“Vanity, thy name is Woman”. Shakespeare could well be misquoted to denote the vanity case that women tote around, filled with stuff that men wouldn’t be caught dead carrying! My Vanity [case] was unique as it carried various stages of my life within its folds!
The Blushing Bride: When I got engaged, the first thing I received from Mom was a green VIP suitcase for my brand new saris, along with a smart little matching vanity case, which excited me no end. Never having used any cosmetics earlier, I went ballistic, filling the case up with every cream, powder and foundation under the sun. Hubby-to-be waited for my transformation into a swan, but every day I would appear, either looking like a pale faced wraith or an unnaturally red faced apparition. Finally, the cosmetics made their way into the waste paper basket, but the ‘Vanity’ remained [pun intended]!
The Young Mum: My daughter’s arrival was an event in itself, and romance and flowers went out of the window only to be replaced by nappies and milk bottles. The Vanity now smelt heavenly, filled as it was with Johnson’s baby soap, powder and oil. Ear buds, cotton wool balls and bibs all vied for space with gripe water and exact doses of syrups – anything for a good night’s sleep!
Off to School: All too soon that stage was over, and my daughter began school, [that hallowed place that eats up pencils, erasers and sharpeners], a stuffed satchel on her back and rosy dreams of having a fun gang of her own. The Vanity took on itself the task of preserving hair clips and red ribbons, accompanied by clean white handkerchiefs, school ties and errant badges, rubber bands and tiny earrings. One could delve into its depths and come up with a felt pen, a note from a teacher, a pocket diary or even a soggy toffee or chocolate. All these kept company with my lone kajal stick and half a dozen lipsticks.
The Terrible Teens: Where the fairy clips and the colourful hair bands disappeared, I never did know. Our little Miss had grown up, and how! In came the torn jeans with stone washed shirts, cool sporty shoes and requests for a tattoo! No more frills and flounces, she declared, as she walked around in T Shirts in the most basic shades- blue, grey, black, cream and more blue! The jeans were washed once a month as she lived in them and the Vanity thrived on chunky black metal jewellery, tiny functional earrings that were hardly there and nail polishes in bizarre shades like black, blue and yellow!
Working Girl: The changeover was a shocker - from tomboy to responsible young lady. T shirts turned into nightwear, the jeans perked up and lost their rents, the clothes turned formal. Smart was the catchword – tailored pants, skirts, tops and blazers. The Vanity kept watch over the pearl jewellery, vibrant scarves and stoles, the sheer stockings and the MAC make up... all very classy indeed!
Wedding bells: Life has come round full circle now. Now my daughter has turned into a bride, and the Vanity sits now, well worn and overused, as matrimonial plans flow around it. The little compartments have been emptied out, the mirror wiped squeaky clean, as gold ornaments have been placed inside, different sets for different occasions. For the first time, it has been kept locked. Brand new cosmetics have replaced old ones, with shimmering bindis and hair ornaments meant for a new bride, yet there is still enough place for my lone kajal stick and half a dozen lipsticks.
And I can say with conviction that when my little girl goes away as a bride, a brand new vanity case in her hand, I will sink down in exhaustion and by my side will be my old faithful Vanity – with a few extra scratches, ink blots, dabs of talcum powder and a bundle of precious memories!