I have been curbing a strong tendency to invest in a ‘good’ (read ‘expensive’) anti-aging cream for quite sometime now. Because now I’m wrinkly. Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little. Or a lot. But I do feel so,so wrinkly. The six strands of gray hair suddenly cropping up on my scalp have added to my feeling.
There is a big one in my forehead, running through and through. It didn’t always cover this much ground on my face. When I was in my mid-twenties, I woke up from a bad dream to find it had taken up residence there overnight. This phenomenon occurred from time to time, but would be gone within a few hours and I would not see it again for months. Then one fine day, probably when I hit my twenty-ninth year, the little ghost made my forehead its permanent abode. It was as though someone had put a knife on my forehead and hacked into it. And all of a sudden, my sweet young face turned into a rugged crevasse of geriatric life.
I let my mind wander to a world of possibilities to kill the demon. The most appealing one was – botox! I called my dermatologist friend who spearheads a leading beauty house. She was very enthusiastic about it. But then disaster struck. I went to watch the movie ‘English Vinglish’ where a post-menopausal Sridevi grimaced (which I later learnt was a smile!) whenever anything humorous came up. I learnt that she took botox which made expressions either comic or too perfect! Now, who wants a persona with all the humanity of the stone-faced dark statue below the Ganeshguri flyover?
Inspired by a few inspiring books and movies, I decided to “be the change I want to see” (rather, more appropriate will be “to accept the reality that I was growing old.”). I told myself that my wrinkle houses every experience I have ever had. It is my autobiography. Inside that line on my skin lives every pain and every joy I have ever felt. That line is the gallons of tears I have shed. It houses every palm-sweating, limb-shaking fear I have felt. It represents the places where smiles have been. It symbolizes the joy of being alive and the miles of laughter which came right from my belly at the stupid jokes of some long forgotten friend. It reminds me of the little girl whose light was extinguished, whose flame was blown out by the violation of her body at the hands of strangers. It stands for the happiness that flows through my veins when wishes were fulfilled, and spills out through smiles so wide they seem like sunshine. It is every time I pushed harder, fought my own resistance, my fears, threw myself outside my comfort zone, and stood up when everyone believed I had fallen for good.
My wrinkle is the sorrow of my soul at the opportunities gone (though there are not many!) and the insanity of my addictions (not necessarily alcoholic or narcotic!).
Hence, I have decided to flaunt my wrinkle, and my gray hairs. Maybe I am trying hard to prove that I am not driven by vanity or insecurity about superficial narcissism. Wrinkles tell me that I have lived, not just existed. They add complexity and interest to my otherwise mundane facial landscape without me having to invest in expensive make-up kits! Or maybe I am to thrifty to invest in make-up kits for the subtly made up sophisticated look..
So, if you notice my forehead starting to get wrinkly, I just hope you notice they are relatively insignificant compared to the wrinkles in my unironed dress, which is of more concern, socially speaking.
After all, some great man had remarked, “Wrinkles are not imperfections: they are reflections.”