nervous beads of sweat glistened on the driver’s forehead as he wished for the drive back home to come to an abrupt end. He had always enjoyed the pleasure to carry the memsahib to and fro. He liked to steal a glance or two at her while driving. One look at her face was enough to illuminate his life and he secretly desired a wife as beautiful as her. He had always regarded her as different from memsahibs of other sahibs he had worked till now. She smiled more generously, ignored his silly queries some days and offered him knick-knacks for his sisters but today she seemed to be acting strange. Not different but strange. He was a little sad at her confusion but he could not find a reason for it to take hold in her mind at the first place.

He was reminded of a man in his village who used to ask silly questions to passersby all the time. The people had regarded him as the mad man of the village. The little boys and girls used to tie a string of old cans to his backside and he used to run away from the strange sound that kept on following him oblivious to the fact that his movement was the source of all the hullabaloo and later on his running exacerbated this noise.

They reached home. The memsahib floated like wind in the knowledge that her home is at least different. He looked at memsahib’s derriere intently trying to find that chain of cans tied behind her back but all he could see was her pathetic walk as she was unable to find a coherence in her steps any more. He had the inimitable desire to go and hold her, to tell her that all is well with the world but he kept on watching and made no attempt to move for the sake of propriety. Even when she fell on the cobbled pathway leading to the front porch he was unable to move. He kept on standing stoically wondering if he would be blamed in some way if something happened to her because he was the one who had driven her home.

As she tripped on the concrete, her head hit something sharp and she slipped away into a bottomless pit. The last she remembered she was falling freely, unhinged, unchained. Just down and down without any sense of gravity to hold her. She woke up with a splitting pain making her body ache and her head sear in pain. As she touched her forehead it was all bandaged. The warm touch of her husband comforted her as he made her sit up in the bed.

“You cut your head open when you fell on the floor. The sharp end of the hoe was struck deep in your forehead. How many times I had to tell the stupid gardener not to leave his tools unattended!” He seethed in fury at the irresponsible action of the gardener that had led to this freak accident injuring his wife. She calmed him down by pressing his hand tight and speaking with a little difficulty but still trying to bring her act together.

“I was not well. I might have tripped on my own. Please do not blame him.” She closed her eyes bridging pieces of the puzzle wondering why she was not feeling well. She let it go and closed her eyes feeling loved in the warm embrace of her husband. After being in the hospital for more than a fortnight she was back home nursing a little bandage that was the only remnant of the terrible injury she sustained on that fateful day.

The driver, the maid, the gardener, all were happy to have her back. She smiled at them in the most beatific manner. They all smiled back. The driver looked for any signs of distress but there were none. The maid took the usual directions to cook the home coming meal, the gardener fell on her feet asking for forgiveness but she shoved him away with a wave of her hand. The house was running as smooth and efficient. It was as if she never left it in the first place. It looked the same. ‘The same’ she repeated to herself trying to put some weightage on the words but she was unable to place any special connection with those words.

 Her kitty friends came to enquire. Bilal made a phone call to know about her well-being. She promised to pay a visit soon. When the bandage came out it left a scar that was quite discernible on her face. She was a little taken aback with this unexpected development. The scar stood like a sore thumb on her picture-perfect face.

Her husband was perturbed when he saw the scar. “You had such a flawless skin and see what happened. But I have talked to the doctor. They can make it go away. You just meet the skin specialist.” She fixed an appointment that was still a month away because the doctor bore the burden of perfection and was much in demand by all his clientele.

In the meanwhile, the invite for the monthly kitty came up. A very close friend was hosting it who ended up extracting a promise from her, to attend. She applied a liberal dose of foundation on her face and especially her forehead but the scar still showed. She tied a bandana around her head and now jacked up like a pirate she reached the venue to the amusement of everyone.

They were a little put-off to see the bandana that covered the better part of her head.

“I look ugly without it. Please do not make me remove it. The gash was very deep and it has left a scar.” She lamented but they would have none of it. They removed the bandana and after the initial round of disapproval one of them marveled as if reaching a sudden discovery that has eluded them till now.

“Isn’t this scar looking like the one on Harry Potter’s forehead?”

“Oh my god!“

“Ditto!!”

“Same to same!”

She was amused at their reactions, the bandana forgotten she became the star of the kitty and her scar was the only thing discussed that day. They fussed over her, pampered her and listened to all she had to say. She was pleased with this new development.

On her way back home the driver as usual stole a few glances at her to give some relief to his tired eyes. He was sorely disappointed to see that the scar has taken away the sheen from her face. She did not look the picture of perfection and her skin too looked a little saggy with her face a little puffed out. He was drowned with disappointment at the changes that made the memsahib look flaky and not at all beautiful, her usual self.

She made a phone call to the dermatologist’s assistant cancelling her appointment though she was warned that she would not be able to make one soon, not as soon as six months because the doctor was way too busy in the beautification regimens of the rich of the city. She disconnected the call and smiled a little to herself. She touched her scar a little self-consciously as if she had gained an unprecedented win over her doubts and fears. She rolled down the windows and let the moist wind bring a few showers.

The driver panicked, “Memsahib, please don’t do that. The seats will get spoiled.”

But no matter what he said she was not listening today. She let out an uproar of laughter, a cry of glee, rich with feeling of fulfillment. She was not the same anymore. Finally, she was different and she bore the mark of this difference valiantly on her head. 

2 comments :

  1. Well written👌Truth of Kitty parties and concept of beauty prevailing in these kitties.
    It is also true beauty lies deep inside oneself.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well written 👌A true account of concept of beauty prevailing in kitty parties. Also beauty lies inside one's self.

    ReplyDelete

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