Pink bottles, red tubes, blue gels, white crystals, and sparkling sprays – they invade shop-shelves, and then lay siege on our bathroom shelves. They promise rose-petal suppleness, wrinkle-free liveliness, nourished firmness and so many more adjectives! Most woman fall prey to these, hopefully applying layers of the magic potion, in a never-known-before discipline. Some show actual results (not necessarily positive), while some have a psychological impact.
After spending a good amount of money on pretty-shaped, exquisitely-labeled, fancy-designed bottles, you can have the satisfaction of knowing that you are pampering yourself with the best and the latest. The satisfaction can translate into a happy glow on your face. I do not dispute the worth (or the not-so-much worth) of these magic potions, but I do contemplate on our societies obsession with baby-soft, pinkish-white, golden-glow skin.
The obsession extends to other aspects of our countenance – shiny-black hair, not-a-single-gray, soft-lustrous locks, bouncy-curls, so on and so forth. I am a customer, too, of these concoctions that promise to turn me into a gossamer elf. But often, as I apply my night-repair, anti-wrinkle cream, and purchase coffee colored hair colors, I recall a very significant off-hand remark that a friend made while we were having lunch at a Tibetan restaurant, in Connaught Place.
We were served by charming young women, with pleasing manners and the most flawless milky-white complexions. Needless, to say the men in our group could not stop ogling. I would not blame them, the women were very attractive. I also commented that these Tibetan women, rather most South East Asian women had unblemished skin.
An observant friend from the group pointed to a middle-aged Tibetan woman sitting at the cash-counter. She too was beautiful but her face was heavily wrinkled. He said these women have beautiful skin because they are lively, energetic, hard working and have a rich diet. But they are fair (less-melanin that is prortective) and the sun and the vagaries of nature usually take a toll on their radiant faces. Wrinkles settle-in, sometimes as early as in their mid-30s. And then my friend slowly said, “It is then that these women look truly beautiful. They still remain supple and sprightly, but their faces display intense character and strength.”
I looked at the woman at the cash counter and was touched by her calm demeanor, warm motherly aura and wise wrinkled look. Her face spoke of years of patient hard labor and it was evident that no crèmes or gels could erase the etchings of time and hard work. Her skin was marked forever, and marked magnificently.
I have the same feeling about salt-and-pepper hair. I have never found a man more endearing in looks than Richard Gere, or even Pranav Roy, with snow on his neatly trimmed beard. I am absolutely in love with Nafisa Ali’s “aging gracefully” look. This makes me think that if I can appreciate the lines and the grays on another person, then why I fall prey to advertisements that promise to make me Cinderella, overnight! Maybe its time to bid adieu to the bottles that line my bathroom shelf and spend some time with myself, rather than on myself.