Pride and Pedicures


Pride and Pedicures

Illustration: Akshita Monga


he hairs on my hand were standing in perfect attention. I was shivering and breathing deeply, in through the nose, out through the mouth. I’d been told by a lot of well-meaning adults that the first time is the hardest. But as Lakshmi Didi slathered hot wax on my arm and turned my skin into a veneer of human marmalade, she told me to look at the busted television set in the corner and count the number of backup dancers in Karisma Kapoor’s Hero No 1.

Years later, I still feel that the way I lost my waxing virginity, is better than how I lost my real one. The gentle, experienced touch that parted the curtain on one of the bigger mysteries of adulthood, was one of the most formative experiences of my life. And it didn’t come from any established pillars of my childhood; it came from my friendly neighbourhood parlour didi.