It started in February, as a persistent patch of dry skin around my eyes, when I was in Bangalore. Either the people in Bangalore are polite, or it didn't look so gruesome then. Or I usually circulated in badly-lit spaces in Bangalore.
The weather and an irresistible tendency to bother the affected area only made it worse. One day in mid-March, I couldn't dance because I awoke with one eye sealed shut under a swollen eyelid. I even went out with pustules on my face and concerned people offered advice on how I could soothe the affected area with banana peel and lemon rind and cat whiskers and lizard dung. The area around my eyes turned dark and scaly and I spent hours looking at my eyes in the mirror and coming to terms with my geriatric face.
My sister kept saying it looked like someone had given me a black eye. In desperation, I even dabbed concealer on the marks on a few occasions. Then I promptly felt miserable and washed it off.
I even resorted to blaming it on fate and destiny, reminding myself that I had to deal with SOMETHING since I've never ever dealt with a pimple outbreak, even when all my classmates were busy adding to the coffers of acne cream manufacturers.
Before you tell me how dog hair works best in such cases, I did visit a doctor who prescribed a course of smelly ointments which I faithfully slathered on my face. After a while, the scarring was minimal and I could look at myself in the mirror without making it implode. But, public memory is never short. Especially in the cosmetic recollections department. My melanin had moved on, but people hadn't. There were one or two people who found themselves moved to tears whenever they cast their eyes on my pitiable visage. They considered it their solemn duty to stare at my face and say, "Oh, what happened to you? Those marks are still there. Are you doing anything about it? Do you want to go to the doctor who treats my cows?" No, I don't.
Then there were the suspicious ones. Some thought it was malnutrition. Another woman looked at me with relish, expecting confidential revelations of domestic abuse. That day, I was already dazed, so before I knew it, my mouth was saying, "Yes, I got injured." I said that partly because I didn't want to launch into the history of my condition. She smiled knowingly. I wanted to give her a black eye.
Blotch is better, but is still around. Love me, love my blotch. But don't give me advice. Otherwise I will put hydrocortisone in your coffee.