‘And the next time you dress up’ by Shruti Shukla

Dress up for someone
who doesn’t show up, or couldn’t.

Come back, take a stroll
in your empty apartment, tiptoe around
in those shimmery grey stilettos;
they will hurt more now.

Pick your phone, click a selfie
and in between the three seconds
that the timer takes, comprehend:
you won’t send it.

Sit, still fully dressed, tiara to toe
scroll through your contact list
try to find a name that will take your mind off
stop at his and put the phone away.

Get up, ponder upon what to do next.
Then walk towards the mirror
to feign the comfort of some company
and look at yourself the way you should be seen.

Dinner has lightened the gloss on your lips,
smudgy on the ends now. Blush has merged
with the colour of your cheeks. Mascara has stiffened
making the lashes match the stern in your eyes.

Your make-up is less glistening and more natural.
Admire how you have done up yourself today
and what it has done to you.
Find yourself beautiful—

Not just pretty, nowhere near perfect
but pleasing to the eyes, your own.
Don’t hesitate to believe this,
not one single bit, never again.


It’s warm and wonderful when you wish to give your best look to someone who is dear to you, but that shouldn’t be the only aim. The purpose of getting dolled up is to feel good about oneself, to feel fresh and alive.

Before you seek appreciation from others, do your bit right and enough. Believe that you are beautiful in whichever way you like to define the word and keep reminding yourself; you are likely to forget this every once in a while. And the next time you look in the mirror, really look.

Feel beautiful and then radiate the feeling around you!

Poet’s Bio: Shruti Shukla, a creative writing graduate from the University of Sheffield, lives in Mumbai India. A literature enthusiast, Shruti finds great comfort in writing poetry and short fiction. She has contributed to several websites and creative writing journals like New Asian Writing, FilterCopy, Wingword Short Story and Poetry, Route 57, and Delhi Poetry Slam. She also likes exploring her writing skills in different fields, and has been involved in working for media and digital marketing sectors for the last 3 years. You can read more of her writings on her blog Something Smalltown.

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