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Drop Dead Gorgeous

There is a huge range of emotions that women know everything about, but men are completely unaware about. Motherhood, for one. Infatuation over guys with six-packs. The feeling when you've just heard the juiciest piece of gossip on the grapevine. Drool over Tom Felton. And, of course, the feeling which you get when you see a pair of shoes, or an outfit, that is so perfect, you know you would kill to get it. Know what I'm talking about, ladies? Be it Kate Middleton's wedding dress or Naomi's sandals from 90210. We have all felt that burning desire at some time or the other, even self-proclaimed tomboys like me. Guys, don't expect to relate with the following story. Ladies - stop dreaming about Kate's wedding dress. Read on.







***


The girl in the black and white dress felt the drops of sweat slip down her neck, as she walked along the street which housed all her favourite brands. The street which was one of the most expensive places to shop, but the best place to buy clothes. The street that built her. The street that always managed to cheer her up. Except now. She had had an avalanche of bad news, and right now, walking along her golden brick road just wasn't cutting it for her. Her father had frozen all her credit cards, the manicurist had cancelled her appointment, her mom had forced her to donate her half her clothes to "those less fortunate" than her, her boyfriend had broken up with her through a text, because apparently she was more than his wallet could handle. Right now, all she wanted to do was get into her favourite shop, try on their newest collection, and look killer. It struck her, just then, that the phrases of looking "drop dead gorgeous" and looking "killer" were probably related. Killer. It sounded nice. Looking killer. Looking independent, bold. Looking like you knew your place in this world. Looking like you had no problems, living like a dream in the land of couture.


And people like Coco Chanel or Alexander McQueen or Louis Vutton didn't hand it to you on a gilded platter. You had to go out there, and get that killer look yourself. And that was what she found so beautiful about the entire business of fashion. At one end, there were these people, who made beautiful clothes, but at the other end, you were the one who had to choose the ones which made you look beautiful. But these people were still geniuses. Honestly, anyone who could instil confidence because of the way they cut cloth and wrapped it around you, anyone who could match metal or plastic accessories with that cut cloth to make someone look otherworldly, was a genius. And, she planned to be just that.


Her fashion blog had been a hit, and now she was a virtual celebrity. Her popularity had reached such heights, she had even started her own label. She might not have been smart, but she was definitely street-smart. Her label was slowly but surely picking up speed, after Kate Middleton and Sienna Miller had been seen wearing her designs. But, it still wasn't enough. Her income wasn't that great, and now that her father had frozen her credit cards, she really wanted to scream. Or just go inside a shop and look gorgeous, that was much simpler. But, none of the display windows actually suited her fashion palate right now. She was in a sombre mood, rare for her, and wanted to change into something pure black, instead of the black and white dress she was wearing. Maybe black eyeliner and black lipstick. Or, no, actually, that would be overdoing it. She wondered if she should start a chain for confused pre-teens - a black-and-white chain, mirroring the confusion felt in early adolescence. She remembered that phase well. But maybe that would be too dramatic. Maybe she should start a chain for younger girls, with only white clothes. Or, instead of white, the clothes could be rainbow-coloured. Or, maybe -


Oh. God.



She started hyperventilating. As she was walking, she had just seen the most gorgeous outfit ever. Starting from the bottom, there were these black gladiator heels, which could look stunning with absolutely anything. There were brown cotton trousers, which she ordinarily wouldn't have been caught dead wearing, but these circumstances were different. There was a simple, white collared full-sleeved shirt, over which the mannequin was wearing a dark blue sweater. In a previous life, she would have detested something plain like that. But. It. Was. Just. So. Cool. It was dignified, chic. It was not formal, or classy, but she could wear it anywhere. There was no reason why a girl like her should like the outfit so much, but she did. That was fashion, wasn't it? Identifying your style of clothes, what would look good on you. And now, having seen the dress, she was magnetically pulled towards it, the magnetic attraction known only to girls who had fallen in love with clothes before - she was possessed now.









***


Going, under.

(Going under)

Drowning, you!

(Drowning you)

Falling forever.

(Falling forever)

I've got to break through!

Going under.


The rebel didn't know why she was in such a bad mood. And her mood only kept getting worse, as she kept walking. As the lyrics kept pounding her headphones, she wanted to feel emotion, rebellion, anger. Instead, she was forced to walk through a labyrinth of designer labels. A bunch of stuck-up people, trying to call themselves fashionable by sticking on weird bits of stuff on weird clothes at weird angles. Honestly, who needed anything more than a t-shirt and jeans? But what she detested the most, were heels. High heels. She believed, the women who wore those were completely devoid of self-confidence, or height, or both. And even if they were short, so what? Heels were just stupid. For fake people. She was happy in her Reeboks.


And dresses were for those women who had nothing better to do than show off their butts at parties. It wasn't a case of sour grapes, she just detested anything soft and weak, anything feminine. Of course, being a girl, there were certain womanly instincts in her that could not be curbed. But she tried to suppress those anyway.


But, then again, she was a woman, and some qualities, however dormant, are always present in women. She never knew why she was so tongue-tied when her crush spoke to her. She did not know why she cried at the end of Titanic. She found that now, she walked with a certain feline grace that she did not have as a younger girl, and definitely not possessed by any man. She was realizing herself as a woman, and did not want that. She loved that she was the only single girl in her psychology class, that she listened to Evanescence and Avenged Sevenfold while the other girls listened to Katy Perry and Lady Gaga (even though she loathed "fashion" per se, she though Gaga was kinda cool, for wearing crazy stuff like that. But she still thought the entire business was a waste of time).


But as she kept walking along that street, she started feeling better, of no reason. She was (even though she would never admit it) captivated by all the clothes she was passing. The woman inside her had just started waking up, and wasn't going to go back to sleep anytime soon. She had just passed the cutest top in a shop window and would have bought it, if she had any money. The customary adolescent wave of confusion about her identity should have passed over her, but she was too enraptured by the clothes to notice.


Oh. God.


She had just seen the most amazing outfit ever. It wasn't conventionally beautiful, but had a certain style to it. It was plain, very plain. A full-sleeved indigo sweater over a collared white shirt, and one could see the collar, cuffs and bottom of the shirt peeking out. The mannequin had worn brown trousers, but our fashion rebel though it would look better with black jeans. And black, heeled gladiators. Even her constricted fashion knowledge told her that an outfit like that shouldn't be worn with heels, but the effect was just so good. She hastily pulled herself together as she remembered her views on fashion. Oh, what the h*ll. She'd wear the outfit with converse shoes. She got a peculiar feeling in the depths of her stomach as she imagined herself in that outfit. Sure, it wasn't formal or classy. But it was her. There was an elegance about the outfit, that made her want to go in and buy it immediately. Even though she had no money. She thought, she'd just inquire about the price of the dress, and return when she had the money. She couldn't wait. She was possessed.








***



The saleswoman yawned as she looked at the clock. Though her shift was about to end in ten minutes, she wasn't happy. She wanted to stay inside the shop, just looking at the outfit. It was quite simple, a blue sweater over a collared white shirt. The manager hadn't wanted to display it in the window, but did so at her insistence. But that didn't increase her heartbeat too much. Now that she could see it, she wanted to buy it. But, it was just so expensive. She hadn't honestly thought that one outfit would be more than half her paycheck. Ugh, these designers. She could have gotten the same outfit for much cheaper elsewhere, but there was a sophistication and softness about the design on the sweater, the height of the collar, the length of shirt seen below the sweater, everything. But she couldn't afford it. No one could. So, in melancholy contemplation, she went back to filing her nails.


She was brought out of her reverie when two customers barged into the shop simultaneously, walking towards her. She recognized the same frenzied look in their eyes, and she knew they had also been enamoured by that outfit. Ha, she thought, two sales of that outfit in one day. That would be something to tell the manager. That was the problem of having a male manager in a women's clothing shop. Men had no taste. Now she'd show him. Maybe even get a promotion. Then maybe she'd be able to afford the outfit. But for now, she had customers to attend to.


"How much for the outfit in the window?" asked the girl in the black and white dress. The saleswoman replied, milliseconds before the gasps of the girl who had asked, and the other one, a girl who did not look the least fashion conscious. She had judged these reactions would come. She had seen the same gasp, the previous day. Well, she thought, it's not my fault. All the clothes in the shop were overpriced. The girl in the black and white dress started narrating a sob-story about how her father had frozen her credit cards, and she would have the dress as soon as she could. The saleswoman tuned all of it out. The girl in jeans merely walked out, in a daze.








***


"But, daddy, please!" she wailed into the phone. She couldn't believe, that he would be so cruel. It was only one outfit. But he wouldn't listen. He said, she needed to appreciate the value of money, and she would need to start earning herself, the same usual rot. She kept telling him, she had a job, it would only be a matter of time before business picked up. But he didn't believe that the fashion industry was a good job, and kept trying to get her to join his firm. But all that aside, She wanted the dress. Needed that dress. If she couldn't pay for it, she'd get it without paying. She'd steal it from the shop, that night. She'd kill anyone who tried to stop her too, the emotion was that intense. She was possessed.








***


The rebel walked back to her apartment slowly, deep in thought. The price was just staggering. But, no matter. She had to have it. She kept trying to fight herself, remembering her previous views on fashion, but to no avail. She needed that dress. But she didn't have the money. But she had the guts. She could go and steal it. The fact that there would be anti-theft measures didn't occur to her. A new wave of dare-devilry swept over her. She could do it. She had to do it, if she wanted the outfit. Maybe she could do without it, her brain said. Maybe she didn't have to go to such extremes. But her heart retaliated, in full force, which made her want to go and steal it even more. She felt light-headed, to such an extent that she vowed to kill anyone who stood between her and the outfit. She wouldn't be able to live without it now - she was possessed.








***


The saleswoman thanked God for coffee as she walked towards the shop the next morning. It burnt her tongue, but it kept her awake. She hated her early morning shift, but she had to do it, if she wanted a proper salary. She walked slowly, trying to enjoy her last few moments before her dreadful 6-hour shift. But, as she approached the shop, she found herself walking faster. There was a police tape, proclaiming "Do Not Enter" around the perimeter, there were a few policemen talking among themselves as well as a police car with flashing lights. As she went closer, the details became clearer. The two girls who had inquired about the outfit in the window were lying at the door of shop. Sleeping in a pool of blood. The window had been broken, and the entire shop was in disarray. Almost all the racks had fallen, the clothes sprawled everywhere. The naked mannequin lay broken. The outfit was missing. Something shone, in that pool of blood. On walking even closer, she noticed that it was a nail-file. "What happened here?" she asked the policemen as she walked up the steps of the shop, smoothing out her white shirt from under her new, dark blue sweater.



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