Harnaaz Sandhu of India crowned Miss Universe hardly makes me jubilant. India is a big, big, colossal market and they just know what buttons to push to tap into the resources here, to my reckoning. A series of women have won the Miss World and Miss Universe title from India who have all subsequently become Bollywood heroines chugging the beaten track. So that kind of makes me sick that a fellow Indian must win the title now that can later become her passport to stardom. In fact I was told of this news by a pretty filipino girl in a medical clinic last morning. She congratulated me as if it was I who had won the beauty pageant! She said, Indian girls are beautiful. I was kind of embarrassed. I said, Indian women were beautiful and brainy and she smiled nodding her head. She got her third shot and I had to reschedule my appointment.
After Aishwarya Rai and Sushmitha Sen won the Miss world and Miss universe titles the same year in the early ’90s, it became even more easy for the multinationals to gain access into Indian consumer markets. Up until then, we Indian ladies hardly used to groom so readily. Overnight, every little girl seemed to want to become the next Ash which was kind of insane. I was pretty worried like, what was happening to my country.
Girls in my country today are spending too much on chemical skin and hair care and garish make-up that looks cheap and vulgar on them. The painted faces are like a cruel joke. How can we even try to impersonate the models on catwalk or the Hollywood belles. We just cannot and do not become them. We don’t have to. My friend who was visiting the US told me how she spotted the top models in Miami. Nobody gave a damn! It is the young women in India who are shamelessly mimicking the celluloid stars. The Miss India universe crown is only going to precipitate the matter. A good chunk of our women’s earned income these days is spent on personal grooming. Self care is undeniably important, one has to feel good and even best about oneself. Of course we have to live it up, but never like this! But the obsession of our young ladies with the beauty business is going out of hands. It is totally fake.
Indian govt has to keep a vigil over the cosmetics imported into the country. Most beauty salons in India also use products that are prohibited in many foreign countries. For instance, formaldehyde used in hair straightening in India is proved toxic and directly linked to cancer. Beauty products in India also are sold/used in parlours after the expiry date.
In my experience I have seen that the girls who are engrossed with their academic or career accomplishments hardly pay attention to these trivialities. This kind of beauty business is extremely distracting. I was shocked to see a five year old girl don the lipstick recently. She was already choosy about her clothes, colours and boots. I found that to be extremely unhealthy. Boys of the same age play more and hardly give attention to physical grooming. May be the boys may ask for shoes or denim, but more than that, I have not come across Indian boys of similar age express interest in grooming the way our girls do. Where is the flaw? Does it lie in parenting or with the way our society is evolving. Are we promoting wrong values in our children unconsciously. When as women we seek equality in everything, why do we want to raise our daughters preoccupied with grooming?
To me, self confidence stems from self assurance that we are enough. We need not have to rely on a tube of concocted paste and lip filler and bleach to present to the world a version of us that we are not. A decent cleanup or maintenance keeping with times must do. Anything more than that points to a psychological disorder sorry!
Feeling beautiful inside out comes from maturity and life experiences, something that cannot be bought over for a price.
A friend of mine was recently saying that to distract her teen daughter from grooming, she was advising her to take MPC (math physics chemistry) stream in higher secondary school because, art or commerce could leave the girl with a lot of time in her hands that she may use for banal purposes. Someone with a very balanced outlook on life making this observation is like an eyeopener to the scene we have presently in India.
It is nice to wear good clothes, change your hairstyle once a while, overhaul to look different or take care to be presentable, but all this can be done with a little dignity, without us having to look like B or C grade film artiste. Why should we have to draw our strengths from creams and lotions. There has to be an element of reality in whatever we do. We cannot stay in denial forever of who we are originally. It is time to wash and cleanse off our faces to unearth the raw and natural beauty beneath our skin.
Meanwhile I am waiting for the list of multinationals waiting for their chance to enter India anytime now, if they haven’t already. They just needed this stroke to be played out. With our new Femina Miss India Universe, their prospects look brightest.