- Login | Register
- Current Issue
- Most Read
- Back Issues
An 88-year-old Pennsylvania woman says she talked an attacker out of raping her by lying to him that she was HIV-positive.
The number of AIDS related deaths in the country has reduced by 54 per cent between 2007 and 2015, the Rajya Sabha was tol
India-born former Goldman Sachs Director Rajat Gupta has assumed a new role as Chairman of a
Discriminating against people with HIV and AIDS may soon land the offenders in jail for a maximum of two years besides a f
Prince Harry today got himself tested for HIV in a bid to raise awareness about the condition and encourage others to get
A 13-year-old girl affected by HIV/AIDS has been driven out of the hostel of a Central government-run school in Odisha's K
In a first, the West Bengal government has decided to provide rice at Rs two per kg to sex workers and poor HIV patients i
With over 80 per cent of the affordable and quality antiretroviral drugs used globally to treat AIDS supplied by Indian ph
Over 2,000 people have reported to have been infected with HIV while getting blood transfusion in the past 17 months in th
Turkmenistan has passed a law making HIV tests mandatory prior to marriage, state media reported today, in a sign the recl
It is with a journalist’s learned sense of skepticism that I usually approach charity events. Especially those held and publicized by fashion and beauty luxury brands. This social responsibility that allows the easy participation of the rich by spending money, not time or commitment is what I call the Buy a Bag and Get Social Justice Free model. It leaves me wondering about many things.
I haven’t found any answers yet. But last week, at an AIDS awareness day event at the MAC store in Delhi’s Promenade mall, I did realize that the answers don’t just lie in trying to figure out various social justice models but also in the process of small but powerful discoveries of human behaviour that such events bring. MAC, the global cosmetic giant whose foundations and lipsticks make cinestars, fashionistas, models and maharanis of glamour all over the world look their beautiful best, continues to push Viva Glam, an extended arm of the M.A.C. Aids Fund that was set up in 1994. You could say it is a “Buy-a-lipstick-and-get-a-guilt-free-shopping trip-free” model. But that doesn't change the fact that the fund has raised more than 700 crores for the AIDS affected through worldwide sales of the Viva Glam lipstick range--six shades of lipsticks and two lip glosses—with 100 per cent selling price routed towards the welfare of those living with AIDS. That's much more than a cosmetic achievement.
While I sit around at such events to observe different people dipping into the same social cause for different reasons, I am quite taken by those who queue up to get makeovers and expert makeup tips. Especially if the person doing the magic is someone like celebrity artist Mickey Contractor. Women sit transfixed before him as his hands work deftly, sizing up the face, the bone structure, the skin colour, texture and the woman’s personality before turning her into a diva. The dazed look on the faces of women is a delight for someone interested in the politics of identity through makeup. After they are done, a new confidence descends on most; they walk out of stores with a better gait, a smile and bright, hopeful eyes. Of course, most also usually end up making huge cosmetic purchases because they now believe that the key to this new, glam self will overpower the inner devil who haunts some of us to challenge God’s creative abilities and beat Him at his game.
And Mickey? His anecdotes and insights on what people want and how they behave before and after makeup would make a rocking television series. I have often seen him dissuading women from buying cosmetics just for the heck of it. He also knows how to give his clients a reality check instead of dreams the colours of eye shadows. “I was doing someone’s face in the store and I saw this grey-faced, sad looking woman come inside, completely lost,” he told me during one of his smoke breaks at the event two days back. “She had bad skin, full of marks and pigmentation and was wearing a foundation that couldn’t have been worse for her skin colour and looks. I just hoped she wasn’t my next appointment, but she was,” continued Mickey. As the story unfolded, the woman who had been using makeup ever since she was an adolescent to disguise her bad skin and to silence that damned inner devil pricking her with insecurity, had never found any real change even after using the best foundation and concealers in the world.
“The wrong foundation is the moral of the story, you cannot become what you are not,” said Mickey almost philosophically, using the metaphor that should guide us not only in choosing the right makeup but everything we seek to change. Soon with the right foundation, (first applied only on half her face to point out what was going on), the woman went out of the store smiling, her emotions transparent under the now correct makeup which made her look like herself instead of grey skinned and ill.
That same evening, I happened to watch on TV the 2007 film Shortcut To Happiness based on Stephen Vincent Benet’s classic short story titled the Devil and Daniel Webster. “God is stingy with his creations,” said the Devil in a highly symbolic court case to decide the fate of the protagonist who had sold his soul in exchange for a better life. “But without a soul, there can never be a better life,” argued the defense, winning the case. The jury believed that the soul was the right foundation to realize any real makeover or change in life.