In the face of perfection

And so it came to pass yesterday that I had to make an appearance at a party celebrating a birthday. And the day had been long and wearisome. Beginning at 6 am, with me shuttling distances that could earn me frequent flier miles to the moon should I put them down on paper and present it to authorities who might consider the same, if they exist. Naturally, by the time one made a grand entrance at said birthday party, one could be found lolling on the wonderful garden wrought iron furniture, glass of beverage in hand, snoring away oblivious to the world. But such bliss was not to be. Will bore the pants off you about the details of the party on the other blog, since that is the kiddy blog. But here, will gasp in awe at the visions of perfection that unravelled themselves before me, making me sink further and further into a corner, until I realised I was on the edge of the roof and couldnt obliterate self any further. This being terrace party.

To start with was the hostess, ferociously fit and toned with not a square centimeter of spare fat anywhere on her body. Perfectly made up face that comes from years of knowing how to do so with professional expertise, and a beautiful face it is to start with. She was impeccable, organised and in complete command of a situation which had over 75 riot act candidate kids in her absolutely impeccably done up home, a situation which would have had me popping Valium by the bucket loads till my eyes rolled.

Summery white casual chic seemed to be the norm, paired with diamonds that were bigger than your irises. Diamonds were everywhere, on armbands, on finger rings, on earrings, rocks that had someone conducted a dacoity on said party would be the GDP of a small nation. Acutely conscious of my store bought ones, with miniscule size and non existent caratage, I consoled myself with the fact that I could be seen with no bling flashing me into the background. Then there were the perfect pedicures and manicures, in matte pink, fire engine red, coral, even orange for one strange soul. Hair streaked violently and gone mad after Holi into a mish mash of wierd colours. Shoes were wedgeheels. Braided wedges, in floral prints, and gold and copper accents. Yes, the summer is truly on us. Florals and whites were the theme du jour. And linen. And some brave ones, who by the sheer power of knowing that they were themselves came in dressed in casual capris and shirts, and flip flops, albeit with the Gucci sling bags, and the Omega watches.

The faces were done to perfection, and these women never sweat. What is the secret, pray tell, are they hiding little pieces of ice in their pant pockets, not likely, everything fits like second skin. Here was I sweating buckets like a fire hydrant exploding, and mopping self up in ungainly manner, knowing that carefully applied powder and base had gone the way of my good intentions. The eyeliner had found its way to corners of my face where nature and my shaky hand never intended it to be. And the stilletoes were dispensed off once I realised that chasing a four year old on a terrace venue requires sterner stuff like ballerinas, and called for the spare pair that always lies in the car.

Surely these visions of perfection had spent the day at the parlour getting hair straightened and styled, make up applied professionally, hair depilated from every surface revealed, face kneaded to flawless perfection, and fingers and toes primped and painted. Surely, they had spent the better part of a couple of days ruminating on which accessories to wear and which bag would go with which shoes, unlike yours truly who slung along everyday workbag, for lack of time and inclination to change bag to chuffed party type clutch.

And they had definitely not applied their makeup in the car, between speedbreakers and signals, resulting in that wierd left lipliner winging out a little more dramatically than intended. Yes, one consoled oneself, one has become wash and wear in more ways than one.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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18 Responses to In the face of perfection

  1. dipali says:

    Kiran, these are the people one is willing to dislike on sight!
    They have nothing better to do than glamourise themselves. I don’t even envy them- I am happy ‘like this’ only.( large sized person, unplucked eyebrows from forever, depilating only during swimming season, and sweating buckets too- yes, I’d love to not sweat, but the rest of it I can do without).

    Oh Dipali, I really wish I could be as flawless and perfect to look at as they are. Its wonderful to see…but, nonetheless, one should learn from them about how one should make an attempt to look ones best. Looking good makes you feel confident, that I know. And yes, the sweating bit too.


  2. pri says:

    the secret of the sweat-less barbies – botox! yes, apparently all celebs inject botox in their armpits (OUCH…and i thought waxing was painful enough) to stop the sweat…o well..
    ps: whats the link to ur other blog? the kiddy one

    Ah yes, I forgot about the botoxed underarms. somehow never thought someone would actually do that to themselves, but they probably do. LOL. What torture, give me freeflowing sweat anyday. The other blog is Only go there if you like children.


  3. Hmm. Would you do what I did last October?

    I grew sick of sarees – having worn every one I own at least four times(and at WEDDINGS) – to wear another saree at a wedding. So the family found me dressed in kurti, jeans and bandanna. Silver jewellery, block heels in which I did manage to walk a kilometre one day.
    I attracted more stares than all the made-up, saree-clad ones combined.

    When you can’t compete, why try? Better be comfortable and be myself, I say. πŸ˜€

    No, Suki, one doesnt want to compete, nor does one want to fit in, one will never, too middle class for that. All one wants to do is learn from how they manage to look so perfect and presentable. That is something worth emulating. And no, at my age, one doesnt want to stick out in a crowd and be stared at. Thats for you youngsters, all stares are not positive and appreciative when you cross 35. A lot of derision happens.


  4. DotMom says:

    Dang. If you find out tell me. I am worse than you. every two months I’ll promise myself to *try* and be well made up and well heeled. And then I slip. Like I am right now. Eyebrows that needed to be plucked 2 weeks ago, the lipstick clashes horriblly with the the only pair of jeans I could salvage this morning and Chip broke my bronzer and I can’t find my other one. Atleast my shoes match today. and my hair is nicely blowdried. Sigh. I long for that easy perfection.. but I know it takes long hours to achieve that. Who has the time and the energy?

    And yeah…botoxed underarms?? Whoa.

    Dotmom, I tell you. I promise myself I will get my butt to a parlour to get myself waxed and put it off so long, that I end up shaving the foliage off in an emergency. Everytime. As for those eyebrows, I cant leave well enough alone, and must fiddle with them leaving them lopsided. Blowdried hair, thats one thing I wish I could do, mine is wash and leave home with dripping wet hair…


  5. dipali says:

    Kiran, there’s a difference between hothouse flowers and less exotic, middle-class ones! Both are beautiful, but the care and attention the hothouse flowers need to thrive is far more than that of the ordinary ones. Waise, you are pretty stunning yourself, so just chill:)

    Dipali, you are such a darling. I shall take inspiration from Women who run with the Wolves as my guide to natural beauty henceforth….


  6. booboosmamma says:

    Some women manage to wear perfect fitting clothes with all matching accessories, perfectly toned bodies, flawless makeup, well behaved kids, amazing career, neat and clean houses….god you are so unfair, frankly speaking I sometimes question my own capabilities of managing day to day affairs

    J, we are all in the same boat. I would collapse if the maid and the cook and the driver were not available for a single day. I cant manage. I dont even try.


  7. rads says:

    LOL. Enjoyed the post πŸ™‚

    Women don’t sweat and diamonds as large as irises? Wow!

    Thanks. I swear, I am not kidding. One woman had a ten carat ring she was flaunting to all and sundry. Dont know if she was lying or it was the real McCoy.


  8. Priyanka says:

    I guess it is every gal’s dream to look like that. But the price to look so flawless (other than Botoxed-underarms and God knows what else) is the sheer time it takes to look that way. No way will we be able to sit in a beautician’s chair for the required hours so that we can be perfectly turned out. Imagine what we could get done in all that time and money!! Am soooo close to giving up to wishing. (Waiting for the day to dawn when I can actually give up!! πŸ™‚

    I agree, the time is the main constraint. Even if I could manage to get someone to babysit, and take time out from work, I couldnt justify sitting five hours in a parlour. And spending tens of thousands. Am too middle class. But, if I am well turned out, without needing to put in that much time, it would be nice. I try to do as much as I can at home, but it doesnt have the same perfection, LOL. (Read uneven brows)


  9. d says:

    A woman I once worked with used to put down her next appointment at the salon in her diary as soon as she finished a session (eg waxing – calculate number of weeks before foliage can be harvested and fix appointment, Or facial.. ho gaya? now book a session after six weeks or whatever). That way she said the salon would remind her two days ahead and being a slave to her appointment diary she generally kept the commitment.And looked pretty well groomed most of the time. I find the ventilation provided by sleeveless tops helps reduce underarm sweat.Not to mention a discreet dusting of talcum powder. Great post BTW!

    D, wonderful tip. I assume presumptiously that this lady didnt have kids and a crazy household to run, that she could actually follow her diary religiously. Yaar, arms have become thunderthigh proportions and need covering to be presentable. Am now living in fine mul kurtas and cap sleeved tees….and roll on deos.


  10. Anamika says:

    Ha ha ha…Oh Kiran – I loved the “one has become wash and wear” comment at the end! I know what you mean, while I mentally console myself as more natural/realistic/sincere/intelligent (ahem)/and wash and wear than the others in situations like these, the truth is I will wish I was as impeccable-looking as them. Just for this evening.

    Anamika, thats it. Exactly my feelings. It would be so nice to be perfectly turned out, even if it were only for one evening. I have been shot a few times for articles, and some times for a couple of times on television, and I know that after professional make up and hair anyone can look good. The thing is that they can do it on their own, everyday. Maybe I should do a hair and make up course. LOL.


  11. Poppins says:

    Y’know I tend to agree with you, I think one must try and look as presentable as possible. But How??? How?? How?? Who has the time to look perfectly groomed all the time.

    I don’t think all of them can spend hours and load of cash in beuty parlors to look that way do they? How do they do it? You’re the one who moves in high society, wish you would snoop out the secret and let the rest of us languishing souls know πŸ™‚

    I look like a pig most of the time.

    Poppins. The secret is that they have maids to handle their children and their homes are run by maitre d’s. They dont have work to go to, or if they do, they are ferried in luxury cars. They have the time, the money and the inclination to be completely focussed on their appearance. And to them, frankly, have realised it is a survival issue. If they’re not attractive and well maintained, the husbands are looking elsewhere. Or perhaps they already are competing with mistresses.


  12. only u with your writing skills can make a kiddie b’day party sound so hip and like a fashion parade.
    but seriously i hav never really met a woman like the many u described. everyone i know don’t know how to do flawless make up or sweat readily. so where do these women live?
    anyway if u can’t beat them, don’t compete at all!

    ITW, no yaar, cannot even come within a mile of competing, dont even try. They’re dripping designer labels, Guccis and LVs and such, and wearing Cartiers and Bulgari. They’ve been botoxed, and restylaned, and liposuctioned, and silicon implanted. Where do I stand a chance, with my little Longines?


  13. alka says:

    So you met many Bree Van de Kamps. Do they cook, bake, sew and iron their bedsheets too? Seriously though, I believe these women are born in the lap of luxury and hence they are used to being a certain way and sitting for hours in the parlor seems normal to them.

    alka, honestly, neither do I, nor do I cook, bake, sew and iron. But am still a complete mess all the time. I guess, its just a mindset which I dont have, but admire.


  14. N says:


    Been reading your blog for a long time now. Liked this post a lot πŸ˜€
    You’ve been blogrolled!

    – N

    N, thanks, am honoured


  15. batul says:

    After kiddo came in life, going to the salon means hurrying up on waxing, pedicure, manicure and eyebrows only. Facials are saved for rare occasions like a wedding in the family. As far as matching everything to T while dressing is a distant dream :). I am sure those women have servants at their beck and call. Enjoyed reading the post.


  16. "Sunshine" says:

    Sounds like Dream πŸ˜›
    Don’t know even if i would have everything they would have ; still I would be as perfect as they are 😦

    Let me be happy the way I am πŸ™‚


  17. The TAAMommy says:

    Lovely !!:) enjoyed reading it so much πŸ™‚


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