I know there is a lot to look at in this picture, but I'd like to draw your attention to the shoes. You can't see Sumita's or Neha's, but you can safely assume they are in the same neighborhood as mine. You can't see Rajesh's either (he's the guy between me and Neha), but you can safely assume his are not. His are almost certain to be like Suresh's (brown suit), Rizwan's (white kurta/red scarf) and Ramesh's (white kurta). That is: sturdy, sensible, comfortable.
Not us. Height, elegance and agony - that's what we women like. This particular day, I liked that combination so well I decided to walk all the way home in this get-up. Our fashion show had been a surprise and I had come in jeans and sneakers and changed just before our appearance. There was nothing to stop me from changing back and walking home happily. Except that I thought I looked so cool and haughty.
Or just plain stupid?
Coming over, I had worn my pedometer, as I always do. At a fast clip (I was late), it took 800 steps door to door. I was still wearing the pedometer on the return trip, little black dress, high heels and all (devotion, what else can I say?). This time? 1756 steps door to door and every one of those steps was an effort. I couldn't stride. I alternated between a mince and a plod. My toes were curling in on themselves by the time I reached our gate and the moment I climbed down from my heels, my feet began to cramp. It took 15 minutes of massaging to get them back to normal and it wasn't over. That night as I fell asleep I was woken by more cramps, this time shooting up my legs.
The next morning, I made a decision. It would be sneakers, from here on in. (Mostly.)
They may not look elegant and they certainly don't go with that little black dress. But they allow me to walk. They give me permission to move and the freedom to stride. They let me take to the streets. I feel like myself when my feet are happy. I know who I am and I never think twice about the next move.
Because (sigh) there are still those moments, and always will be (face it) when the little black dress and the long, sleek legs want to come out to play. And women, unlike men, are more likely to say - ah, what the hell?