the stuff dreams, advertisements, and dreams in advertisements
are made of. You are sitting at a café sipping latte
and the next thing you know is, you are being approached by
one of the most renowned mavericks of the ad world who asks
you to model for him in a forthcoming television commercial!
know me, don't you?" I haven't been asked a more brazenly
narcissistic question in my life!
think I know your hair," I said without hesitation, without
a trace of lie, and without glancing at his lice-infested
(I'd bet my entire free life on this one) grotty, ragamuffin,
sloppily entangled locks.
see? That's what I'll do with you. People around the subcontinent
will know you for one of your assets…". Oops! "Be
discreet please, old man. What if the others hear this?"
I prayed silently. Music as it was to my ears, I hoped he
wouldn't offer me products like the unmentionables…!
But who knows, these creative blokes rarely mean what they
think the Devil read my mind and quickly assured me that they
were shooting for a cream commercial, and thought I fitted
the bill. He said he would disclose the name of the brand
to me later. The offer was made, and the deal sealed and signed
amid empty coffee mugs and messy scatterings of half gobbled
brownies (that he devoured. I was too dazed to think beyond
seeing myself on TV, anyways). We shook hands and he tottered
out chanting "Oh! What a find. What a find." At
least he could have offered to pay. No wonder they make pot
loads of money.
the next few days of unmitigated, undying euphoria until the
red-lettered day dawned, and I saw myself faced with the flash
of a million watts of white lights. While what I was asked
to do was pretty basic, and was wrapped up in a couple neat
shots, I was sure it had been possible only because I had
successfully got under the skin of the character. At times
you may have been a pro all your life without having known
it. I went home armed with the balmiest of self-esteems a
human can aspire to.
came when I took The Hubby to the pre-launch screening of
the commercial at the agency office and made sure I occupied
the best seats available. Which isn't saying much because
the near-dark room was swarming with several other men and
women, who looked like aspiring models to me (you can tell
from the fleeting uncertainties in their eyes), perhaps waiting
for a chance of their life time to be cast in a commercial
by this ad genius. I told them all how Lady Luck had sauntered
in smiling up to my coffee table. The Hubby dug his head into
his chest lamenting he was ashamed to be seen with me, and
suggested I shut up. I thought he was being unnecessarily
harsh upon himself. This way or the other, he would have to
get used to my new status.
five commercials for different products. I could sense murmurs
among the crouching figures in the dark each time a new face
lit up the screen. Faces, jingles, brands went as quickly
as they came, and I was still waiting for myself to stare
back at the audience from up there. The one ad which had a
familiar backdrop had the model sitting next to The Hubby
gasping for some essentials the moment she spotted herself
perched up on the wall.
wait a minute," every single atom in my incensed body
wanted to scream out loud, "wasn't that girl in the peach
dress supposed to have been me? This is fraud!" Was I
insane ranting out aloud to a deaf room, because no one seemed
to have noticed anyway.
was busy congratulating the belles around him when I clutched
his hands and dragged him out of there.
Wifey? You changed your mind at the last minute and built
up such a suspense around it? You're great!" My moist
eyes and numb senses couldn't discern a hint of betrayal or
mockery there, but then, I may have been wrong.
stopped at the exit by that dandy dab hand I could have throttled
if I could see anything at all. "Leaving so early? Why
don't you join us for cocktails?", and then turning to
The Hubby he said in the most charming manner, "don't
you agree your wife has immense talent? What a performance!
I'm taking her again the next time we need the close up shot
of the fore-arm…just the complexion we were looking
for! Well done. And now if you'll excuse me, …"
So that is what it was? They had shot just my fore-arm? And
that b***h (excuse me for this gross remissness to all norms
of decency, but I was seething then, as I am now) had lent
her dolled up expression-less face where rightfully I should
have been seen?
is when it dawned upon me. The culprit was not this flamboyant
ad guru, but rather lay back home somewhere in a
damp corner of my bathroom. The Fairness Cream, but of course!
straight forward story goes like this. Few weeks ago, a friend
visited us with a complementary box of assorted toiletries.
While most of the items would find a use in my house, I didn't
know what to do with the fairness cream. Not because the mirror
has only superlatives to sing in my honour, but because I
am, in principle, against the very nature of the product.
While the argument of the opposite camp is not lost upon me,
you can't blame me for having my own reservations.
in one of those bouts of extreme stinginess, I refused to
replenish my pack of body lotion, and started using up this
blessed fairness cream instead on my arms (just on my arms,
mind you). The rest, as you just read, is a case of mistaken
sense of quasi-megalomania with a disastrous twist in the
of the story: Apply a cream only where it is meant to be used.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004