Many faces of life

I felt a tinge of sadness for the young girl who had transformed into a weary woman.

I looked at her picture long and hard, as I had done many times earlier. Born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth, she looked elegant. Why wouldn’t she? She had money, the most important thing in life to many.

Money to buy designer clothes, to splurge in parlours, to shop for the latest and expensive cosmetics and to hire an army of assistants and PRs to ensure that she looked her best every minute. No wonder, she was the darling of paparazzi and appeared regularly on media, print and visual.

Most of her colleagues in the entertainment industry praised her sense of fashion and fashionistas called her an icon. Her movies portrayed her in the best of light, focusing on her apparel and enhanced her not-so-beautiful features through professional make-up artistes. That’s the new term, “make-up” artistes, not makeup men/women. These people can give a complete makeover to anyone and make them look glamorous and ravishing, of course at a price.

I looked into the mirror shortly afterwards. All I could see was a time-ravaged face, lines formed from fighting life’s vicissitudes, struggling to maintain balan­ce at work and family, crow’s feet and tanned skin as there was no time for be­auty treatments. I felt a tinge of sadness for the young girl who had transformed into a weary woman over the years.

I resented the burdens and responsibilities which bogged me down, I grud­ged the time workplace demanded from me. I could have been free, taking care of myself and looking at least as good as, if not better than the fashion icon. If only I had time to apply foundation, blush and mascara and style my hair in a number of ways, rather than hurriedly running a comb through my tassels and dabbing a bit of moisturiser in a hurry! If only I could arrange my wardrobe neatly and get a suitable attire for the day without stressing rather than grabbing the first dress I could lay my hands on!

It was getting late; I had a large number of things to be done and couldn’t afford to wallow in self-pity. As I manoeuvred the vehicle through heavy traffic, I saw her and abruptly applied brakes. “Hey, Reena, how are you and what are you doing here? Where do you stay?” I shot off a volley of questions unmindful of the angry honks behind me. She was, after all, an old acquaintance whom I hadn’t seen for nearly five years.

She gently guided me to the side of the road and explained how she had lost her father in a tragic accident and had to take care of her two siblings and mother, who was still in deep shock, and about how she had abandoned her training for a beauty pageant and a modelling career. She looked at least 10 years older than her real age. “I feel sad for you!” I blurted. “Please don’t. I am very happy caring for the people who matter,” she replied before disappearing into the traffic.

I looked at the huge poster on the road side, featuring the icon, the women in the mirror and started my vehicle, my mind chastened and clear.

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