There are traditionalists who starve themselves all day to demonstrate their devotion to their spouses on Karvachauth. And then there are those who cash in on the tradition that became a cowbelt obsession overnight after being promoted in the insanely popular serials produced by the self-professed champion of Indian values, kEkta kKapoor.
While kKapoor’s noble attempts to empower women were limited to theirs ambitious vying for the titles of Ms kKchauth, Ms Best Traditional Costume first runner-up, Ms Bridal Make-up second runner-up in her serials, tradition-touting cosmetic centres are going a step ahead by offering women a chance to look better at discounted prices.
Unhappy with women simply starving themselves on such an important day — I was told women can’t even have chewing gum (that you don’t swallow) or have diet coke (that has no calories) — cosmetic centres insist every woman must look like Botox Barbie to keep up with the Mses Joneses at the moonlit terrace party. All of last week cellphones across north India pinged with texts from cosmetic centres offering major discounts on very painful-sounding beauty treatments that gave the “lucky ladies an opportunity to be beautiful for the most important day of their married life”. I guess these “lucky ladies” still have the option of looking like a bag lady on every other day of the year.
The best one perhaps was a Delhi surgeon offering to cosmetically pucker up women’s lips to make them look perfect not just for kKchauth but for also for their wedding day, which was mysteriously also refereed to as a woman’s “D-day”, the term historically used for the day the Nazis invaded Normandy and since then, for a day on which a military attack is being initiated. Perhaps the surgeon’s experience with marriage has been more combative than for the rest of us.
Then there’s a major Delhi hospital peddling the case of an Afghan who’s got a facelift to improve his prospects of getting a younger bride. The 61-year-old father of three got his wrinkles removed, his facial fat drained and skin tightened in a five hour surgery. The hospital claimed it was a great kKchauth story about a man’s love for his wife. Frankly, I didn’t quite see the connection because his wife was dead and he was in the market for another one. Please do email if you can spot the spousal fidelity overtones. I certainly can’t.
I got five more texts from beauty clinics that offered makeovers, including facelifts and nosejobs (rhinoplasty), all of which I found a little strange because these are surgeries and involve some cutting and bruising, signs of which take a couple of weeks to disappear. Perhaps they also throw in a make-up package to cover the redness, or perhaps they were sure the scars wouldn’t show up in smoggy moonlight. I didn’t ask, so now I’ll never know.
Then, of course, there were Botox and fillers on offer to plump up the skin and fill up creases. Of all the treatments offered, these are perhaps the only ones that could be done a week before the day you want a photo-finish.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting a surgeon to sculpt your face, just as there’s nothing wrong in letting it be the way it is. It’s your call, only you should choose what makes you feel good about yourself.
What bugs me is cosmetic centres using events with an emotive connect to pimp treatments that are not wanted or needed. Sure, get your cheekbones sculpted and your crow’s feet filled out, but do it when you want it done, and when you’re told it’s de rigueur for whatever event means a lot to you. Cost and pain apart, getting a botox shot is a bit like chewing gum — you can do it whenever you want to, except when you’re in school.