Thursday, 12 September 2013

In Defence of High Heels

Choti Mata's Note : In light of Nandita's Das' latest and absolutely appreciable campaign 'Stay Unfair, Stay Beautiful', Choti Mata was inspired to talk about her tribe as well. And so, here is the long and short of surviving in a 'tall' world.

This blog belongs to Choti Mata. ‘Choti’ being the operative word.

Which in itself justifies this post on this blog
Evidently, high heels have been a regular in my life ever since I can remember. It all began innocuously enough around the time when my family figured that pumping me with fabled ‘height increasing’ medicines was actually doing no good. The repertoire of the armoury that had been collectively employed to achieve what was then a family ambition was fairly impressive and nearly intimidating. The agents of coveted inches were awe-inspiring to say the least—allopaths, homeopaths, naturopaths, voodoo practitioners and a couple of others, still awaiting recognition in the narrow minded mainstream society of intellectuals.

The end-result, despite such sincere efforts was massively disappointing. The promised inches were never delivered and my vertical dimensions never moved up into a respectable slot.

Come to think of it, may be, we took it all the wrong way. Maybe the result was not that disappointing. Given how effective all my height meds claimed to be, I presume I was on my way to the midget book of records before they came to my rescue.
I think I should be thankful.

Efficacy of my height regime aside, once I came to terms with my height (or the lack of it); in true survivor spirit, I decided to deal with it in the most resilient possible manner. I went to a shoe-store and bought a pile of most hideous looking platforms.

Don’t judge me.  At that point of time, aesthetics were not the priority. Kinetics were.

I really wanted to buy the pretty ones. But then I figured they would be of no use if I were to spend the majority of my walking time sprawled flat on the floor. Hence, I settled for the ugly ones. At least I could walk. Generous instances of awkward tripping and stumbling aside. But so long as my chin was not brushing the floor majority of the time, I was fine.

Like every affair, my fling with heels started off with a motive. The motive of finally achieving the status of being 5 feet tall.

Sigh! 5. That glorious, elusive number.

My obsession with 5 has a touching back story. In true law school traditions, someone there figured that 4'10" was not insulting enough. And so, I had to have a height of ‘paune paanch’ (translation—quarter to five feet). That one simple master stroke elevated ‘paanch’ or ‘five’ to the position of the most desirable goal of my life—at one point of time, even more that a paying job!

The five zeroes in my initial paycheque did vindicate my obsession to some extent (which I threw away eventually—but more on that later) and it slowly wore off. The heels, however, stayed on. The platforms too stayed but now have some respectable company.

In philosophical mumbo-jumbo, the obsession wore off because like everything else in life, it too was a futile pursuit. It was akin to revelations that people have in old age—when they realize that all that they had aspired all their lives was actually pointless. In my case, this was symbolized by 5. 5 feet, 5 zeroes—pointless.

But this post is not about the philosophy of pointlessness. This post is about heels and will remain so till the very end.

And surprising as it may sound, there is a larger philosophy in my tale of heels too. Which is also the core point of this post.

Heels in my world were the trigger for a grand revelation—the fickleness of public opinion. The opinion that made a big deal of my short height. Just like everyone dealing with the absence of those inches would vouch for. But what was more intriguing was that when I resorted to heels as a permanent fixture to counter this ‘perceived flaw’; that very same opinion disapproved again. This time, because, heels were unhealthy—for my body and apparently for my self esteem.

Luckily for me, I realized pretty early on that the only thing that was unhealthy for me was taking these opinions too seriously. About my height. My heels. Practically everything else.

And so I gave up—caring.

Not my heels of course.

Heels have stayed on. Not because they make me any taller or more approval worthy.  But simply because I love them. They make me feel good. I wear them as a matter of choice. As a matter of assertion of the fact that I will not be judged. Neither for wearing heels. Nor for not wearing them. Or for that matter, being short.

Heels and heights are mere metaphors for what is more or less a universal lesson in life. No matter what you do, who you are and where you belong to, you are bound to be judged. Too short, too tall, too black, too fat or too thin. There is no escaping. And there are ultimately just two words that are your shortest route to a healthy self esteem and great confidence.

Stop Caring!

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