Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Streak of Madness

I have a confession to make. I have been suffering from chronic Temporaryinsanitis for a few years now.

If you are a woman past 35, or have ever googled 'perimenopause', the chances are that you are familiar with this condition. It starts with sudden low, weepy, self-questioning phases that come over us from time to time, when we set up a Spanish Inquisition in our own head to give the self a thorough grilling...  'Where is my life going?' 'Does anybody really love me?' 'Will my friends stand by me in bad times?' 'Is there life after menopause?' and so on and on...

There are only a few known remediations that are found to ameliorate the condition - an intensive shopping session,  a makeover, and an eating-drinking binge are top three in my list. Sometimes, a good howling session works too, though not as well as the others!

So, as I was saying, last week I was struck by a bout of the disease. The preferred remedy I usually adopt is shopping. But having truckloads of clothes and bags from previous episodes of Temporaryinsanitis in my cupboard, and a mindload of guilt to match, I decided to change the line of treatment this time.

The remedial measure I opted for was a makeover. I went and got my hair streaked. After a 3-hour long session at the parlour (my hair put up a spirited resistance to the invasion by alien forces), I looked at the mirror. And my heart sank... it was clearly a disaster. But the Disaster-Management team at the parlour got into action - they gathered around, put on their best beaming faces at me, and informed me that it was looking wonderful, and I was sure to get many compliments.

I had my doubts, for obvious reasons. I reached home and tried to slink in unnoticed, but my daughter and ma-in-law spotted me at once... and gasped. 'Bilkul bekaar!' was my daughter's verdict. Worse was to follow. My teenaged son (who we think fell into a cauldron of caustic soda when he was a baby) gave me ONE stony stare, and said, "Why exactly have you smeared your hair with shit?"


That was not the end either. He inspected me a bit more and quipped, 'You look like a Wannabe Socialite." Unfortunately, this hit the nail right on the head (quite literally)... the shade I had selected from the shade card was supposed to say 'Funky, and yet Elegant' - a kind of grey-blonde. But on my hair, it turned out a sort of orangish gold. Most DEFINITELY 'Wannabe Socialite'! 

Since then I have been bestowed with other epithets - 'Punju Aunty' being one of the more polite ones I can bring myself to share in public. My ma-in-law, being the genteel lady that she is, desisted from making caustic comments. She only contented herself by making remarks like, "Tch tch, you look just terrible!' - roughly every 20 minutes or so.

Sudarshan was the only exception.  "You look pretty. You really do!" he said. But that is just 28 years of conditioning. Why, now he even believes what he is saying to me... sometimes, at least! ;)

And now you understand why I call the condition Temporaryinsanitis. The so-called 'remedy' too is in reality a part of the disease! Just think. All that shopping, bingeing and makeovers business is supposed to make you feel good,  and fortify you to answer those tough existential questions. But what do they actually do? I mean, come on! The answer to 'Where is my life going?' is probably 'Down the drain!' - if you insist on wasting hard-earned money on useless articles of clothing or footwear. And let's face it - if you really are a middle-aged hag whom nobody loves, being a middle-aged hag with orange streaked hair is SURELY not going to change things!

And yet, I know the next time 'the feeling' creeps up on me again, I'll again go and buy myself a huge red crocodile embossed bag, or stuff my face with half a dozen gooey chocolate doughnuts, or try a new facial that would probably cause a reaction and make my face look like it was attacked by an army of exceptionally hungry mosquitoes with poisoned probosces...

For such is life, dearie, being a peri-menopausal woman. An elderly Homeopathic practitioner I used to visit had once remarked, "You see, it is very easy to treat men. But women are different. They have HORMONES!" 

So we do... and on goes life. And as if the havoc wruck by overzealous hormones wasn't enough, there's the stress of the urban lifestyle and the pressures of an increasingly consumeristic society to boot. Temporaryinsanitis is here to stay.

And I don't see a vaccine anywhere on the horizon...


  1. Hey Suchi,you definitely don't look like anything beyond PG at the most,so why worry!!.Hair i can't comment but what the hell,you just tried out something new,though to be honest i am very scared to try out anything i don;t know much about!!.
    For me,its battling the bulges,directly proportional to my mango/toast and butter etc,but i still eat my way to heaven.:)
    Fitness is required whatever your age,but age thing is all in the mind.So stop thinking about it,and its gone.

    1. Anu, you are one lucky girl that you don't get these fits of madness that make you go try new and weird things!

      And we are all united in fighting the battle of the bulge, I guess.. :)

  2. You are so right! I have these bouts myself. I usually drink myself to oblivion. After I had an exact similar experiment with hair. I actually chopped them off the next week because I looked like Kaushik aunty from Janakpuri! Love your blog!

    1. Tannistha, thanks...

      And you are sensible! I think next time I will stick to a drinking binge too... ;)

  3. Suchi madam - you are one of the lucky ones who atleast does not have to worry about middle age or the way you look. Having watched you literally before and after 20 years - I can assure you you look the same(I am hopng that would be a compliment to you).
    However some of us are not all that lucky ... my bout of the disease actually turns me into a woman obsessed with her weight - who incessantly tests her scale to see if the results are any different between morning and evening - everyday !! Not realizing that - why would they ? when I am not doing anything different :(
    Heights of stupidity I tell you :).
    And when that gets me depressed I try walks only to look at other reed thin souls who seem to have got it just right , so I rush back home for solace in that cuppa tea with loads of Parle-G biscuits on the sighhhhhh :) .
    Only to hear things like 'Mom , but you just left ??? do you know what your doing ?" from my almost pre-teen daughters. And those do NOT help at all.
    BTW I tried the streaks too and the reactions I got - what is that broom on your head!!!!
    So I have to really harden myself before the next attempt!!! :)

    Well what can I say - one of these days I will discover the mantra that works for me and then share it with you - till then let us work towards comforting each other :) !!!

    BTW - this was a great reading treatment for my current bout , I feel much better knowing I am not alone :) Thanks !!

  4. Vaishali, I LOVED reading your response... and it made me smile! You know, I have realized that as long as we keep our sense of humour, we are always gonna be fine! ;)

    The scales thing sounds SO familiar - I even cheat myself sometimes... check my weight after a big meal on one day, and then early morning the next (there is a minor difference, and I like to convince myself that it is actually due to the gym session of the previous evening) :D

    We gals will be gals, I guess.. 25.. 35.. 45.. or 55!

  5. You all are wonderful gals!:) I loved reading this Sukhi and all the responses too..

    And you are right we gals will be gals..25..30..(and maybe I will write the same when I grow old :) )

  6. Carrie... yes, we are all wonderful girls, despite the streaks of madness and bouts of insanity... and we have GOT to stick together and keep reminding each other of that!

  7. Hi Suchi....loved your blog especially the streaking part which I too went for and regretted so much when I turned into 'blonde' west Delhi type aunty....really could identify with it a lot !

    1. Thanks, Shipra!

      So what did you do to 'undo' the damage - or did you live with it? I am keen to explore damage-control options, now!

  8. Hey Wow! This sounds like a true confessional column - Am Sure Suchi that you never knew that such a big constituency of agonised aunties existed?

    Oye, You did, do and will continue to look super cool, in all yoru avtars - its the heart stupid! Its forever young - yours I mean. Have funwhile it lasts, I demand green and purple next; and then while this frenzy lasts - whjy not think of more such ideas - like driving a truck?

    1. Hey, since you have been telling me so a number of times daily, I am convinced now that you REALLY think the streaks look cool... it is not just the conditioning! So thanks!

      Driving a truck toh pata nahi.. don't you think a woman in purple and green hair driving a truck on palm beach Road may be a bit hazardous to traffic????

      And oh yes,what agonised 'aunties'... hey, we are NOT aunties!

  9. Streak of Madness! Hah! Understatement of the year from the empress of understatements. Big Madness and little streaks :)

    1. :-/

      And I suppose you have a streak of madness too - to marry the Big Mad one!