Hola handsome hunks and dashing dames!
Guess the title and greeting gives away my topic for the day – beauty treatments.
Correction. Beauty treatments AND Indians, with special emphasis on males. (I’ve always been partial to you guys, right?!!)
A female cousin once told me she uses Dove (a brand of soap) on the face, and another cheaper soap on the body. Why? Because Dove is expensive! (I don’t use Dove; makes my skin dry, despite models in the ad claiming it’s better than any alkaline soap.)
For those who find my cousin’s conduct weird and hard to believe, let me tell you, most Indians preserve and use their possessions sparingly. They believe in saving for a rainy day and being prepared for tough times. A classic example : squeezing the toothpaste tube until the last ounce is out. (There are those that squeeze far beyond this point – the said category includes my mum and bro).
Well, I know what my cousin does (or used to, she’s now married to a well-to-do guy so I don’t think she’d rue over expenses much) is a tad extreme, but true nevertheless! Remember I told you about this condom ad on a music channel where the Indian habit of covering everything is aptly employed? Well, the message there was different, but the point is the same. Hail Hindustani!
Back to beauty therapies.The market is flooded with a range of cosmetics, and classifications are based on body part (skin, face, hair, etc), its type (dry, oily, dark), and also gender (male and female, no other option). I initially thought guys are least concerned about their daily looks as femme fatales spend ages in the bathroom and in front of the mirror. However, I soon learnt that the masculine gender is better addressed as metrosexuals these days. Men gladly reach out for their scrubs and packs, lotions and gels. I mean whoever thought “Fair and Handsome” would sell?!
(For that matter even Shehnaz Hussain products selling is a surprise to me; but then, the world is made up of all kindsa people.)
Beauty parlors were a woman’s domain, and now you need to check whether a given salon is for men, women or unisex. (Remember how Saif is spruced up in Kal Ho Na Ho with the womenfolk mollycoddling him?) Hell, even perfumes and apparels are common for the sexes. (I actually think women wearing male shirts and kurtas at home is cute. Sshhh! Our little secret!)
Be it facials or waxing, bleach or manicure, men have forsaken their rugged, crude exteriors and happily adopted a beauty conscious outlook. Immaculately groomed, nice-smelling, formally-attired men need to do little to be passed off as dapper gentlemen. (You bet we women are elated about that!! Who wants ugly, dirty and shabby companions?! Not me, for sure.)
(I’m not sure where this post is heading, but I wish to express all my opinions and observations on the said topic. Please bear with me.)
I have often heard adolescent boys say that they’d do anything for facial and body hair. Watched Rockford? How the guys shave their smooth cheeks so they’d start getting beards? It’s not far from the truth, and all you men know that. (I believe Anil “Bhaaluu” Kapoor could be their teen idol.)
And then there are the adults who consider it a pain to shave even alternate days. Ask us women! What a tremendous hassle it is to wax, thread and shave our entire bodies right from the eyebrows to the legs. (I remember Sarikadi told me about this medical condition where one loses all body hair. And she also slipped in a word about how lucky people are, when this state affects under the neck!! WOW!)
I know a Mr. X (name withheld to protect identity) who’s obsessed with his appearance. Don’t ask me how I know, but the first thing he does when he gets out of bed in the morning is look at the mirror and comb his (thinning) hair, which is also the last thing he does before he gets into bed. He religiously colors his hair almost every week, and applies all sorts of creams and lotions that he can set eyes on - even sunscreen at night!
But well, nothing to be ashamed of! If you don’t care how you look, nobody will bother to look at you. Antara Mali gets one in Main Madhuri Dikshit Banna Chahti Hoon (IMHO, what she desperately needs to transform is the thing she carries on her shoulders, as well as her voice and style. Ugh... repulsive!)
(IMHO is in my honest opinion; didn't know that eh, silly billy?!!)
Of course there could be other reasons like Shahrukh in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, and Shilpa Shetty (watta gorgeous and charming dame!) in Main Khiladi Tu Anadi. (Psst! I read in the Mirror that she cut her pretty tresses for some movie, which was denied permission to shoot in China.)
Hey, how can you forget yours truly?!! I got a makeover, too, when I did my stint in modeling. This was way back in junior college, when tired of hearing about my good height and features, I decided to listen to Nike (“Just Do It”). I joined Bunty-Prashant’s modeling workshop, religiously attended lessons and got a portfolio made. A then upcoming-now famous local boutique provided the apparel and accessories, and whoosh! A diva emerged.
Check the Pune Times editions in the year 2003-2005, and you’ll come across my picture almost every month. It was super exciting! (Not for my parents unfortunately, coz their friends and acquaintances stirred their Marwari roots.) Still remember my very first snap, hogging an impressive 3/4th of the front page of PT... Permed hair, cool glares, sexy outfit, attitude in every inch... Everywhere I went, people were murmuring – “Is she the PT cover girl? Is she really Anuja??” Yes, buddies. It was. It is. It shall always be. The ugly duckling has become the elegant swan...
The swan needs to go back... The pond’s calling...
How time has flown! Speaking to you guys takes away my stress. I just forget there’s other things to do!
You stay beautiful, as much within as outside. (Just a smile, if nothing else!)