Sunday, 1 July 2012


Despite this being a morning of spectacular beauty, with the world waking up to biscuits and bajjis and whatever-the-hell-there-is, I was cautiously seated, head tilted, and right-eye shut, swallowing a sneeze. Any other time, I suppose, idle chatter is welcome, but such needs are as inane to demand in a 'Chinese beauty parlour' in India as chicken curry is in Uzbekistan.

'Excuse me?' I sneeze.

The young girl, with shining porcelain skin and poker-straight hair , looks at me and murmurs something in a sing-song voice to her friend. They giggle. I get this sinking feeling that they're talking about me, yet I'm not too sure. Now, my left eye is shut while she tweezes my other eyebrow.

Tick, tock.


The weirdest thing about stepping into a politically incorrect institution such as this is not just trying to make sense of its oddities, but the possible outcome of such pursuit. I risk offending someone either by referring to them as Chinese, or by not recognizing them if they really are.