A story of glorious hair is a work of fiction.
“And here comes the auspicious moment we all were waiting for…,” Bollywood heartthrob Shahid Kapoor said. He was the host of the Pantaloons Femina Miss India.
“..And I feel honored to announce the Femina Miss India for this year…any guesses…,” Every word uttered by him accelerated our heartbeat. Finally, however, the anxious moment was halted when he announced, “Jessica Meher from Mumbai.”
My heart skipped a beat when I heard my name. I was euphoric.
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much…,” I screamed in joy.
“What, thank you, Jessi. Wake up. It’s already 9,” Mother woke me up. The sun was shining brightly as mother opened the window.
“Another dream Maa…,” I said with my partially opened eyes.
“Don’t tell me it’s the same Miss India dream,” Mother said.
“Yes. It’s the same, and I am Miss India..yey,” I hugged my mother and kissed her cheeks.
“You look at yourself,” She said.
“What’s wrong with me, Maa…,” I said, dizzy in my thoughts.
“I just aim to keep myself neat and take good care of myself,” I continued.
“Shush. Let me talk, Jessi,” Mother said, looking straight into my eyes. Her vehement thoughts were directed towards my hair.
“Is this how you take care of your hair? It’s mussed up,” She got vexed.
“You are 21, beautiful, and you have all the chances of winning this Miss India Pageant. Hundreds of beautiful girls like you would want to win the title. But you are not serious lovely, “She said, ruffling my dark, messy curls.
“Sweety, you still have one more month to fix your hair issues,” Mother said.
“Right, Maa, but I am trying my best,” I said to her.
“I am going to apply curd and honey to your hair,” She rummaged through the refrigerator, searching for Curd.
“Maa, wait..no, curd this time…Please, Maa,” All my attempts to stop Maa from applying Curd to my hair seemed futile.
“Why don’t you understand that my hair refuses to respond to home treatments?” I gently asked her.
“So you think these homemade remedies would only ruin your hair? . Ok, then find for yourself the best treatment available for your hair. I am not going to talk about your hair ever again. I’m sorry, Jessi,” She got angry for once.
Maa often chivvies by asking me to use home remedies for my hair problems.
“Maa, I know you are not wrong, but you fail to understand my plight Maa..,” I uttered. By then, Maa had left for the kitchen.
“Maa..,” I screeched at the top of my voice.
“I’m sorry, Mother,” Mother was infallible when advising others. I knew she loved me, but the recurrent hair issues had only made me look miserable. Finally, I realized that she cared for me. After contemplating for a while, I lolled on the couch, introspecting about my previous encounters with such issues. I finally logged onto google.com to search for hair remedies.
For the past few months, I’d been a victim of hair fall, curly hair, and dandruff. I understand that my mother was addressing these issues, but I was too harsh on her.
I typed HAIR DAMAGE CONTROL PRODUCTS on the Google search box. I saw a video of a famous haircare brand on the search results. I clicked on the video, and the page was navigated to youtube.com, which hosted that video. The video gave an insight into their product. The model inspired me; her hair was shining and lustrous. I seemed to have been swooned by her hair. I wanted my hair to be like hers.
“Maa. Maa. Come fast,” I screamed at the top of my voice.
“Uffo…what now?” She came running towards me. “Maa. Dekho.. this dove damage control ad,” I curiously looked at my mother.
“This looks promising. I think you should give it a try,” She smiled and came next to me as she caressed my hair.
“But, will it be fruitful? . Will this work, Maa?” I asked.
“Well..the reviews look good, and I don’t see any harm in trying,” Mother said.
She cleared her throat and continued, “Try and let’s see the results,” She smiled.
“And one day you will feature on the dove advertisement just like this pretty model. I’m sure you will,” My proud mother said to me.
“Yes, Maa, I will..,” I said.
I purchased the dove damage control kit later that evening and started applying it to my hair from that day. I regularly shampooed my hair, and a ‘champion’ from Maa adorned my hair. Two weeks later, I had a chance to attend my college alumni meeting, where I met my college friends. They were impressed by my dress and were all praised for my hair.
“Babe..you are the Miss beautiful hair..mind me..,” Anusha, my best friend, announced.
“Noo…she is our next Miss India..,” Shalini said. I was overwhelmed by their feedback, which gave me all the confidence to go ahead with the beauty contest. Even Mother commented on my hair. She loved it.
Pantaloons Femina Miss India contest was to be held in Bangalore last week of September. I sought blessing from my mother as I left for Bangalore. We were given different fitness training, and beauty sessions were conducted. Then finally, the big day arrived on the 27th of September when 55 other girls competed for the crown.
Young Superstar Shahid Kapoor was the host of the show. Chitrangada Singh, Chetan Bhagat, Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akthar, Shahnaz Hussain, Prakash Kumar, Ritu Beri, and many famous celebrities were invited to judge the beauty contest. The stage was set for the contest. I was dressed in Satya Paul. The red carpet raced my heartbeats, and it was a moment of anxiety. I was feeling stir for some reason as it was my first appearance in any primary contest. I tried my level best to look beautiful and confident. Gorgeous Chitrangada was dressed in embroidered Silk Gossamer Saree, and Farhan Akhtar looked handsome with his curly hair.
My hair had been left open with a slight clutch on the side, for our hairdresser thought this particular look suited me most. Regular use of dove products had made them shiny and black. They were strong, bringing me a new sense of confidence and beauty.
Host Shahid and Sameera Reddy called all the contestants onto the stage.
“Contestant number 24, Jessica Meher from Mumbai,” They announced, and I daintily walked through the stage. Everyone cheered for me. I could see my proud parents, younger brother Karan and boyfriend Nikhil clapping as I walked. I blew kisses for everyone, and the judges seemed impressed. Then came the Question round, where every contestant was asked a common question.
“What inspires you?” The hosts announced. Other contestants spoke about their Idol, Mother, Father, Teacher, Abdul Kalam, etc. Finally, it was my turn to answer.
“My hair inspires me,” I said with a gentle smile.
“Interesting….go ahead,” Fashionista Ritu Beri said.
“Since time immemorial, hair has been synonymous with beauty and grace. But being the woman of today, confidence, strength, and Independence are equally important. The nature of our hair is to grow strong. Even in harsh weather or excessive combing and harmful treatment, it tries not to lose itself and be there where it belongs. It teaches us to be strong, free, independent, loyal, and humble, which are perfect ingredients for a successful life,” I smiled.
Everyone clapped and appreciated my reply. Finally, I made it through the final round, where we were left with 10 participants. I soon made my way to the last 5. The time to adorn the pageant grew near. It was an anxious moment in my life.
“And here comes the moment we all were waiting for…,” Bollywood superstar Shahid Kapoor said.
Poonam Behl, the other girl from Delhi, held my hand tightly as we were the final two left.
“..And I feel honored to announce the Femina Miss India for this year…any guesses…,” Every word he uttered raced our heartbeat. However, the anxious moment was halted when he announced, “Jessica Meher from Mumbai.”
My heart skipped a beat when I heard my name. I was excited. Tears of happiness rolled down my cheeks as I listened to my name and the auditorium cheered.
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much…,” I screamed in joy. I have been crowned Miss India – Universe. It was the best moment of my life, and I was famous the next day. Media persons interviewed me. My phone was flooded with wish messages, and phone calls never ceased to ring. I thanked everyone who loved me and made me reach the zenith of success.
A wonderful surprise awaited me the next day when the Dove team visited my house. They expressed their desire to sign me for their ‘Dove Damage Therapy’ ad. Without a second thought, I accepted their proposal.
‘Lights, Camera, Actions
“Even I had hair issues like you and other girls. But then I got a gift in the form of dove and that was the end of my hair problems,”
‘Cut,’ The director said. The ad was successfully shot.
“Excellent work Jessica,” The ad director appreciated me.
Yes, Maa was actually right. I am on the next dove ad. Stay tuned to your TV.