Monday, November 30, 2009

A SOAP OPERA

The other day I was looking at some communication for Yardley Soaps, and I was struck by the irony of the quaint, ye-olde-English nineteeth-century Yardley brand being bought over by the tech-hep 21st century Wipro. But then, big-business reality is often stranger than soap-opera fiction.

I tried to recall the soaps which we used as children. Lux is still very much around, although, the stars endorsing it have changed from Hema Malini to Aishwarya, with even a Shahrukh Khan in a rose-filled bathtub (shudder!!) in between. But I prefer a gracefully-ageing Hema to a nauseously-simpering SRK any day.
Liril is a soap which has fared better, I feel, and its lemony zingy appeal is quite fresh, especially during the long, sweaty summer. Even Cinthol’s deo-range, despite the masculine magnetism of Hrithik Roshan, does not compare.

But Rexona has disappeared. While the standard pink Lux was the staple soap in our home, the green Rexona regularly graced the soapdish in my Mamabaris (mother’s maternal home) bathroom. It was a very ordinary soap, leaving the skin woefully dry in winter, but I have fond memories of Rexona just because of the Mamabari-connect.

In summer, when sweat, itching and prickly heat attacked, Maa would sometimes get the green medicinal Margo neem soap. And though the bubbles would taste bitter if they somehow entered my mouth, Margo enjoyed a sanctified status as a "GOOD SOAP WHICH CLEANSED AND CURED", so we never complained.

My especial favourite were Lavender Dew and Mysore Sandal, because they were special-occasion soaps bought during festive-seasons and suchlike. And because they had such lovely lingering fragrances. Lavender Dew, delicately mauve-coloured, smelling of gentle lavender, is now only a faint memory, but Mysore Sandal, with the more aggressive, exotic sandal-scent is still available, enduring where the former has evaporated.

There was the big and spherical Moti, which looked like a monster-pearl and which always slipped out of my grasp when I was a small girl. But it was a costly affair and lasted a very long time, which is probably why my Chhotopishi (father’s sister) seemed to favour it.

Winters, of course, were for glycerine soaps – the pure and tranparent Pears for the more affluent homes, and the murkier Chasme Glycerin for modest homes like ours.

And now, although I love my Dove and my Nivea and other post-thirty necessities, sometimes I wish I could get back those lavender and sandal days when the skin was younger and the soap seemed gentler.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE CHILDHOOD SOAP?

18 comments:

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Lifebuoy hai jaha tandurusti hai waha

♥ Braja said...

I love Mysore sandalwood, but does Lavender Dew really smell like lavender? I haven't seen that one...I love lavender :))

Kavi said...

I wonder if you are aware of Cutticura and Chandrika !

they were tall in the south !

:)

Rajesh said...

We have changed so many soaps over the year, I am finding it difficult to remember what I used as a kid. I was mostly Medimix, Liril.

niveditha said...

We never sticked to one soap in particular,must have tried soo many that looked attractive on commercials.Chandrika's smell still lingers..

幾天 said...

...................................................

G said...

Does anyone remember Doy soap? It was available in various animal shapes. I loved the lion one best.
And then the special Diwali bath is associated to Moti Sandal soap. :D

Also, as a puberty hit teenager with fear of pimples, the Margo neem soap was used. :D

Gyanban said...

Pears would be fascinating for it s transparency but taking a batch in cold water would give it a different meaning altogether.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Pears any day. Associated with bathing from a choubaccha

J.A.P.

Calvy said...

nostalgic post:)
loved it!

Lifebuoy!

http://calvy.wordpress.com

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lopamudra said...

Pears was staple in winter but I experimented a lot with soaps in summer but Liril was always the favorite.I remember my Mom using Camay.Margo was also a great favorite in our home.It was shaped like a brick then,later they smoothed out the edges and made it smaller.I remember my first Dove soap which I used only for my face.It became very mushy after one use and I reverted back to Pears.Now, when I use liquid soap I really don't get the same thrill.Its more like drinking mango juice instead of biting on a juicy ripe mango!Go bar soap!(the old ones).

Aleta said...

What an interesting blog post! I never would have thought to write about soap and memories. To be honest, though, I don't have much to contribute, because I don't recall the soaps and I don't have a favorite one. Whatever is on sale is what I'll buy. Isn't that awful?

seana said...

I have a hard time remembering the actual soaps we used at home, but I certainly remember the commercials. Some of them seem a bit ludicrous in retrospect--Lava, which was marketed to the manly man needing soap that was gritty enough to get all that manly dirt out, and Irish Spring. I don't remember who it was marketed to, but I do remember some very sunny stereotypes of Ireland being part of the packaging.

I know that one soap we used was Ivory, which I still use quite often, even though its marketing image makes it sound somehow 'purer' than other soaps, which can hardly be true.

Oh, and there was one called Lifebuoy which was very popular, though I can't remember who its audience was supposed to be--sailors? Surfers? People who can't swim?

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Thanks for whipping up a lather of soapy memories.

SloganMurugan said...

Mysore sandal!

Well, I grew up in Bangalore, close to where it is made too!

OfficeTips said...

I requested for a trio of Moti soaps in flavours of Rose, Sandalwood and Khus-Khus for my
10th birthday. Though it was pretty expensive, my father did gift it to me. That I precisely remember all 3 varieties of the soap till this day goes to prove how special and magical the gift was to me as child.

lady said...

Chandrika, Lyril, Mysore Sandal and the slippery Moti Sandal! :D