It's not just a number

It's not just a number

Anybody who tells you that age is just a number is either a nimble teen, or a man who doesn’t need to look young as he is efficient and/wealthy enough to do well in life. For everybody else, age is a very important number. I recently learnt this essential life lesson. Here’s how:

All I wanted to do was buy a face wash. I walked into a department store, knowing exactly what I was looking for: the brand, the skin type, the price. But the salesgirl at the store knew better. “What’s your age, ma’am?” she asked, cheerfully. “How does it matter?” I responded, after the initial stun, trying to appear cheerful.

Turns out, that’s all that matters. As women, we need to worry about ageing in our 20s, only then do we have some hope in our 30s or 40s. Every decade of life for the female of the human species has a new set of beauty worries. Doesn’t matter if you are not a model, actor or someone trying to make a living out of looking good. You are a woman, you need to look good. So says the erstwhile Bollywood hottie, trying to make a comeback in the movies; another young actress juggling theatre, writing and movies. Haven’t you watched those ads on TV?

It’s a fight against ageing. And you have new-age technology on your side. So, be woman enough and face the challenge. Don’t you make excuses for those wrinkles and fine lines. They are signs of your laziness and incompetence. How could you let them show on your face?

It doesn’t matter if you work 10 hours a day, or you have two kids to manage at home, or both. Beauty is your duty. A thing of beauty, as a wise poet wrote eons ago, is a joy forever. And beauty, as we all know, belongs to the youth. So, for the joy of humanity, you need to look beautiful. That is, young. Is it too much to ask for?

You don’t expect the men to take up that responsibility, too, do you? They are already stepping into new frontiers — the kitchen, the kids’ room, and of course, slogging to bring in the moolah. The least you can do, ladies, is bring in a little joy. Before you think this is another one of those selfless acts that the world expects of women, let me tell you that there’s something in it for you as well.

As a radiant actor shares in one of those ads, when you look good, you feel good, and that’s what makes all the difference. Good, of course, is used as a synonym for young. And it’s so easy. Buy bottles of those magic potions that promise to make you blemish-free, fairer and lovelier, as they wipe away all the ugly signs of your stay on this earth. It’s a service to womankind. Turning every woman into her best beautiful self.

See, it’s a win-win situation. Everybody is happy — the world (‘thing of beauty’ factor), the women (‘look good, feel good’ factor), the cosmetic industry (money factor). So, why wouldn’t any woman in her right senses be delighted at being recommended an anti-ageing cream at a department store by a well-meaning, cheerful salesgirl? Beats me!

Maybe she is offended that someone suggested she needs an anti-ageing cream (clearly, she wasn’t paying attention to those ads). Maybe she doesn’t have the money to splurge on such beauty basics (obviously, she has no idea about the huge returns on this investment). Maybe she doesn’t mind looking her age (oh god, she needs help).

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