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Knife-side story

fashion-and-trends Updated: Oct 04, 2007 16:12 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Messages from the media, and consequently, from somewhere within ourselves always remind us that we should hold on to and maintain those ‘youthful good looks’ and work at keeping a trimfigure. This notion particularly affects women of all ages.

Gradually, a growing number of teenagers too started getting conscious of their looks. “I wish I didn’t have so many scars on my face,” “I hate my nose,” these are typical statements you would expect to hear from a teenager examining her face in the mirror.

Cosmetic surgery is no more the domain of stars and celebrities. Even college-going kids are seriously considering it as a means of enhancing their looks.. these girls are now turning to cosmetic surgery to address their
woes.

Starting young
It’s the never-ending bombardment of airbrushed, vacuous celebrities in glossy magazines that’s inculcated them with extreme notions of beauty at such a young age.

Dr Jagdish Shah, a cosmetic acupuncturist has been attached to a suburban hospital for 30 years. He says there’s an increase in the trend of college students opting for cosmetic surgery. “Girls and boys, even as young as 16 come to me for surgeries. Girls opt for upliftment or enhancement while boys want to remove facial scars and acne.. this is known as grinding of the face.”

Aashi Menon, a college-going student, is seriously considering a nose job.. she wants to take up an acting career. “I feel I’m at a disadvantage because my nose is disproportionate compared to the rest of my face.”

Potential husband
While Aashi is still weighing her options, Akanksha Bhatt, a recent graduate from a South Mumbai college, had a collagen injection in her lips. “I had really thin lips.. I felt I looked more like a stern schoolteacher than the extrovert, fun-loving person that I am. I want to become a model.. I knewI had to achieve that perfect pout.”

Job motivation is the main reason for people to undergo these surgeries, explains Dr Shah. “Girls who want to become air-hostesses and who’ve been rejected because of a facial scar, opt for surgery. Nothing can deter them in their quest for a job.”

Sometimes, it’s not just professional aspirations but also the need to look beautiful for a potential husband that drives women under the knife. Natasha Dalmia is a 26-year-old professional. Her parents are planning an arranged marriage for her. She knows that her looks will be a major deciding factor.

Extreme situations
Natasha reasons, “I can make that first impact on my prospective husband with my looks.. he will not be able to gauge my personality at first sight. Everything else is secondary,” she reasons. Natasha is scheduled to undergo rhinoplasty soon. Of course, there can be extreme situations too. Mrs K Shah recalls the case of her 12-year-old overweight neighbour. He underwent liposuction with the consent of his parents: “I was shocked.. the boy was too young. When I asked his parents why they’d done such a thing, they said they’d tried everything but nothing worked. So this was their last resort. They did not want their child to face ridicule in school for being chubby.”

Men too are increasingly opting for surgery to improve their looks. Research proves that teenage guys too are open to the idea of enhancing their looks. Guys in the age group of 16-21 agreed that probably they would choose cosmetic surgery to enhance their looks if their prospective jobs required it. One guy even went to the extent of saying that although cosmetic surgery cost a bomb, it was worth every rupee.

Beauty.. not health
Dr Shah expresses his concern over the attitude of these youngsters. “It’s not physical health but beauty that counts. It disturbs me to see this total disregard for health.. girls smoke to stay slim.” Another trend that reiterates Dr. Shah’s point is that boys pump iron and take steroids to build up a good body. The doctor adds, “This may be the only way for some people to ensure a job in the fiercely competitive professional world.. but one must always be careful of the side-effects and blunders that can occur during the process.” He winds up with, “Sometimes, changing one’s style of speaking, dressing up differently, covering up their flaws with makeup and ensuring a healthy lifestyle might just do the trick.”

(All names except, Dr Jagdish Shah, have been changed to protect identities)