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     Volume 4 Issue 28 | January 7, 2005 |

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Slice of Life

I Believe?

Richa Jha

My friends will see two changes in me this year. One, I have become a believer. The best I could manage to convince my otherwise cynic self was to start by believing in something, say, brand tag lines. After all, millions are spent every day around the globe creating fancy (if somewhat bizarre ones, at times) slogans. Having known the penniless (and stingy) breed of brand managers from close quarters, the least I can do is to be sure they will not be pumping their money into the ad agency coffers if they didn't personally believe in what they said. Two, and as an extension of the first resolution, I have decided to turn brand conscious. That still doesn't mean I'll shell out a fortune buying the Godzilla price-tagged Levi's jeans in place of an equally comfortable export surplus denim picked up from Hawker's Market, but it does mean that I'll try and correctly associate the brands with their tag lines and logos. So I'll no longer think that the Nike swoosh belongs more appropriately on a Teacher's whisky bottle.

Armed with this new belief that the marketers are there to pamper me with the elixir for wellness, I walked into the supermarket to buy myself the basic toiletries. For the first time in my life, I spent time choosing the ones I thought suit my temperament and personality. To give you an idea, here's what I picked up in the trolley:

*Striped toothpaste that gives you the confidence to do the Axe Effect (saving pennies there, these marketers, you see? As consumers, they assume you know what the 'axe effect' is. It doesn't go with my personality, but wanted to try it for a lark.)

*Shower gel that soothes tired, aching muscles, creating a relaxed and calm feeling throughout your body through the day. (The sticker on the container showed a cactus and a canary. To tell you the truth, I didn't see why either should be there on a soap bottle, or how the two could possibly be linked, but in the larger scheme of things of the brand manager and the advertising agency, these seemingly unconnected things would certainly have made sense. I cringed at the thought of the cactus caressing my skin, but picked it up all the same. You have to have faith in your belief….)

*Clear Mountain Spring Fresh Fruit Shampoo: 'A clear shampoo for natural shine, swing and fragrance with fresh lemon and orange zest for treating your hair' (and using as the basic ingredients for lemon soufflé, in case of a crisis). 'Made with mountain spring water. Enjoy the aromas of cool sea air each time you use this.' (And you thought only humans have an identity crisis.)

*Hair conditioner that invigorates and rejuvenates because it 'Revitalises the scalp with eucalyptus and peppermint. Adds shine with lavender and geranium.'

*Luxury Aromatherapy Body Lotion: 'Botanical extracts of magnolia create a relaxing aura as this moisture-rich lotion is smoothed onto the skin. Use regularly for improved resilience and elasticity.' (The Hubby said this should be food for my mood instead, but I ignored it.)

Here's what I didn't:
*Anti-aging body gel that gives you back the skin you had as a foetus.

*Scintillating toothpaste that makes you want to dance on your car roof.

*Winter cream that makes you beat Venus at the next beauty contest.
*Beauty soap that makes you answer intelligently at beauty contests.
*Sun Screen lotion that makes day night for you.
*Super bounce and length enriched shampoo that makes sure your beau trails you like your shadow.

Since I would be turning over a new leaf, this morning I took time getting ready. What's the use of bathing with a calming and soothing gel if you are rushing against time, throwing a fit at how the clock seems to be working at thrice its normal speed? Even as I gently worked up the shampoo into a rich lather, I could feel the forgotten zing back in my life. Even before the moisturiser bottle had been opened, I felt I had attained nirvana. By the time I came out of the bath, I felt it was a new radiant me gliding on the secure belief of self-assurance. This was life! To think that I had wasted all these years…

When I finally stepped out of the room, a walking botanical park, I strutted into the lounge where The Hubby was reading a magazine and stood expectantly before him. Nothing happened. I cleared my throat and stood there again, thinking perhaps the blob of tooth gel on my toothbrush had been a bit too little for the magnet to take 'effect'. Again, nothing happened. Where were the electric sparks that were meant to spring from the tube? I had three options before me: I could, maybe, move closer to him and open my mouth wide for the charm to take effect; I could go brush my teeth a second time; or simply ignore this fiasco and move on with life. I decided on this last and most practical option. After all, no brand promises cent percent efficacy; even contraceptive pills factor in that .05 % chance of lapse.

Or was it the effect of the soothing bath gel that was countering the efficacy of the tooth gel? Or was the zesty orange shampoo up against the resilience-enhancing body lotion? I ran back to the bathroom and read through the descriptions again. The resurgent cynic in me mocked that having used them all together, I may have inflicted the most contradictory assault on my nervous system that it has ever been subjected to.

But just then, my eyes fell on the after-shave The Hubby has been using these days. It read 'For the real man. Nothing can touch you again.' So my belief stays put, strong and kicking. Next time, I have decided to pick up the other set of toiletries…yes, the ones that'll make me a beauty queen.

Thank goodness I didn't wear that perfume that seduces.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2004