Dear Aspiring Divas,
Being a diva can be tough. It requires patience, dedication and hours of practice, but it is not impossible to achieve. Ask me! Four years of practice (and running) later, I’ve managed to hone the art of diva-dom to a finely tuned skill, so much so that being a true diva is now second nature to me. I thought I would share some tips with those of you out there who are divas in the making too and could do with some friendly advice!
- The first rule of being a diva is that you must always select your own clothes. Nobody and I mean NOBODY else gets to chose what you will wear. Take your time when you put together an outfit; clothes are meant to be inspected, evaluated and tossed. And changing your mind inexplicably and often is the prerogative of a diva. So set aside a couple of hours in the day for selecting your clothes and use them well. Oh, and keep in mind that a diva changes her outfits often and colour co-ordinates EVERYTHING. Right down to the innerwear, shoes and accessories, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
- The path to diva-dom has ne‘er been smooth so expect plenty of obstacles in your way, especially from those pesky creatures otherwise known as the Mommy Women who will take it upon themselves to object to the smallest of things. Take this afternoon, for example. I had finally put together my carefully selected outfit for the evening trip to the park when a series of shrieks disrupted the afternoon quiet. “Purple tights with a red striped top; green shoes and that long bead necklace?? Noooooo!” It was the Mommy Woman of course, up to her usual tricks. Her latest strategy is to try and object to any outfit I try to select by telling me how the colours clash or the bottoms don’t match the top at all or some such silly reason. Bah! Like she would know! The woman has no idea, which is why her own dress sense is so blah. “Be exciting!” I try and tell her “Live a little! If you feel like wearing a pink tutu over green polka dotted tights and a yellow sparkly tee, do it! Fashion should be fun!” None of it permeates her thick skull of course, she just pretends she’s going into a dead faint and tries to get me into her favourite combo of jeans and a deathly boring tee, so naturally I have to resort to the most powerful weapon in my arsenal, the screechy tantrum, designed to knock out even the most obstinate Mommy Woman. A few minutes later, I have her on her knees, weeping, begging me to wear my underwear over my tutu if I so wish. Smart idea, that. Maybe I’ll try it for my next trip to the mall. Moral of the story: never underestimate the power of tantrums. A good, solid tantrum can get you ‘most everything. Besides, tantrums are the prerogative of divas, everyone knows that. So use them often and use them well.
- Make sure you have pretty, clean, sweet smelling, well moisturized hands at all times. And I mean all times. This might sound simple but in reality it is no easy feat to achieve. For one you need to spend copious amounts of time in the bathroom washing your hands with the best fruity smelling, pink (but naturally!) soap you can get your pretties on. Here again, except plenty of resistance from the Mommy Women (‘You want to wash your hands again! But you just spent an hour in the bathroom! You washed your hands five seconds ago! You can’t keep messing around in the water! You’ll catch a cold…yada yada yada!) Worry not; such petty objections can be easily overruled. Your best beseeching look and something along the lines of ‘but washing hands kills germs, mommy!’ or ‘I stuck my hand in the flowerpot so my hands are really dirty and need to be washed!’ usually does the trick. Next, we come to the moisturizing. Pink cream is my personal favourite, great big generous blobs of it, massaged lovingly into the hands and the arms- oh, and after a shower make sure you massage it all over. You might face resistance from the Mommy Women here again, like I did. At first she refused outright! Then she’d act all stingy and give me this insanely tiny little drop of cream that wasn’t even enough for my fingernail! A few months down the line, all I have to do is fix the woman with my best beady look and she just groans and gives me as many blobs as I want. Remember, divas have to be persistent.
- Lip balm. Aaah lip balm! Pink, shiny, smooth; gliding over your lips like melting butter on hot toast…I could go on and on! And to think I discovered its many pleasures only recently and by chance at that! If I hadn’t happened to sneak up on the Mommy Woman when she was cowering in the corner the other day trying to hide behind her handbag I would never have found out she was sneakily putting on some lip balm while pretending to look for something in her bag. That little snitch! I’ve punished her by hiding her lip balm in my bag; one has to be firm about these things. And now that it’s within easy reach, I make sure my lips are glossy and soft at all times, just like a diva’s should be. Whenever I have to step out whether it’s the mall or the park, I make sure I dab on some lip balm. Each time I get into the car, even if it’s just the Mommy Woman doing one of her quick grocery runs. Bedtime and naptimes. Play date times. Just looking at yourself in the bathroom mirror times. Story hour at the library times. I even tried putting some on for school but, you know, there are other women like the Mommy Women out there and one has to pick one’s battles. The other important bit to remember with lip balm is to be generous in its application. I mean, you can never have too much of something like lip balm can you? The Mommy Woman will object to this as well, naturally, screeching and whining about how it’s not just on your lips but all over half of your face and may even try to wipe it off with a tissue, but remember, be firm.
- When it comes to your stuff, be protective of your turf. If your Mommy Woman is like mine, she may develop an intense dislike to something you yourself particularly like and she may even try to- sit down when you read this- get rid of it! Yes, she is capable of that too! Mine actually tried it, can you imagine? Hard to believe I know, but one day when I got back from the park with Daddy a little earlier than usual, guess what I found stashed away in the bin? My favourite purple hair band, a particularly darling one with black and purple feathers that swept right down to my brow, one that I had been wearing in the park every single day for a few months before I kind of forgot about it and moved on to something else. Still it didn’t mean I didn’t want it anymore! There was absolutely no excuse for the Mommy Woman to claim that it was just languishing in my room and it looked all raggedy anyway and to try and trash it on one of her ghastly spring cleaning sprees. Anyway, prevention is better than cure I say and in order to avoid any such future incidents I’ve taken to stashing my stuff away- specially stuff that the Mommy Woman tends to look at with that ‘far away, she’s definitely off her rocker’ look in her eyes- in safe places where she doesn’t look or better yet, where she can’t reach. Like that nice hole in the home theatre woofer that only my hand fits into. Or in one of my many bags at the bottom of all my shopping lists and notes that the Mommy Woman has given up on clearing because it makes her feel faint. Or glued to some of the lumpy bits in the playdough jar, hidden under the other playdough. You get my drift. Remember it’s your stuff and only you are responsible for it.
- I touched upon this briefly in point one but it really deserves a separate point for itself. I’m talking about accessories, the stuff that can make or break an outfit. I have my own favourites like that purple feathery hairband I just told you about; or my beaded necklaces; or the many bracelets that used to belong to the Mommy Woman but which I have now appropriated. What I like doing best is mixing and matching. The floor length beaded necklace (come to think of it, that one used to be the Mommy Woman’s too) with the pink crown headband. The jingly bracelets with the bangles Dadi got me for Diwali, all of them together on one hand of course, all the way up to my shoulder. Ooh and dupattas, I lurrve dupattas! My favourite teacher at school always carries her dupattas so well! I’ve taken to draping my own dupatta over my shoulders when I step out sometimes; I find it goes just as well with shorts or a skirt as it does with ethnic stuff. It’s a pity I don’t own too many of my own dupattas but I can always borrow the Mommy Woman’s, so it’s no biggie.
- Seeing as to how accessories can make or break your look, it makes sense to carry plenty of them with you so you can change your look in a jiffy if you so desire. Now that I have my own handbag, I make it a point to carry my hand cream, sunglasses and the Mommy Woman’s lip balm in addition to an assortment of hairbands and bracelets. If there’s any extra stuff that doesn’t fit in my bag I just stuff it in the Mommy Woman’s; remember divas have to be resourceful! Besides the Mommy Woman doesn’t even notice most times. Apart from that one time where she had to pay someone and began fishing around in her handbag for her wallet. It was quite amusing to watch her eyes grow wide and her mouth grow wider as she drew out first my electric blue feather purse (I was carrying an extra purse, you know, just in case) and then my Dora bracelet and then a series of jangly necklaces. I don’t mean to boast but even the man at the cash counter seemed quite impressed at my collection! There was absolutely no need for the Mommy Woman to get all flushed and embarrassed and start apologizing for holding up the queue, but that’s her, always overreacting!
- Last but not the least, remember to throw your shoulders back, chin up and dazzle ‘em with that smile when you step out! Now this is easier said than done, especially if you have a wet blanket Mommy Woman tagging along with you, but if you want to be a true diva you gotta be tough! Last week, after spending over an hour selecting my outfit for a birthday party I finally got dressed and then, because the Mommy Woman, that obstinate mule, just outright refused to let me use any of her perfumes, I massaged some Vicks over my hands and throat. It was quite nice smelling I thought, rather exotic. Unfortunately it was also a little strong because the Mommy Woman sniffed it out like a bloodhound and went at me with her arsenal of wipes. She was so flipped out after that she came to the birthday party dressed in jeans and a tee (grey, that most miserable of colours at that) and a long face, totally overlooking my suggestions of that nice black skirt she has instead with a shimmery gold dupatta. But did I let her get me down? No sir! I was the life and soul of the party and in spite of the Mommy Woman’s efforts with those wipes I still managed to smell faintly of Vicks. Hah!
With that I’ll leave you to channel and unleash your own inner diva! I’m not entirely done yet, in fact I just thought of a few other things I could share, but one of the tricks to being a good diva is to develop your own style which you can only do with trial and error so I’ll leave you to it. Besides, I need to sort out my wardrobe. I decided to rearrange my clothes today and its turning out to be quite a tedious exercise. At first I was quite excited about it; the Mommy Woman had left my wardrobe doors ajar and forgotten about it and I used the opportunity to get all the clothes out and spread them all over my room. The plan was to sort them out and club them together in some fun way, not the boring ‘day wear- night wear’ or ‘party clothes-park clothes’ like the Mommy Woman does. I was thinking something along the lines of a ‘Caribbean theme’ with all my shorts and strappy tops clubbed together and an ‘Egyptian line’ with the shimmery stuff and the necklaces, but that’s stuff for another day. My good friend S is coming over in sometime for a play date and I need to get dressed. I’ll just lump these clothes together and shove them back in. Hey, there’s that red and black glittery outfit someone had gifted me last month; I thought the Mommy Woman said it had got lost! It looks so retro and cool, I heard the Mommy Woman saying it looked like something Govinda would wear! No idea who Govinda is of course but I’m sure it’s someone cool; must remember to check with the MW later. In the meantime, I think it would be perfect for the playdate with S…yes it would! Oooh, so exciting! Laters then...and keep that diva within you glowing bright!