Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Life is so good to tough-looking women

Was it a hot flush that clutched at me when I read Sunanda Pushkar’s Tharoor’s endearing comment in yesterday’s papers that life was tough for good looking women in this world? Could have been. Surely – that must be what it was. One of those thundering, overwhelming hot flushes that makes you feel like a snake shedding its skin.
Because straight away I started wondering how much more tough life must be for good looking women who have plenty of money.
And then it struck me that life had surely got to be much, much tougher for good looking women with plenty of money who have husbands that are handsome, well-placed, and intellectually sound – and who dotingly classify them in public as “priceless”!
Since then I’ve been thinking hard about whether life could possibly be tougher for anyone else.
Yes – perhaps if you were a good looking and wealthy woman with a dreamboat husband and two children (one male and one female) able and willing to execute each and every failed aspiration of your youth? Because one day, you would be having a wonderful, wonderful surprise party for (say) your husband’s fifty-seventh birthday. Twenty-four of your closest and most loved friends would be secretly flying out from all over the world for an intimate dinner hand-cooked by you! And life would betray you by suddenly, unexpectedly striking asparagus off the market. Or the servant-woman under a bus. Alas.

Until quite recently, I was an overweight adolescent blessed with profusions of facial hair, and I must say life in those days was real easy and great fun. Still, it was a period in which I could have easily been convinced that beautiful women had it just as easy as me.
One day, life’s strange byways led me from a Bombay local train compartment almost directly into an ‘ante-natal class’ with a bunch of stiletto-heeled women who arrived at the clinic in wafts of chiffon and Jean Patou Joy Eau de Parfum, tripping out of chauffeur-driven Mercedes Benzes in a particular frenzy that they might soon be afflicted with stretch marks. We were earnestly exhorted to rush out and buy expensive cream to rub those ghastly, ghastly marks away. In pre-Liberalization India, it was Joy over Chanel, Benz over Audi, and such creams were coveted concoctions of the most privileged – and life was tough indeed because they were hard to come by.
But why on earth would anyone ever want to try and erase their hard-earned stretch marks? The earnest inquiry won me an ante-natal class full of “what a peculiar person this is” looks.

Just a few years later, there was a wise woman condescendingly comforting my children with the awful truth, “Sometimes life can be tough,” when they complained, “That’s not fair!”
And one day about then I met Sujatha Burla, Telugu celebrity chat-show host on TV9, styled as “The Most Beautiful Anchor” in Andhra Pradesh. Hate mail rained on Ravi Prakash, CEO of TV9 for branding a merely good looking woman thus. Later, Close Encounters With Suzy became a sensation, and it was acknowledged that Most Beautiful Anchor was well-deserved – after it was ‘revealed’ that thirty-two-year-old Suzy had been rendered paraplegic by a car crash eleven years before. Here was a woman who had never let the fact that she could not even raise herself or perform a single life activity without help from someone else stand in her way of living life to the full and achieving wealth and fame. So I already knew, way before my hot flushes struck, and way before Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor told the world that she felt sorry for herself because she was good looking: life is so, so good-looking to tough women!
first appeared in Pune Mirror on 7 Nov 2012