Push Up Bras for The Jaw- Review

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

"Didi, can you show me the mirror please?", I asked the junior dentist's assistant, knowing very well in my heart that she's younger to me. My dentist had just pulled my braces out and I was feeling empty in the mouth (is that a thing?).

This, calling someone didi/bhayya as a mark of respect (just as how all office emails have a forced 'please' somewhere in the middle even if it's a direct order) is a very North Indian trait. I'd like to think people outside of this geographic zone have earmarked solid age-related suffixes which are usually prescient. I am reminded of the auto driver in Pune who shared his number with me and asked me to save it as "Sunil Kaka". That's another thing that Sunil Kaka never answered my phone when I was getting late for my film and there was no Uber around.

I digress, but, both Archana Didi and I knew that I was fooling her by referring to her as Didi. My chest size usually busts all possible myths about my youth. Or it used to when I still had braces.

When I looked into the mirror, it was a bit of a shock. Here I was, 25; looking like a duck. Without as much as a pout or an attempt to do that. Dehydrated, chapped lips and greasy hair in a tight ponytail, my face looked like it had seen death. My chin seems to have been hammered inside my face. "Did I look better with gap between my teeth? I think I did."

To say I was mildly disappointed after looking at my face is an understatement. It looked like me and it didn't look like me. I missed the metal on my teeth. It was me. This duck-like face isn't. I wouldn't be caught dead telling people that to their face. Not since I forcefully extracted, "Don't they look fab?" from a bunch of people I met since they came off. Only FHB had the balls to say that they were all yellow (I'm barfing at the reference).

Around two years ago I decided to get myself braces. It's a bit of a task convincing folks to fund for it. In my case, it was the other way around. At 12, my mother had lugged my pre-puberty ass to the family dentist and consequently, an orthodontist. The duo had declared that they needed to extract four permanent teeth to be able to proceed with the treatment- braces for nine months and hello, pretty face.

At 14, I was on top of my game. My teeth were aligned. I was failing mathematics. My grandmother had died. My crush had shared a blue coloured chewing gum with me. All the milestones worth recording had been crossed. My period was regular. I had a cell phone where I could store 4 MB worth of total data (so it meant making a choice between a 3o second ringtone or two images from the cell phone camera). Meanwhile, my friends were still considering doing something to their teeth at the time. I had a smug edge over them all, including better teeth in no time.

I don't remember when I first noticed that I had a gap between my teeth, but it was somewhere during the Master's degree when all the pretty girls in the class were asked to be the models. I wasn't one. Ofcourse, the times I saw my face in the pictures I took, and others took of me, I stared wide at the gap. "But, I had braces!", I told my friends as a consolation to their, "You don't look so bad." The gap stared back at me, wider, each time I smiled at the camera.

Three days before my 24th birthday, I sat outside the dentist's clinic with Man Friday. With a bucket of chicken and a bouquet of flowers in my hand, everyone in the waiting room at his clinic was staring at me. As though an adult coming to get braces wasn't nutty enough, the adult held food, flowers. Man Friday was convinced that I had gotten my date of birth wrong. He had decided to bear presents to the clinic and ensured I saw him eat chicken wings, followed by donuts. All this while, I was scared shitless to do that again. As I stepped out of the dentist's room, he had only one thing to say, "Welcome to celibacy for the rest of your life."

Looking back, I wish I had had reconsidered this. The birthday that year sucked. I couldn't drink. I couldn't eat cake. I cried and tried eating a burger unsuccessfully. When that failed, I knew it was going to be worth missing cake and wine on your birthday. Karma and other fail philosophical ideas were overtaking me. I allowed myself to be convinced for over a year.

Only last Saturday, it felt like it wasn't probably worth it.

Mia joined work yesterday after a long hiatus. Despite cleaning elephant poop in Chiang Mai , she came back to her, "you didn't need braces, why did you waste your time and money?" argument. I tried my best to respond, "First of all, wow, that story is amazing. Second, how do you not see the difference?". I showed her and the intern images of me at 20, in a Saree, after the award night and boy did my face look like another being. "Your jaw looks so different now. It's been sucked in. You looked better earlier.", Mia said while continuing to stare into the picture. "Nice Saree", said the intern.

"Thanks but it's not mine. I had to borrow from a friend."

I waited a year and a half, nine kilos, one birthday and all possible dates to have my chin hammered in and have them aligned teeth. For what it's worth, the pictures taken now are well, different. I think I finally look like my age.

Was it worth it? Well, people scale the Everest for a high. Or for photo-ops. I am no different. I think everyone likes symmetry and perfectly aligned teeth. Fuck you, if you don't dig symmetry. I like crooked teeth if the person can cook/write or be McDreamy. Else, where is that block option on my phone? If you don't have something interesting going for yourself then at least make your teeth look great. All it takes is a year or two and some money and restraint on lifestyle. It's easier than buying yourself a personality.

Will I recommend? Pfft. Maybe not, because I learnt in time, it's okay to look the way you look. It's okay to not be the person who's going to be asked to pose for everyone's pictures at a test shoot. It's not Earth-shattering to have gap between teeth. l can live with nine extra kilos although, can someone tell me what's the cost of liposuction and if it's safe?

Will I get it again if my teeth move? If I manage to get a sugar daddy in time before they move, and if he sponsors, then yes. Else, the world will have to live with my atrocious gap *gasp*.

As for Archana Didi, I sincerely hope to never see her again.

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