Cosm(et)ic Invasion !
The door bell rang on a windy winter afternoon. Still deeply engrossed in the book in my hand, I opened the door to a young girl of college-going age, apparently on a survey – cum – sales promotion.
“Good noon, Ma’am! Which facial cream do you use?” She fired her first query. No preamble, no introduction of herself or her company.
“None, I don’t use anything,” Still entangled in the plots of the novel, I blurted out the truth.
The vast array of fast fleeting expressions that my answer brought to the opposite face really shook me and jolted me out of my trance. Wonder, shocked surprise, disbelief and ultimately, incredulity; each replaced the other in a rapid succession. I am sure even a seasoned Thespian couldn’t have managed such fete in his best performance.
“Nothing??!! You mean absolutely nothing? Even in this winter season?” I was about to offer some support, in case she fainted of shock. But after all, she seemed to have been made of sterner stuff.
“No,” I replied, then added, “I don’t need any. You see, I have got an oily skin.” But it made me feel mad at myself. Why should I give any explanation? So what even if it happened to be the truth, where was the need for me to give justifications?
Not to be outdone so easily, she offered solution for my every objection.
“Oily skin? No problem, Ma’am. This cream won’t make you look oily at all.”
“But …. I don’t need anything.” I tried to stand my ground, “I’ve never used anything and I don’t want to start now—”
“If you try our product just once, Ma’am, you’ll never stop using it!” This said with an unshakable confidence any promise-giving, pre-election politician would envy.
“No, no….but….you see..” I groped around blindly for something — anything.
“Oh, take my word Ma’am, you can’t imagine how different you’d feel once you use this regularly,” This could be my Granny telling me how her medicine would be good for me. “And within months you’ll see the transformation. Your husband won’t recognise you, so young you’ll look!”
Young? Of course! Wasn’t I the doddering ancient relic with countless wrinkles? (At that time I was around thirty)
But in the first place, if I belonged to such bygone era, then what was the need to resurrect me from my fossil form? And the bit about my husband not recognising me, well, wouldn’t that be the Prime Dangerous reason NOT to use such transforming magic potion? It took all my might to stick to my rejections.
Even then she tried her best with the tenacity of a true sales person, entire conversation conducted with an irritatingly patronising – or was that sarcastic? – smirk fixed on her face.
“It can be used as a fairness cream, too,” She persisted. I am sure this wasn’t said taking my skin-colour into consideration, at least I consoled myself so.