Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The agony of glamour

Waiting in the lobby of an eye clinic in Mumbai, I saw a couple of young ladies look around, as though searching for someone. One of them saw me, and walked towards be briskly, with a broad smile as if she knew me all her life. Needless to say, I was confused, and sure that she had mistaken me for someone else. She sat down next to me and said, not exactly for me alone to hear, “Hello aunteeeey”

Hello, I said, with that aloofness that we reserve for this variety of our species, for, by then I had realized that she was marketing something and prowling around that clinic looking for a prey. She had THAT smile. You know the smile that doesn’t reach the eyes which, in turn, betray a certain anxiety laced with craftiness.

She sat down beside me, looked at my face with a beatific expression and said “Aunty, you must have been an extremely beautiful lady when you were young”.

I was thoroughly embarrassed ‘cos no one had ever told me that when I was young. But then I remembered that people used to remark that my mother must have been very beautiful when she was young, though the dark haired younger mother I remembered was not half as beautiful as the platinum blonde fair skinned picture of dignity she presented in her immaculate white chatta and mundu, in her seventies. But what little confidence I got from this fleeting thought vanished when I saw my husband who was sitting next to me trying hard to suppress a smile.

My expression must have frozen ‘cos I saw a little worry creep into that girl’s eyes. It made her louder and more effusive. “Don’t you want to look that beautiful again, aunteeeeey?” was her next question. I looked furtively at my husband whose head was twisted at an alarmingly dangerous angle – you know like you see in those spooky vampire films where the head sometimes takes a three sixty turn. I wanted to hit this girl on her head. Instead, I said stiffly. “Am quiet happy as I am” with what I thought and hoped would be a gracious tone.

Then came the next salvo. “Aaaunty (a little shrill, falling intonation), you must have looked like Rakhee in your good old days”. Oh God! I threw a quick glance around to see if anyone was listening. I had already noticed that my husband’s head was fixed at a one eighty degrees and I could see only the back of his distinguished head. A few women of my age group sitting across were openly laughing.

I decided to be rude. “Listen”, I told her. “I’ve come to get my eyes checked. Please, I’m not interested”

“But aunteeeeeee”, the tenacious young leech crooned. “You know how Hema Malini looks at this age? You think it is natural? No, aunty, no no. It’s botox”

“No botox for me”, I said curtly.

“Oh come on aunty, you just listen to me and you can be beautiful once again. There are a lot of misconceptions about botox”, she said pulling out a brochure from her back pack.

Thankfully, my name was announced by the doctor’s receptionist and I fled.

What brought this incident to my mind was a news item that appeared prominently in the Yahoo home page. Angelina Jolie, the media suspects, has done a procedure to tighten her throat muscles! There are two tell tale raw marks behind the ears which should confirm that she has done the ribbon lift, the latest plastic surgery craze in Hollywood, costing 4000 pounds. Poor lady, how much of effort, planning and strategy she must have had to put into it to have this done away from the gaze of the public and paparazzi. It must be terrible, this torture of always being in the glare of publicity, particularly when your profession demands that you make those occasional visits to the plastic surgeon to maintain the youthful looks. And after that to have prying cameras trying to get a shot of those surgery marks behind the ears!

My friend goes to a gymn where she runs into some top Bollywood beauties and machos. She told me something which made me feel sorry for them. They were so thin – and without the designer clothes or designer no clothes, and the genius of a camera man to project them in a glamourous light, they looked almost abnormal with huge heads, she said. No trainer or machine can reduce the size of the human head, and so the head remains the same normal size while the body struggles to achieve the size zero. My friend was wondering what the size zero Kareena Kapoor would look like if these ladies are still a long way off that target.

Guess it’s no easy job, being an actress. The torture they have to put themselves through to remain in the race! Or do they enjoy it? They must, or they wouldn’t put themselves through the rigours of achieving 5’5’ height with a 48 Kg weight proportion. I wonder if they realize what it feels like to be in a profession which affords you the luxury of being able to say “No” to botox.

Sour grapes, said my cousin, when I shared this thought with her.


  1. Oh my- I so did love this post!! I've often thought of this & also feel sorry for those who can't just 'be' who they are.

  2. to graceful ageing...cheers!
    on my recent visit to Kerala I met my aunts in their late 60's looking elegantly old...there beauty in their pure white locks and lined faces

  3. You have young ladies like Heidi Montag in America (who was already pretty) who did 10 different platic surgeries in one day in the quest to achieve beauty and the perfect face/body which I think made her uglier and ruined her face. I think a good majority of people who go with the surgeries have insecurity issues. If you are not happy on the inside , you will never be happy no matter how you look on the outside.

  4. lol...that was hilarious...would have certainly been dead embarrassing 4 u though! :)

  5. Interesting post.But then,the same way they reduce,there are tricks to augment the parts they want to.You can be 5 ft10 and 48 kgs,still keep a coveted 36-28 ratio. Implants are still used maximum and half the things u see are probably not natural. They are all ' Handle with Care' stuff.Plastic surgeons across the world amass money and thrive on this.It is good to have such mentally derailed women who let the doctors drain them of their easily made wealth.I dont sympathise them.Ultimately, u cant fight age.It is a losing battle,and finally many of these stars become addicts or mental wrecks. They dont deserve much sympathy.
    We dont have to go to Europe and US for these types.Men are no exception.Half the actors we see are all wearing wigs which make them look like clowns.They try to fight their age by choosing the youngest girls in the industry,and are not ashamed to run around the trees like in kintergarten.But our men appear a bit more careful in that they wont part with a penny they make.At least, they dont have these Super Duper and Mega stars in Hollywood.We dont enjoy them,we suffer them !

  6. i've read few other blogs on the same/similar topic. 'Agony' is subjective as much as the 'beauty'.

    there are many who think that threading eyebrows is painful, waxing is painful..all to look beautiful. we are taking off the natural brows and creating artificial defined curves..

    some thoughts..

  7. don't worry - if not rakhee, tanuja is always there...but seriously, these things esp botox fixes are so commonplace now & equally dangerous..

  8. Well said... glad that some of us can afford to be just us..... and maybe even miss an eye brow threading....

    nd I dont think it is sour grapes...because there is never an end to these "fixes" if one is obsessed with external beauty...


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