My ever-glowing skin is only my second-best feature. The first one is my endless capacity to be the best daughter/wife/mother/employee/entrepreneur/sportswoman.
I know it sounds ludicrous, but I’m a normal, 25 to 35-year-old woman, working multiple jobs and raising two kids (a daughter and a son) while putting a sister through school and still managing to cook, clean, and look after a husband and his parents, all with a smile on my face. I don’t remember anything of my life before this or how I got here. But I sure seem to have all the answers that can be solved with a detergent, an appliance, or a cosmetic.
Who needs a backstory when you can have an automatic front load washing machine that can remove even the most stubborn stains?
I am a modern Indian woman, and you can tell that by the fact that I’m working in most of the commercials. In fact, I have many jobs. From giving excellent presentations (despite my initial nervousness that I overcame by wearing delicate, work-friendly diamond earrings) to reporting on the field wearing white pants during my periods, I don many hats. Only figuratively though, since my beautiful, long hair must always blow in the wind to show how carefree and spontaneous I am.
You might ask how I manage to balance so many jobs with my home life. And like any other working woman, I’d tell you that it’s possible to do anything if you have the right partner – the latest pressure cooker that cuts cooking time in half, so I can spend more time helping my kids with homework while simultaneously preparing a 5-course meal.
Speaking of cooking and food, many of you have shared your concerns about my thin frame. Let me assure you that just because I look underweight in the commercial, it doesn’t mean that I am. Haven’t you heard? The camera subtracts 10 pounds.
I am on a healthy diet of carbonated drinks and an assortment of sugary treats, which I always end up making a mess of while eating.
No matter what anyone says, my body is exactly like that of an average Indian woman in her prime ﹘ impossibly thin, hairless, wrinkle-free, and spotless, with gravity-defying breasts.
And it has been this way since I started using the best body oil there is. It reduced all my ugly marks, toned my body, fixed my marriage, and made my skin
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I wasn’t always this way. Anybody who’s been watching television over the last two decades will tell you that things used to be different back then. I was way busier bathing under waterfalls, having passive-aggressive tiffs with my mother-in-law, or getting rescued by whichever Bollywood actor’s film was releasing next.
So much has changed in these 20 years.
Ads are different now. Now, you can see me bathe in the safety of my private bathroom, which has state-of-the-art fittings and a shower head that changes colour. And instead of getting rescued, I set the goons straight with a strongly-worded monologue, thus ending misogyny. Fighting with my mother-in-law is a thing of the past. Now, we bond by colouring each other’s hair with ammonia-free hair colour that gives full coverage and zero damage. Sometimes, we make chai and pakoras together and chat away while watching the sunset.
Many of you might not guess it, but I am a symbol of empowerment. I mean, I’m not like those other angry, confrontational type feminists. I’m more of a fight-with-the-power-of-love type feminist, as long as that love is for the oppressor and not the marginalised. I fight against the patriarchy by trying twice as hard to get my father’s approval. To express my anger, I dance vigorously in abandoned warehouses, dressed in comfortable but stylish athleisure for women who have something to prove but don’t want sweaty pits while proving it.
Only last week, I was a great role model for all womankind. I played cricket, while my husband ran into the field, dancing and celebrating my victory, the same way I did for him almost 30 years ago. Surely, the best way to represent how far women have come is to reboot an old idea and swap genders. So what if the original concept loses all meaning?
At least it brings on a wave of sweet nostalgia and screams, “Look, a woman is playing a sport.” Hence, it must be progressive. Right?
Because if it’s not progressive, then I am nothing but a tool in the commodification of the feminist cause, rendering all ‘woke’ messaging within these ads devoid of any meaning. Because if it’s not empowering, then I am here only to fill a quota, to please the algorithm, to find a place amidst trending topics and keywords. Because if my presence doesn’t have any meaning, then I am just selling a drink, a refrigerator, or a car.
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