<%-- Page Title--%> Slice of Life <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 127 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

October 17, 2003

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A Thing Of Beauty...
Joy For Every One?

Richa Jha

The flavour of the season, undoubtedly, has to be the several Miss XYZ Contests. You lift any daily, and you'll see the 'crowned' dazzling beauties beaming back from the leaves of the broad sheet. Not many of you may know this though, that The Hubby was recently asked to be one of the judges at one such contest.

But I said no. I did not wish to see him there. “I will not let you be there, judging these girls on parameters you are not even aware of. What, for instance, is a Perfect 10? Come on, tell me, aren't you supposed to know what it means?”, I wanted to show him how ill equipped he was to handle this.

“Wifey, I have seen more Olympics highlights on TV than you have. And I have seen the Russian gymnasts. I know what a perfect 10 is.”

“Wrong. And furthermore, what would you know of poise or grace?”

“Oh, that's simple. If the contestants on stage behave unlike you, I'll know they are acting feminine. Grace and poise will flow naturally then.”

“You think you are being smart? Okay, now tell me, how will you figure what's the correct reply to those loaded questions on love, charity, kindness, global peace, Mother Teresa, etc.? How will you ask the right questions. You'll make a fool of yourself the moment you open your mouth. What do you know about womanhood and super-womanhood?”

“Ha Ha! That's simple again, dear. I have it all worked out. You see this guidebook here? The cover reads '1001 Difficult Questions For That One Answer'. While the contestants rehearse their Big answer, I flip through this book for the most appropriate question. I bet the other judges have not come across this book yet. Now do you see how I am all set to steal the show?”

“But I'd still much rather have you home, and watch it on TV later,” I pouted.

“Now cheer up. What's the matter with you? Why are you dissuading me thus? Oh! I see it now. Do you also want to be one of the judges? Ishh, you should have said so. It's still not late. Let me speak with the organisers. I'm sure they could squeeze you in.”

“No, no, you don't understand. How do I put it? I am not too comfortable having you there, you know, looking at the girls. You know what I mean…?”

“Girls, who said we'll be looking at them as girls? My dear, rest assured, to the eyes of a judge, they are all talented individuals. Each contestant is a person, PERSON.”

“But still. They'll all be so gorgeous, and witty with their replies. They are so gifted, which is why they are there, right? And you, before so many of them, asking them questions, marking them on their gait, their poise, their…? I shudder to think beyond. What will the bhabis here say? What will they think of me? Of you? These questions are badgering me. How will I face them with their stealing winks after the show?

“You fret over such silly things, really. They'll not say anything. Rather, they'll feel envious of you, because your husband, not theirs, is going to be up there. What an honour it is for me!”

As you can see, I tried my best. As the event neared, we could scarcely sleep at night. The Hubby, out of sheer excitement, and I, well, due to the catwalk nightmares I would get even while praying. A novice as he was at this exercise, these were busy days for The Hubby. In between running down to the tailors for that faultless stitch on his jacket, and standing in front of the mirror rehearsing his question, to co-ordinating his ensemble to the last details pens, belt buckle, et al, he also managed to squeeze in time to practise the perfect hand-shake with the participants (mercifully, the rehearsals happened on his boxing gloves) and that flitting applause with the finesse of a danseur.

Against this backdrop, you can imagine how shocked (but actually, gloating on the inside) I was when The Hubby showed me the letter he had drafted this morning.

“This is for the organisers”, he said. He hadn't looked this miserable in years. “My apologies to them. That I shall not be able to make it to the show”.

“Hey, whatever happened?”

“Widespread demonstrations across the country by young men in the name of men's lib and all that, questioning the basis of having these contests only for the Misses. So the organisers buckled under this pressure, and have changed the contest to an all-male show. 'Mr XYZ' it is going to be called now.”

“Great! I'll be so much more at peace. But why this letter then?”

“I'm not going now. Who wants to sit there looking at these blo…”, he nearly said it, but refrained.

“But didn't you say earlier that you'd be judging a Person on stage, not a Miss? Then how do things change at all?”

“But the contest has so much more meaning when the person happens to be a Miss. I'm off it. Let them find some willing replacement.”

“I!”, I jumped with delight, “I wouldn't mind being in there now! Perhaps you could suggest my name to the organisers”, I said eagerly.

The Hubby said no. And pleaded, “I will not feel comfortable while you are there looking at all the boys…”!


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