Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Head over Heels

At 5 feet and 8 inches above the ground, I'm reasonably tall and proud of it. My height has always defined who I am… in a lot of ways. Years ago, when we posed for a family photograph, I stood out (my folks are 5"4 and below). The photographer kept wondering where to put me and since then, I've always been standing at the back for all snaps, grimacing. I learnt how to ride a bike, I went on to play badminton, basketball and I refused to ever wear heels. All as a result of how tall I was... Defining me as an athlete, a tomboy, as the ugly ducking of the family. Except for my mom's occasional tantrums about how this would wipe out half of my consideration set for eligible men to marry, I'm glad about how I am. Still am.

But a couple of weeks ago, I did something stupid. I went and bought myself a pair of heels. My first pair ever! (weep, weep) I still don't get the logic behind my purchase. Why would I buy myself a stunning pair of 2-inch heels (yes girls, just 2 inches, baby steps for me, extremely-difficult-to-get pun intended), when I could get myself two pairs of normal comfortable footwear that I could wear on a daily basis for the same price? I don't know. Why would my boyfriend, who is the same height as I am, convince me to buy these heels, at the risk of looking shorter? I don't know. But I went through with it and was terribly excited as I brought my new shoes home. For the next two weeks, the box just sat there, unopened. I debated every morning if I should wear them to work, but I kept putting it off. Finally, when my mom started her sermon on how money has corrupted me, inducing me to buy unnecessary things, I wore them to work last week.

I wobbled to my desk, hoping that no one would notice. No one did. It was too early in the morning, I figured. And I was right. An hour later, when I got up to get some water, people sitting around looked at me with obvious curiousity, there was something different about Sumana today. I walked up to the water cooler, cursing the 'clickety-clack clickety-clack' blaring off my feet, trying not to draw too much attention to myself. But I did. Some chaps who were standing around discussing the stock market clash, suddenly all turned towards me. Hey, look! A giraffe in the department! Yes, I can read minds. I reached the water cooler and realized it was too low for me. I fidgeted for a minute, more heads turned. I then spilt some water, some people even got up to watch. I drank up what I had and walked back to my desk. My bay was more silent than usual. And then life went on…

… for a while. When we left for lunch, everyone was in a hurry as usual. I struggled to catch up, the guys looked at me incredulously. The women showed some sympathy. After lunch, I lost the rare foosball game to a couple of rookies. This was the heights! (I'm bad with this pun thing). I limped back to my desk, wondering why I ever bought myself these evil shoes.The view from up there was no different. All day long, I walked around like the floor was covered with broken glass. Careful, focussed and with a painful look on my face. I was being a girl! And I hated it!

When I finally got off work, I wasn't sure who was more relieved, my shoes or me! I went home and replaced the shoes in their box, staring at them for a while. I decided to not wear them again till I absolutely had to. I shut the box, locked it up inside.

But this morning I felt different. I thought about it. My heels made me a head-turner, I made people around me go speechless, I was for a while the centre of attention… why shouldn't I wear them more often? So, the shoes came out of the closet. And here I am, all heeled up! Today has been exactly the same as last week. I sit here, refusing to get up from my seat, to avoid the clickety-clack, and instead passing time by writing about it. But, somewhere in the corner of my head, this feels nice!

I like my shoes. I think I'm finally growing up.