Friday, September 28, 2007

An Unexpected Pedicure

My blog's attracted some new readers as of late (yay! and welcome!), so you might not all remember this post, in which I painted my toenails with some nasty pink polish I bought at a kirana.

I've been reapplying said nail polish about once a week thereafter -- and dreaming about a proper pedicure.

Too expensive, I thought. Just keep enough paint slapped on those nails so they don't look gross, and you'll do fine.

Oh, I retaliated (to myself, of course), but you want your feet to look pretty for the opening of Tempest, especially since you'll be wearing that pretty pink sari...

So today curiosity got the best of me and I poked my head into Santoshi's Herbal Beauty Salon (Ladies Only), the on-campus beauty parlor. The place had always looked a little creepy because the owners had taken it upon themselves to paint all of the windows black, probably to prevent wandering male eyes. The result, of course, was that Santoshi's looked rather like the Herbal Beauty Salon of Evil. Which is why it took me seven weeks to walk inside.

Behind the black-painted windows was a colorful, vibrant room full of young women getting threaded, pop music on the stereo, and posters of film stars.

"Hello!" a cheerful woman called out to me. "What do you want?"

"Um..." I thought about how to phrase this. "Do you paint toenails?"

The woman turned to a student who was getting her hair cut and said something in Telugu, probably something along the lines of "What is this crazy American woman asking me to do?"

"I mean... a pedicure?"

The woman smiled and nodded. Evidently "pedicure" translated. Of course, obviously it would. The language of beauty is universal.

I had meant to say something along the lines of "Do you do pedicures, and how much does it cost, and can I come back in a few days?" but my cheerful host had already begun filling a small bowl with hot water. "Come!" she said. I came.

I've only had a pedicure once before, and it was a singularly delicious experience. Hot paraffin, fluffy towels, little rows of cotton between the toes, a massaging chair, etc. This pedicure was... well... it was effective, and efficient, and (as it turns out) ridiculously inexpensive, but much, much more painful. We're talking "scrubbing off the callouses at my heels with a piece of ridged metal" painful. And -- for whatever reason -- instead of clipping my toenails, the length was rubbed off with a nail file.

Still, one can't knock the results. Don't they look pretty?

(And yes, now you have proof. I have big feet and I cannot lie.)

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