Time and again, over the past eight months, I have stared at the line-up of lipsticks lying redundant on my dresser. As I run my fingers nostalgically over those prized lipsticks, I cannot hold back the sigh that escapes my bare lips. I wonder if my pinks and reds will dry up before they expire! I wonder when Covid will let up and women can go back to wearing the one cosmetic they all love. Yes, the beloved lipstick!
Just then I happened to click on a WhatsApp message. The video of an old song from Shrimatiji — Lipstick lagane wale, Dil ko jalane wale/ Ab chulha jala rahe hain!
I laughed till my eyes watered into the mask that sat smug over my nose. My mind went into overdrive as I think of the nose having always been the organ that signified pride and ego! There are people who always have their noses up in the air or the nosy parkers who stick their noses into what doesn’t concern them, or those who are choosy and screw up their noses at the drop of a hat. There are those who always keep their noses powdered and others who could cut off their nose to spite their faces. And, of course, those who get a nose job done to enhance their looks!
The nose has always stood stark naked. But Covid has forced it to go undercover. Covid has forced us women to pack up our lipsticks and send our noses into hiding.
Covid has affected our lives such that no one can look the other way and say that we don’t care as it’s no skin off our noses. Now we have to have a nose for safe distancing and stop nosing around.
Masks have captured the better part of our faces. They seem to be getting fancier by the day, as fashion designers are vying to design the best. I remember seeing someone wearing a fancy white mask embellished with pearls and another trimmed with delicate lace. I recall seeing another interesting mask on Karwa Chauth. It was made of red satin with a nose ring and a chain sown on it! The saving grace is that these fancy masks are at least not tagged ‘Made in China’. What liberation! Nahin to humari naak kat jaati! We are finally able to see further than the end of our nose and have realised that all along China has led us by the nose and we have paid through it, for it.
Putting away my lipsticks and donning my simple cotton mask, I burst out laughing as I hear this song playing on TV — Rukh se zara naqaab utha do, mere huzoor. Jalwa phir ek baar dikha do mere huzoor...
Awaiting eagerly the death of the mask and the resurrection of the red lipstick! The world lives on hope!
PS: I strongly recommend listening to that crazy lipstick song from the black-and-white era on YouTube.
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