This, my first posting, is dedicated to the little Indian woman who shaved me clean, and to me, the woman who still wants to believe that getting your “bikini” done is not the same thing as removing all of your pubic hair. But, it’s kind of like the story about the man who is hit while he’s driving his car through a stale, green light. He argues that he has the right of way. He is right, but his car is totaled. I am arguably right, but I’m still totaled.
Here are the facts. My name is Nandi. I have three sons and an English husband named Robin. I am a famous Hollywood Filmmaker. I live in Mumbai, India. I am here to discover and explore my spirituality and to share in this exotic, global village with my family.
Uh, okay… I would have probably been famous, I am supposed to be famous, but I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and I decided to flee to India with my husband and three kids because I was freaking out and I didn’t know what to do about the chronic illness thing. And quiet as it’s kept, India is not any more spiritual than Hollywood, it’s just really crowded and often more desperate.
Okay, here’s the real truth. My name is Nandi, I am an African American, woman with three kids and one husband and I live in Mumbai, India. An Indian conglomerate bought the company my husband works for. We figured that with the sagging U.S. economy and my diagnosis, we should cash out and imagine that we were having an international adventure. I am exploring my spirituality and clinging to my sanity while I work to navigate this crazy, stinky, city. I am trying to make some sense of the chaos… in India and in my life. And I am going to find my inner peace if it kills me. I have Multiple Sclerosis, which is a crap disease but, I am not giving up and I intend on having that amazing filmmaking career that I have worked for all of my life, even though walking is an issue, and for reasons I still don’t understand, I have no pubic hair.
It wasn’t supposed to be a tricky ordeal. I had weighed the pros and cons of laser hair removal and I decided that it would be nice to have a perpetually clean bikini line and smooth lower legs. I have already done hair removal on my underarms and I am pleased with the results.
Imagine my surprise, when I am spread eagle on the table with a nice, but strange, Indian woman who is wearing goggles and a surgical mask, removing that which has never been removed. I bolt upright, “Why are you doing that?” I shriek, hoping she won’t panic and nick me. “For the bikini.” she says, wagging her head, as she changes directions with the razor.”Oh,” I mumble, as I try to calculate my options.
It is especially hard to calculate options when you are so vulnerable and there’s a hot light, a sharp blade and a strange lady’s head between your legs. I should have asked her name, since at this point, she knows more about me than almost everyone on the planet. “Do you have children?” she asks, making polite conversation. “Three.” I say, wondering if she is asking me because their big-assed heads have left an indelible birthmark that my husband has been too polite to mention. Why am I here?
I lie back down, so I don’t pass out and I chant the Lord Shiva’s name like I do in yoga class during an impossible stretch. Eventually, I am able to establish the fact that I do want pubic hair. She assures me that it will grow back and that the numbing cream that she has liberally applied, will wear off within a few hours.
Robin, who after 23 years of marriage, has probably given up on “intimate surprise”, is very SURPRISED. Me, I just smile and shake my head. This is truly a story that only happens in India, a place where even the most kick-ass, American, filmmaker, can lose her pubic hair and her dignity… without even trying.