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  • Part II : Damsels and Divas

    When I was younger than I am today I believed in Disney. I thought that my charming prince would come into my life and that we would fall in love and he would take me away from my life of woe and sorrow and we would live happily ever after. I am sorry to say that I was wrong and so was Disney. It’s all a fantasy. Well, at least is it for me.
    I know what you’re thinking, “Oh you stupid girl.” Or “You’re only 24 you still have plenty of time for your prince to come and sweep you off your feet, don’t be so cynical.”
    I know, but the thing is, I’m no longer interested. I already found my true love.
    After all, this whole Prince-sweeping-feet business is soooo….pathetic! I have another story that’s all about Disney and damsels-in-distress and being the hero of your own story. But this story is about my best friend.

    So there I was, 21 years old and living with my equally clueless boyfriend in his parent’s house in England. I left my family, my friends, my education, my personal space, and everything I couldn’t stuff into my 2 suitcases in Los Angeles. He was the only person I knew in this wild new territory, and I was determined to be the best girlfriend/best friend I could be.

    Only, I was lost and confused and I turned out to be a pretty big disappointment to both of us. It’s a long story, but let me just say that despite my efforts to build relationships with his circle of friends I found myself more alone and alienated from people than I have ever been in my life.

    Sounds bad, right? Well, they say suffering has it rewards. My suffering paid off when I met my true love for the second time in my life. Only this time, I was desperate not to take our friendship for granted and careful to nurture it.

    It was pure coincidence, or perhaps destiny, that we both volunteered to participate in the community play they were organizing for the spring festival. Her reputation preceded her and although I knew we had met before I was very shy to go up and talk to her. There she was, day one, with a bright purple tracksuit and her gorgeous wild curly brown hair pulled back and puffing out above her head. If I had been intimidated by girls before, I was absolutely terrified by this one because she’s one of those people who owns the room. You get what I mean? No one ignored Gauri when she wanted to be seen or heard. No one.

    I got lucky. The organizers of this production were absolute morons. Such morons were they that we were forced to lean on each other for support simply in order to make it through the first performance. I got her number (which I had secretly been waiting for the opportunity to get for the first whole month of rehearsals) and we talked to each other about the crappy direction and the unprofessionalism of the costume and set “designer” and the exasperating “diva-ness” of the main actress, and how we were going to handle it.

    We were kind of forced into this position because we were the only two responsible people in the whole cast. The others were young girls between the ages of 12 and 14 who knew Gauri from childhood and looked up to her, a grumpy old crone, a histrionic director, the 30-something fat diva and her mother (the self-proclaimed costume and set designer) and we were the only two members of the production between the ages of 19 and 21. The whole thing was extremely unorganized and in the end Gauri was given the responsibility of choreographing the dance routines, teaching them to us, directing part of the play, and we both had to provide half of the costumes and ended up doing the hair and makeup for nearly the whole cast (I would like to add at this point that thanks to all this I also met another inspiring person in my life, Kisori Morris, who did our hair and makeup for the second performance). And the stupid thing was scheduled for 4 performances. By the 3rd we both had had enough. Not only was there a work overload for us, but after putting all this responsibility on us the director and designer and diva started disrespecting us and causing loads of unnecessary drama. On the night of the 3rd performance the “designer” who had done jack shit to help us with the costumes barged into the “dressing room” and screamed at Gauri “I’m taking back my authority!” because she was putting flowers in the younger girls’ hair, and the diva was bawling her eyes out behind the curtain as the audience was taking their seats while the rest of us had no idea what the hell was going on.

    It was the last straw. Gauri and I said, “Screw it” and left. Naturally, the younger girls left too. The nightmare was over, but I’ll never regret those days because it was the canon blast that accelerated our timid friendship into something strong and real and based on trust and support.

    Damn. Come to think of it, it’s probably the healthiest relationship I’ve ever had, and amidst the most unhealthy of psychological conditions.

    But there’s so much more to it than that. You see this whole episode was only the beginning of my discovery of true love.
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