Sunday, August 9, 2009

THE CASE OF THE MISSING EYEBROWS


Growing up in the 1970s and early 80s meant that I regarded women with impossibly thin, plucked and arched eyebrows to be the epitome of style and glamour. I would often spend hours looking at myself in the mirror, turning this way and that, dissatisfied with the thick, dark pair of eyebrows nature had given me. I would frown fiercely at my reflection, and wish I could change myself here, or there, and this included my beetle-brows.

Being eleven years or thereabouts, a visit to the beauty parlour was absolutely out of the question. And if there were any tweezers in the house, I was not able to put my hands on them. But determination and ingenuity led me to a solution. Not really a happy one, though.

One day, I filched a jar of hair-removing cream (one of those foul-smelling Anne French depilatory-concoctions), carelessly left on the bathroom shelf by Didia (my elder cousin). I had seen enough ads on television to know how to use it. Or so I thought.

Taking a bit on the spatula, I carefully applied it in a line to the lower portion of my eyebrows. Then, after waiting impatiently for the requisite ten minutes (as stipulated on the label of the jar), I used a rather grubby hanky to wipe off the nasty-smelling goop.

Only thing was, the cream had spread somewhat from its intended destination, and I ended up wiping off a large part of my eyebrows. I stared in horror at the mirror, and a pair of uneven, thin-to-the-point-of-disappearing eyebrows reflected accusingly back at me.

But the damage was done. While no roving talent-scouting photographer spotted me (or ‘discovered’ me as the next super-model, much to my secret dispappointment), my cousins and friends mercilessly ragged and quizzed me about my emaciated eyebrows. But being stubborn (and miserably shell-shocked at my new alien-from-Star-Trek-look), I never revealed how exactly I managed to uproot my bountiful harvest of brows.


To her credit, my immensely wise and reasonable Ma (mother) did not force me to confess, merely raising her own (plentiful) brows and consoling me, “Don’t worry, they’ll soon grow back.”

And so they did, of course. But after I had to spend ten days looking like a perpetually-astonished plucked chicken. And enduring utter ‘alien’-ation and secret guilt. All of which gave me a lifelong determination not to tamper too much with nature.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SUCH COSMETIC MIS-ADVENTURES TO SHARE?

21 comments:

Debabrata said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

I wish I was a woman.

Kavi said...

Cosmetic misadventures !

I yearned to shave. I have had many misadventures in growing a beard and altering its course etc etc !

Until one fine morning, it all got too much. And from then on, theres a clean slate on the face.

And theres one another clean plate developing in the head ! So much for adventure !

ZB said...

yes, i was this boy-who-wanted-to-be-a -man-ASAP, and when i was in 8-9th, i decided to shave my almost invisible and transparent beard and mustache using my Papa's shaving kit without his permissions.

I still have the scar on my left cheek. I shaved a large portion of the cheek skin and the bathroom floor tiles which usually appeared white, turned a shade of hemoglobin.

More than than, it was the embarrassment to have been caught doing a naive-dumb act. Nice post, bought back memories. How much fun is growing up, Indeed. SIGH:)))

seana said...

Well, it's probably wrong of me to share my sister's, but since none of my own spring to mind...

Funny--it's about eyebrows too. In our family though, the eyebrows tend to run on the too light side, rather than the too heavy. My sister was getting married, and decided to have her eyebrows dyed in honor of the day. Unfortunately, they came out extremely dark, especially on the first day, so that she ended up looking like the queen of the vampires, at least in her own estimation. Unfortunately, that was also the day that she was to meet some of her new in-laws for the very first time. Good thing it was L.A., so there wasn't thunder and lightning when she opened the door and greeted her guests.

Nona said...

:)

Aparna said...

The first time I read this post I laughed so much that I was unable to comment. So here I am again.
I kept imagining you with one eye brow missing completely. What a disaster!
Fortunately I never had any such fashion faux pas, except once when I decided straighten my hair, it looked so awful that I sat at home for 7 days. And I am not telling how much I paid for that look either.

Swaram said...

Oops! Though i hd nt tried any such thing, my sis hd tried some similar stuff by trimming her eyebrows with dad's razor n my li'l cousin hd applied ink on here lips!!!!!!!

Koel said...

I have an eye-brow memory too, not mine but one of my friends in hostel. I am strictly restraining myself by not providing any details about her but only the incident :-)

We were in college, and many of us were into regular threading. This friend of mine, I believe was too tied up to visit the parlour,for some time and her eyebrows needed a trim. So she tried the tweezers instead. After her first attempt, one eyebrow was thicker than other, so she tried to trim the thicker one, till that became the thinner of the two. This continued in multiple iterations till she was left of hardly a shadow of her eyebrows !!! The tragedy was due to the fact that she could not manage to perfectly balance both the brows during her tweezer-armed misadventure :-) ...She had a difficult time for around a week till her brows grew back, but perpetually became a subject of our teasing !!! Even after so many years, this memory brought out a smile.....

Sakshi said...

I couldn't stop my laughter reading your post. Star Trek Alien look...ROFL! I don't remember if I had any such incidents...hmmm..honestly can't think of anything right now. But yeah I know something that happened to one of my cousin brothers (they are a treasure trove full of memories for me)

I think my cousin brother was 12 and I was 11 years old at that time. He was the only boy in our family who was not tall. So his all time fantasy was to grow up and look mature as soon as possible by hook or crook. Well he did the mistake of telling this to me and we plotted. I told him the only solution was to grow a moustache. Now the guy didn't have even a hair root under his nose. We stole (we were kids ok) one of our aunt's hair lotions which said helps in growing hair. I applied half a bottle of it above his lips because we wanted moustache pretty fast. In a few second my brother was screaming in pain as the damn thing was burning his skin and later he was left with a Hanuman kind of face for 5 days. It seems my aunt had replaced the empty bottle with some kind of weird bleach solution for the bathroom!

Aleta said...

I had to laugh. At least it made for a good story now. It's easy to smile at the past, isn't it? I love these posts by you!

For me ~ when I was a little girl, before the 2nd grade and still very much into Barbie dolls.. I had a pair of scissors. I cut the Barbie dolls hair and Mom was upset with me, saying, "Barbie doesn't grow her hair back like people do."

You can imagine what happened? I cut my bangs. Mom was horrified and very upset. She tried her best to straighten my bangs - all this happened right before I had to take school pictures.

Now, I could tell you about Mom. She can't see, so sometimes she'll pick up the wrong make-up item. One time she came home with RED eyebrows, because she used the lipstick liner instead of the eye brow pencil.

And Mom loves, loves, loves shoes. She'll slip them on and not think to look down. One time she had the same style shoe in black and white. She didn't realize she was wearing one black shoe on the right foot and one white shoe on the left foot!

Those things happened during the school year and the kids thought she was cool. Lol.

Miss M said...

I only wish that I had gotten my hands some hair removing cream at a very early age!

Thanks to my really hairy ancestors, I looked like I had recently evolved from a monkey! Like I was a 'late-bloomer' or something! Sheesh.

Rajesh said...

While trimming the mustache, I ended up with Charlie Chaplin. Then I had to remove all of it.

seana said...

Boy, this one is stirring up a lot of memories, isn't it?

I'm just posting back in to say that all this talk of eyebrow removal led me to dream about it last night! A woman who was apparently revamping me a bit asked me if I wanted thick eyebrows or thin. I replied "I'd like something low maintenance."

After reading a few more of these comments, I think I was wiser than I knew...

Jyothi said...

Reading your posts always makes me feel like I am not alone in this world.And this one's no different.

I tried one such stunt too. My sisters were allowed to get their eyebrows shaped and I used to be so jealous. So once I used my dad's razer to try and shape it. Frightened as I was doing it, someone banged on the door, so my hands just went up and I ended up shaving a part of my hair from where now I apply sindoor. A good chunk of it too..It took its own time to grow... I had a hard time hiding it from school and friends with side parting and stuff. Not to mention the eyebrow that went bad too. There was a cartoon character back then, I forget the name, my sister used to call me that for months after that...It was a blocked memory..thanks for reminding me about it. :-)

Sumandebray said...

I know a guy who did exactly the same thing to get his newly growing moustache removed.Which left a permanent bald patch in his face.
Well... thats the version he gave us. Not sure if there was anything else behind the scene!!

Santanu Sinha Chaudhuri said...

You have a rare gift of being honest about and laughing at yourself! I wish I had these qualities.

Your story also says something about your mother. Very few moms would respond the way she did. She could look beyond the apparent transgression and understand the psyche of an adolescent child. You are fortunate to have a mother like her!

A wonderful post.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Thanks everybody, for sharing those teeange-embarassments. I guess with women it was eyebrows, and with men it was moustaches (excess or deficit).

The Weekend Blogger said...

This must have been in 1990 when the "Rahul Roy in Ashiquii" look was the rage. One of my friends had her hair cut in that style but was angst ridden about the hair on her neck which in her opinion spoilt the look. I got hold of a bottle of Annie French and cleaned up the menace for her and a little more. Needless to add, she was banned from entering the classroom till her looks became "normal" !

Another time, when I was in class 7 and wanted to have brown hair, someone told me that the deisred results would be obtained if I applied coffee on my head and left it there for the night. I leave the outcome to your imagination !

The Weekend Blogger said...

This must have been in 1990 when the "Rahul Roy in Ashiquii" look was the rage. One of my friends had her hair cut in that style but was angst ridden about the hair on her neck which in her opinion spoilt the look. I got hold of a bottle of Annie French and cleaned up the menace for her and a little more. Needless to add, she was banned from entering the classroom till her looks became "normal" !

Another time, when I was in class 7 and wanted to have brown hair, someone told me that the deisred results would be obtained if I applied coffee on my head and left it there for the night. I leave the outcome to your imagination !

The Weekend Blogger said...

This must have been in 1990 when the "Rahul Roy in Ashiquii" look was the rage. One of my friends had her hair cut in that style but was angst ridden about the hair on her neck which in her opinion spoilt the look. I got hold of a bottle of Annie French and cleaned up the menace for her and a little more. Needless to add, she was banned from entering the classroom till her looks became "normal" !

Another time, when I was in class 7 and wanted to have brown hair, someone told me that the deisred results would be obtained if I applied coffee on my head and left it there for the night. I leave the outcome to your imagination !