I am at the beauty parlour, lying on the facial table in a skimpy strappy slip kind of thing, hair scrunched up, face plastered with a face pack and trying to hold down my dress, when the pretty young Manipuri girl paints my foot with bleach. She says something to the other pretty young girl checking my face pack and then they giggle. I can’t see them. I don’t understand the language but I feel overwhelmingly confident that they’re talking about me.
I wonder if she’s talking about my under-arm hair or my unkempt feet.
I feel this way every time I am at the beauty parlour. I feel they’re talking about me.
I understand Hindi but I don’t usually reveal that I do. I imagine it must be shocking when I finally say “Mujhe Hindi Maloom Hai” (I know Hindi) and they realize they’ve been rude and I understood all the while. I have as a result been commented on and ended up too shocked to deliver my Hindi dialogue and would just leave.
Then there are these parlours I avoid going to, where I go in for a cheap face clean-up (the no-frills facial) and the stylist takes a long look at me and shrieks – “dark circles, spots, tanned skin, dry hair, split ends, cracked foot, aged, fat, lazy, cynical. You need to get the oxy-moronic-whitening-anti-ageing facial plus the anti-frizz hair-spa and the chocolate pedicure.” I look at the prices and at the mirror and then at the prices. I can’t totally disagree with her. I cannot agree with her. I try to take the middle path, I say I’ll take the facial one above the basic clean-up and I promise to cleanse and moisturize every-day. She tries to push her 3000 rupee shampoo on to me. I say “Not now, maybe next time” hoping she’ll stop.
After 30 odd years, I’ve just come to terms with my non-straight wavy hair and my mildly dark (not too dark) complexion. I am Indian. I accept that I’ll never be fair skinned and I won’t have ‘hanging curtain’ like straight hair. I am ok now. Don’t mess up my head, lady.
Long ago when I was still single, my mother made a face pack for me after I complained that I was getting too tanned. She had read about it in a Tamil magazine. I forget its name. It is simple. It has just 2 ingredients to it – Orange peel and Fenugreek seeds. I love this face pack – because it is DIY and because it works like a charm. I always feel my face looks clearer and brighter after I use it. Jagan however doesn’t see the difference.
Yeah, I am ok with my mildly dark skin. But in order to keep my mildly dark skin from getting extra dark, I take measures.
This face pack is super simple to make. Just dry the heck out of the orange peel and then grind the two to a fine powder. The orange peel needs to be almost brittle-dry. So you may need to dry them out for a couple of weeks in the hot sun. I collect orange peel over several weeks. During this period, I am watchful, always on the lookout for orange eating folks, ready to catch the peel they’re about to toss. I like to make a big batch, so I get it ground at the flour mill near my home. You could grind it at home too just that the powder may not be that fine though. Sieve it if you’re particular about that.
Mix a tablespoon or two in some milk or yogurt or plain water to make a thick paste and apply to face and neck. Leave it on to dry. Watch T.V or read. When the pack is completely dry – half an hour maybe, wash with water. Pat dry. Is that better than the oxy-moronic-whitening face pack?
- Fresh Orange peel - 5 cups tightly packed
- Fenugreek seeds - 100 gm
- 1. Dry orange peel in hot sun for 2 weeks or until the peel is brittle-dry.
- 2. Dry the fenugreek seeds for a day.
- 3. Grind the dried peel and fenugreek seeds together to a fine powder. Store in air-tight jars.
- 3. Mix 1-2 tbsp of the face pack powder in 2-3 tbsp of milk to a smooth paste. Apply on face and neck and let dry completely - about 20 to 30 minutes. Wash face with cold water and pat dry. Beautiful!