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Coffee, an eye opener | Shelley Subawalla

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woman holding a cup of coffee featured

Having been born and brought up in a city like Delhi, I tend to take a lot of what I see and hear around me for granted.

It was only recently that I learnt how to keep my eyes and ears open and actually soak in the plethora of activity and conversation buzzing around me.

The other day I was sitting at the local Starbucks with a friend, happily sipping away at my coffee when one such experience occurred. There they were, four peppy and fashionably acceptable young women, sitting together at a nearby table, using this opportunity to bring forth every single thought that they had hidden or embedded deep inside them. The range and scope of their conversation was absolutely impressive.

The two of us were dressed in jeans, had our hair casually clipped up, nerdy frames perched upright on our noses and carried our slings to make for convenience … I mean, who dresses up for coffee and conversation? Well, much to our amazement and awe, we soon found out apparently, a lot of women do exactly that!!! The first thing we noticed were their designer clothes, heavily made up faces, trendy designer frames propped up on their heads and their extremely expensive Louis Vuitton’s and Prada’s holding pride of place on their table. All this effort, simply to meet at a local outlet and sip a cup of coffee??

Once we got over our amusement and amazement, in equal measure I might add, our curiosity got the better of us and before we knew what was happening, our seating positions, line of hearing and peripheral vision were all adjusted in the hope that we get a better insight into their world. Some people tend to call that gossip, but we beg to differ. We simply felt it was our duty to listen in and find out what we were doing wrong and why we didn’t even try to look and think along similar lines…. A social introspection, so to say.

I don’t really know if we succeeded in our introspection, but what we did learn, however, was that there are so many women out there who have made a career out of beautifying themselves, making themselves seen at the ‘Right’ occasions and events, wearing the best clothes and then of course meeting their gang of girls to discuss it threadbare. Who knew that nails needed to be filled and gelled every fortnight, that designer sarees came in a ready to wear zip up version, that bags just CANNOT be repeated more than once every two months or that hair just HAD to be touched up every month. God forbid one friend loses four pounds more than the other or even worse, gains a pound or two…..did you know that their future happiness and peace of mind hangs in the balance?? Friendships are made and lost over the eternal weight issue!! Nannies were an intrinsic part of bringing up a child and of course all children just HAVE to be taught the art of expressing themselves through social experiences and should not be curbed in any way…..I mean, how else would a child possibly ever develop his or her own identity and social acceptance?

Hearing these ladies talk and discuss their various issues (by now we had long ago given up the sham of holding our own conversation and had our ears pealed firmly to the ground) we did realize one thing… IT WAS TOUGH!!!! It was not at all easy being a high society lady trying to hold her own in a city like Delhi filled with born socialites, upcoming socialites or wannabe socialites. Every move or choice that one made was held under a microscope and held out to dry for the whole world to see. Life became nothing but a series of events placed together in the correct sequence so as to make oneself socially acceptable. Fear of being ostracized is so huge and rampant between us that we tend to focus on the exteriors rather than concentrate on what we know and believe in….it is truly sad when we choose fluff over substance and devote our entire being toward becoming a glamorous shallow shell of our previously intelligent self.

Shelley SubawallaAbout the author

I am a 40-year-old mother of two, who loves to cook, read, write and travel. I possess an adventurous streak and rather look forward to venturing out into the unknown. I like to keep myself busy by involving myself in multiple activities. I look after my children and home, work actively for my community, write a blog and have now started a business of my own. Having started out on this road, I find myself changing my earlier conservative and safe outlook toward life. I now believe that life is all about taking risks, following your heart, setting goals and working hard toward achieving them. Being a proud Zoroastrian, I work very hard to inculcate in my children the same pride in the uniqueness and wonder of our community that I myself possess.

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