Metrocity’s beauties giving Lower Bazaar Damsels complexes in Simla of the Sixties

Metrocity’s beauties giving Lower Bazaar Damsels complexes in Simla of the Sixties

Delhi for us, the humble beings, the daughters of the lesser gods, remained a big enigma….still is.

Anything from Delhi would be so much in awe of as was not Delhi the capital of India…with Lal Kila, Kutub Minar and what not. All those places and events we could never be a part of though having learnt a lot about from our books.. Even the shop Delhi stores displaying cardigans, sweaters etc., just opposite to the Jagdish Trunk House in the Lower Bazaar, would generate a sense of admiration in my little heart.
With such an awe inspirung feeling for Delhi, one can well imagine the flutters of my heart when girls from Delhi would come to spend summer vacation at the summer capital of the British….our Simla. And in our own neighbourhood or around it. As none of our relatives lived anywhere beyond solan so any one from Delhi would arouse a sense of envy in my heart. Why couldn’t we have someone of our relatives live in Delhi?
But alteast visitors rom Delhi alighting in our mohalla be it in someone else’s home, would elicit the same happiness mixed with a lot of jealousy. I remember all burfee left indelible impression on my mind. One was Rosy….the name itself was so beautiful especially when compared to my banal and poor in taste name Kalo. How I would hate my name when Rosy would come to Simla to stay with the Sood family the next door. She was of our age and we all were in very early teens and she seemed so elite to us, the rustic damsels of the lower Bazaar.
Perhaps it was my elder sister’s rosy cheeks that made the Rosy from Delhi ask us, “do you apply mask on you face?” The dumb expressions on our faces made her irritated and she continued in a mocking voice, “for cleaning your skin?”.

For us the the word mask meant nothing more than a few ferociaus face masks with holes for eyes, nose,and mouth, that we had seen hanging from a general store, near Kangra Hotel in the Lower Bazaar, dealing in dresses, masks and rope like artificial black hair for Ramleela actors. We had no idea about “face masks” then and the real deceptive masks that people put on their faces all the time is even today, unreadable to me.

With a wry smile she jeered at us and gave a knowing tilt of head as if saying, ” you good-for-nothing” Simla Damsels of Lower Bazaar!!!!” We huddled close to her to get prasad of the gospel truth about “face masks” for cleaning the skin pores down to their roots. Thise days readymade packs of “face masks” were unheard of, especially in our kind of locality…..though cannot say anything about the damsels of the famous Mall. Knowing our limitations the Know-all girl from Delhi provided us much sought after gyan for beautification, ” take a little of masoor daal, disk in water, preferably milk and turn it into a paste, and apply a layer on your face,” the gyan that Rosy continued sharing with us was, “wash your face with cold water once the mask dries up and see the glowing skin you will have!” For me it was nothing less then the way to salvation…but how to make the paste was the million dollar question. We had no knowledge about electric grinders and the Sill batta that Amma used for grinding dry masalas had red pepper dust, all the time on it. I looking jealously at Rosy’s cheeks….they were ordinaryather a close examination of her face revealed some miniscule holes to my scrutinizing eyes. I wondered had she in her overzealousness cleaned the pores of her skin a bit more than required to have those holes…

With no scope for grinding the masoor daal paste as no one in the entire neighborhood had electric grinder, Sill-batta and Kundi-danda rejected for obvious reasons, the girl from Delhi had snother plan to beautify the dull skins of damsels of Lower Bazaar, “Why don’t you apply simple besan mixed with malai?” Now this beauty recipe was well within our means and I would get a little besan (Gramflour) in my palms, mix it with malai and put it on my thin face’ ….rubbling it off when dry and wash my face with cold water. And the most appropriate space for our “beauty parlour” would be a secluded corner of a rooftop, away from the medding elders, especially my Amma.Though Amma thought all the while that I was eating away the malai from the milk pateela but it was going skin deep to give be rosy cheeks!!!!,

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