Monday, February 25, 2008

The Fall of the Diva

After a weekend of pure unadulterated fun (absinthe, cold chocolate vodka shots, passing out for the first time since college, southie grub at Woodlands, a live karaoke by the most stunning singer and insider information on bollywood), I was finally living the life I always wanted to live in Mumbai. To me, the ultimate city life was Sex in the City with a 130 IQ. I may not be able to buy $400 Jimmy Choo shoes, but Rs. 400 at Metro isn't a bad deal either. After 1 1/2 years of the working life, I finally had the 'Bombay' checklist down:

1. Getting anything done in 3 phone calls flat.

2. Alcohol Home Delivery

3. The best of friends who are game for anything

4. Attending Page 3 dos without actually getting on page 3.

5. Knowing people in the glamour world who I can afford to be seen with in public.

6. Hosting the best parties without people puking all over my floor.

7. Being able to comment on what's "hot" and what's "not" without looking like an idiot.

And so, though it was a Monday Morning, I strode out to the not so glamorous suburban Metropolitan Magistrate's Court, in full Diva mode.

What's with the Diva infatuation? A 'Diva' was being the woman who everyone wanted to hang out with, because she was so cool, so out of the ordinary, she had it all, or something close to that. I strode into the Court premises in my cool work heels and my Victoria Beckham
gigantic sunglasses, gave everyone around me a Diva nod. The Diva-ness worked, because the Judge informed me that he was all set to acquit my Clients on the next date. I smiled graciously, did the little bow/curtsy that we lawyers do, and picked up my files and sashayed out of the Courtroom.

Apparently I should have quit while I was ahead.

As I was travelling back, suddenly, the air around me became cloudy. The Diva didn't see this coming. Before I could react, my body did. My eyes began to water and my nose began to run with the cold that I was convinced that the Absinthe had cured. I tried to close the window but failed. The smog penetrated even the sunglasses. I held a tissue to my mouth in a desperate attempt to filter the air my lungs were desperate to take in. As the dust subsided, I removed the tissue, and nearly gagged again - the tissue had turned brown. Repulsed, I did the only thing a Diva could do in the circumstances.

I spit.

Well yes, I know - it was disgusting and totally uncalled for. In my defence however, I would like to state that nothing was harmed except my pride and the LBS Road. I sat back in my seat and thanked the BMC for only having dug up 1 km of road for me to suffocate in.

Suddenly, I felt queasy. I was getting stomach pangs, not the hungry kind, and a terrible taste in my mouth, even worse than the chalk powder taste I was getting in the smog attack. I thought I was going to hurl, real soon, that too. My head hurt, my whole body hurt, I felt like I was running temperature - it was the stuff nightmares were made of. However, as I was still in Central Railway Territory, I decided to wait till I was taken to civilization. I closed my eyes and tried to think of that wonderful singer of last night and her arabian melodies.

By the time I got to familiar territory, I decided that I needed a sugar high, and so I went to Cream Centre, which was the first decent eatery I saw. I was a Diva, after all, and Cream Centre was arguable even semi-classy with its South Mumbai roots. Ask Napean Sea Road Gujju kids. I stride in as best as I can, and am surrounded by three waiters.

"Table for one", in my best Diva voice, hoping my face didn't look three shades darker with the dust.

I am scanning the menu for a drink, and I unconsciously sip the water poured in my glass. it's hard to describe what that water felt like, but suddenly, I was relieved. My insides, which till now felt like they were being removed by a slotted spoon, cooled down, my mouth tasted sweet, my head stopped hurting - everything suddenly went back to normal. Better than normal, actually. I greedily gulped down the glass and in a very un-diva like manner demanded another one, to which similar treatment was meted out. And then I realized that though the roadside construction was the catalyst, this body condition of mine was on account of something else.

That Goddamn Absinthe!

Having hence recovered, I also recovered an appetite, and so, I ordered a pizza. Yes, for the record, I write a food watch blog and I like the pizzas at Cream Centre. They are thin, crisp and there's nothing wrong with them. You can stop snickering now. Also, I had had a major pizza craving for some time.

As I tried to find the 12 differences in my table mat as I waited for the food to arrive, I could feel a pair of eyes on me. A guy was sitting at the next table, in front of me, and he was looking in no particular direction, which meant that every now and then, he was looking at me.

And then arrived my pizza.

I bit into the slice, and as I moved to pull back and chew, I realized that the entire pizza topping was following the little nibble I was trying to sneak away.

Pizza ranks second in my worst-first-date-dinner-ideas, the first being a burger. There is no neat way of eating a burger that's worth eating. I'm not talking about the anorexic 20 buck McDonalds trash. I mean a Hard Rock Cafe Burger, or even a Big Mac. Just no clean way. The sauce drips out from the other side of the burger, followed by the lettuce, and invariably, one of the slices of bread will finish before the other, and so you will have to hold the juicy soaked vegetable/meat patty in your hands and eat it. You could eat it neatly by taking small bites and then evaluating the damage caused to the burger and repositioning the 'participants', including elimination of the weak links, but in that case you'll go down in dating history as "the guy/girl who went out on a date with me and never, not even once, looked up from that goddamn burger".
Ditto with Pizza. Some people eliminate the messiness by eating their pizza with a knife and fork. If it was meant to be eaten with a knife and fork, then the concept of pizza slices would not exist. As a child in the US, I walked into a Pizza Hut once with my parents and was aghast to see, contrary to my popular cultural notion of pizza eating developed from our highly gregarious neighbourhood Italians who ran a pizzeria (pronounced pitzah-reeya), someone eating a pizza (pronounced peetza) with a knife and a fork. That person was also wearing a hell of a lot of cloth on his head and had a big beard.
"Dad," I hissed. "That guy is eating pizza with a knife and a fork."
"He's a sardar, sweetie. Don't worry about him."
That was also my first introduction to Indian regional stereotypes.
What I'm trying to say is, though I fancied myself to be a Diva, I just could not get myself to pick up a knife and fork.

Instead, I bit further into it, taking the slice on. I held the slice right in front of me, chewed a little, bit more into the crust to support the cheese, olives, mushrooms, onion, tomato and babycorn (unfortunately for me, they were really generous with the toppings) that was already hanging from my teeth. I was using one hand to hold up my slice, but in the end, with the cheese threatening to cover my nose, I had to use my left hand to severe the fevicol consistency like cheese from my bite. I put the truant slice down, picked up the napkin and wiped my mouth (and my nose) with it.

My bored neighbour was watching me through this, in case I forgot to mention, and all of a sudden a teeny bopper hopped in and joined him with profuse yet fake apologies about some extra lecture. I sighed in relief with the thought that she would sit opposite him and so they would have eyes only for each other and so I could munch my pizza in peace.

I had forgotten how lovey dovey couples prefer sitting on the same side of the table.

Good Grief.

I sipped my iced tea and the girl and I, our eyes met.

She gave me the sympathy look. Not the "I know eating pizza is messy, but hang in there" look, but the "you're eating ALONE?" look. Then she whispered something into her date's ear and she giggled.

Wait a second. This was some shit. I wasn't going to sit here and ruin my meal and my thankfully recovered appetite because some ugly people on the next table are staring at me because they have nothing else better to look at. That's not what a Diva does. A Diva does, ladies and gentlemen, whatever the fuck she wants, and that is true style.

I chomped down the rest of my pizza, wiped my mouth, paid the bill and finished off my gigantic and refreshing iced tea. Just before leaving, I drew in the straw of my iced tea one more time just so I could make the obnoxious sucking sound that a straw makes when your drink is over that I haven't gotten enough of ever since my mother told me to "STOP IT" when I was 4.

The Diva may have fallen, but at least she did it in style.

PS: The title of the blog is misleading to the few people who decided that we would all collectively blog on a Model turned Actress who has married into a filmi family after having first been "kept" by a Politician who turned her over to his thespian friend who married her off to his homosexual son. We wanted to do this because we tried to google the story but came up empty handed. Anyway. This blog is not about that. Just so you know.


M said...

such veiled references to the model turned actress...whoever could it be i wonder?!

She said...

Rather funny. I am glad to see that despite the legal fraternity, you haven't lost your sense of humour. I too am a lawyer and struggle to maintain my humour..and sanity.

I laud your endeavors at eating alone and insist on doing it myself every now and then, however, if you ever face such an "ugly couple" situation again, pick up your phone and fake a conversation. Make sure its on silent mode though coz a phone ring in between will be rather embarrassing.

duh said...

I hereby solemnly validate and authenticate the PS, it cannot be truer...

Ruma said...

@ m: I'm still trying to figure out myself!

@ she: I've done a previous posting on being single and hungry. Personally am not in favour of faking conversations - once the management gets over he shock of a single eater, it can actually be quite pleasant!

Ruma said...

@ she (again): here it is:

@ Duh: It must be true. If its on blogspot, it must be true.