Out of Bounds


My new friends have given me a wonderful meal to welcome me to India, and now insist on buying me whatever I want.

The day continues fantastic, Trishna has mehndi done on her hands by a guy on the street, Angela buys an absurd straw hat and wears it for the rest of the day, we all try on ridiculous wigs.

We’re getting tired, but something’s missing. We meet Megan, who says she’s trying to decide whether or not to have her nose pierced. She barely gets the words out of her mouth when Trishna takes me by the chin and turns my face, scrutinizing my nose. “It would look great on you! Look, Shalvi, wouldn’t a stud in her nose look fantastic?” They don’t take long to convince me, and Trishna is so taken with the idea that she offers to pay for all of it.

They know where to take me. The shopkeeper gives me a selection of studs to choose from, together we choose the little white stone. With a file he sharpens it, pulls out a bottle of rum and disinfects my nose. I’m sitting there with his fingers in my nose, waiting for the moment of pain, when I realize it’s already done. I look at myself in the mirror and I have a little sparkly thing in my nose! What a fantastic sensation, finally a bit of healthy rebellion.

We return tired but satisfied, put on our new clothes, and sprawl in front of Pulp Fiction on my laptop. I don’t know how, but both Trishna and I managed to fall asleep in front of Pulp Fiction.

MomComm: We the parents resisted all sorts of piercing ideas for years, managing to ride out the Italian fad for pierced navels, eyebrows, etc. – much to Ross’ disgust at the time. On the whole, I’m happy she ended up with a pierced nose instead – it looks cute.

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