By Trishla Verma, Batch of 2020
I walk into the club in a gold sequined dress paired with pencil heels. I am quite late but the cheese hamburger and the butter sticks from last week are to blame for that. The zipper just won’t shut completely until I manoeuvred it a very specific way. I hope no one at the party catches my slip-up! The crowd here is maddening. For a moment, my mind wanders off to the peaceful silence of my bedroom but I shut my thoughts down. This is THE event of the year, it would be social suicide to give it a miss. So, I step inside with a careful expression that neither looks bored, nor too excited. Balance is the key, I repeat in my head. I heave a mental sigh of relief as I spot my friend. She seemed to fit right into the setting, I admired this quality of hers. I go up to her and immediately want to tell her all about the dress mishap but that’s not a conversation for here. Maybe later. She hands me a drink. I remember how hard the hangover was the last time I drank but it would be so odd if I refuse. I’ll take this one and just this one, I promise to myself. It’s all about the balance, right?
‘Let’s go over to the guys?’ she spoke out. My nervousness multiplied and my tone purposely became casual to avoid looking so. ‘Sure’, I say. I could spot 3 broad kinds of men from here – the gentlemen, the perverts dressed as gentlemen, the bored. I hope my friend will steer me towards the first category but my heart sinks as she takes me towards the right which seated the second category. I tell myself not to complain. First impressions can be misleading. We go for a pair of men seated next to each other having drinks and talking about the game last night. My friend introduces us. The men offer us drinks, my friend agrees and once again, I don’t know why, I do too. They seem okay till now. I should never trust my first impressions. They ask us for a dance and we agree. As we walk to the dance floor, I feel one of the men’s hands dangerously near my chest. Just an accident, perhaps? I casually move a bit. But the hand does too. My mind is split. Sticking to my rights and ethics or playing it cool? I don’t want to appear a spoilsport. Or a kill-joy. And what if it IS actually a mistake? I make eye contact with him and he winks. This was definitely not a mistake. I pretend to receive a call and move out to the ladies room. I try my hardest but tears stream out. I allow the moment of weakness and let it all out. The rules, the restrictions, what all was expected for me to be cool (I let out a laugh at the irony) and how I hated every moment of the pretence but loved the response and how people, for once, actually liked me and hence never stopped. Okay, moment is over. I wipe my tears off carefully and step out with my practiced balanced expression. Let’s have some ‘fun’?