Sandhya stopped her moped in the parking lot of “Vasant Kunj” apartments. It was just 10 in the morning but the sun was already up and scorching anyone who dared to come under its gaze. Sandhya dint have the luxury of sitting in an office and working under an AC. She was a door to door saleslady and everyday she worked laboriously under the blazing sun to complete her target. The only sun protection she used was her long sleeved salwar kameez and her dupatta which she tied around her face like a dacoit. She chugged the heavy bag of products and prayed fervently that she would be able to sell enough detergents and washing soaps in this apartment to complete her target. But after trying in two houses she felt dejected. In the first house no one had even opened the door and in the second one the lady had closed the door on her face once she came to know that Sandhya was a saleswoman. People were so insensitive, they did not have 2 minutes to spare for her. Some women were really polite, they listened to her talking about the product, offered her water to drink and then politely said that they were not interested in buying. Very few actually bought the products from her.
In the evening when Sandhya returned home she was somewhat satisfied, even though she had not reached her target she had successfully sold her wares in some houses. After a refreshing bath, she sat down for the evening tea. That was when her mother came to her side and announced that a new proposal had come for Sandhya. Sandhya just sighed and shook her head. She had made it clear to everyone in the house that she did not want to get married anytime soon. She wanted to support her father in earning for the house and she had decided that she would get married only after her younger brother had finished his education. But her words fell on the deaf ears of her mother. Her mother was lamenting about how Sandhya’s job had spoiled her looks and now no one would marry her.
“Look at you, just go and see a mirror. You are 23 but you look 43. Every day you go out in the sun without bothering about your looks. You have become so dark.”
Sandhya ignored her but her mom continued.
“See, you have got such a good proposal. This guy, Vinay, liked you and asked his parents to take matters forward. His parents are well off but they are ready to accept you as their daughter in law. They are coming to see you after a month, but if they see you in this condition, I am sure they will run even before entering the house.”
Sandhya was shocked. No, it can’t be that after so many years Vinay still remembered her and wanted to marry her. Slowly she made her way to the table where the white envelope was lying. Her mother had said that the boy’s photo was in the envelope. When Sandhya saw the photo, she thought she would faint. She went to her room with the photo. She remembered Vinay who studied with her in the same college. Vinay always used to stare at her and all of Sandhya’s friends teased her about it. During her college days Sandhya was a fair skinned girl with an even complexion and not even one blemish on her face. She was in fact one of the best looking girls in the college. She still remembered the last day of college when Vinay came to her and confessed his love for her.
“I love you Sandhya and don’t think that this is just infatuation. I want to marry you. But now I don’t have a job to support myself. How will I look after you? Once I get settled down in life and find a good job, I’ll surely come to your house asking for your hand. I don’t expect you to wait for me but if you are not married by the time I settle down in life then surely I’ll marry you. Please accept me then. Please…”
Sandhya liked Vinay and she also knew that Vinay would not object to her working and supporting her family even after marriage.
Filled with a new hope, Sandhya felt ecstatic and that was when she turned to the mirror to see her image. Her own reflection horrified her, she had indeed aged by 20 years. Her face was severely tanned with dark spots. She had an uneven skin tone and on closer inspection, she noticed that there were wrinkles near her eyes. She was now scared that Vinay would not agree to marry her once he sees her. It was really difficult to accept that the girl Vinay had liked in college and the girl standing in front of the mirror was the same.
Just when Sandhya started weeping silently, Kyra came to her home. Kyra was her best friend, they had been to school and college together. So Kyra knew about Vinay too. When Kyra came to know about Sandhya’s predicament she went out of the house and returned within few minutes. In her hand was a bright packet which she gave to Sandya. When Sandhya opened it she saw a Lakme Sun Expert tube. When she looked at Kyra, she explained “Sandhya, what you need is a good sunscreen, since you are out in the sun almost every day. Because of excessive exposure to sun’s harmful UV rays your skin is damaged and the typical signs are skin aging, pigmentation, skin darkening and wrinkles. If you want to escape from these then you need to wear sunscreen which has a high SPF like Lakme Sun Expert”.
From the next day onwards whenever Sandhya stepped out in the sun, she made sure she had applied sunscreen.
After a month when Vinay saw Sandhya, he fell in love with her all over again. It was the same beautiful Sandhya that he had met in college. 2 months later Sandhya and Vinay got married in a small but well attended function. When Kyra come to the stage to wish the newly married couple, Sandhya gave her a huge hug. After all it was Kyra who introduced her to Lakme Sun Expert. And thanks to Lakme Sun Expert , Sandhya had everything, her career, her independence, her beauty and her love.
This post has been written for the The Lakmé Diva Blogger Contest at Indiblogger.
P.S : I know this contest is about fun in the sun, but when I thought about who required sun protection the most, the first thing that came to my mind was salesmen and women. Come rain, come sun they are out there doing their job.