A Paste for a Teething Matter
Blog :Soap Trash
Date: 7/30/2012 6:58:00 PM
30th July 2012
I had to go shopping today. Well, it's not as if this was a break from my mundane routine. I always have to go shopping every day and I always have to find myself in Star Bazaar. The reason: It's close to my apartment block, which is just ten minutes away from the Bazaar's gates. A ten-minute walk mind you - not the one that involves the rickshaw or car in its calculation. I am, after all, from Mumbai. And the habit of walking to the nearest shop has pasted itself very well into my reflexes. I just have to walk to a shop to buy things or else, I don't feel I have done my duty or bought anything worthwhile so to say!
Anyway, as I was saying, I went shopping to Star Bazaar. I hope I am not boring you. Shopping for dinner is very boring I know. So, if you are all ready to yawn before you climb down to the next sentence, run away.
This is the point where you, my reader, are supposed to say: "Oh please go on. Please go on. I love what you write, etc., etc.," and prod me to telling you more.
That, I assume, you are doing this very moment, aren't you? And since you are, I'll go right ahead and tell you more.
This particular evening, I was terribly bored. I was fed up of taking the bus home. I was fed up of revising the list of things to buy in my head. And I was really really fed up of buying the same old things all over again.
So, I wandered down the aisle, away from the food counter, and made my way into the oral care section. Before anyone starts to snigger and nudge another, let me just tell you upfront: Star Bazaar is a very very respectable mall. Yes, it does keep condoms, but it's still very respectable. And because of that very respectability, the oral care section stayed piously true to the meaning of its description and played host to a slew of toothbrushes and toothpastes. Colgate took up residence in the upmarket eye-level shelves and so did Pepsodent and Close-up. Now I had visited these 'pastes and I knew exactly what they had to offer. And I was in no mood to not be surprised. So, I send my gaze into the dark alleys: the last two shelves of the racks in this section.
Right enough, there they were: One from Vicco Laboratories and one from Himalaya - both obscure companies when it comes to toothpastes. Both hardly ever bother to compete with the Colgates and the Pepsodents in the oral hygiene market. And yet, both have enough of a clientele to not bother about relaunching or reinventing themselves. They seem rather happy with what they have - like the non-existent true Christian - rather than want some more - like several practising Christians.
I am a practising Christian and because of that, I wanted to know more about what their pastes are supposed to do. So, I picked up the one from Vicco and checked its ingredients: It seemed less synthetic and more of a natural paste. Jhambul was in it and so were a dozen other items I don't quite remember now. But they all mae for quite an ayurvedic lobby of sorts. "Buy us, buy us," they seemed to say. "Buy us we are the natural snobs."
I smiled. I had the other snob to look at as well - the one from Himalaya. It had all that the one from Vicco boasted of. And its packaging seemed appealing enough.
But what made me take it along with me was the fact that it positioned itself as a dental cream and not as a toothpaste. I somehow liked that. 'Dental cream' sounds much much better than 'toothpaste'. Toothpaste I think seems to have been a word that came out of the womb of a meeting room in a hurry. The men (and women) responsible for its birth seemed to have been so busy trying to make plans for a marketing campaign that they forgot how ugly their creation sounds. By the time they did realize that, they decided to accessorize and doll up that word with a suave brand name. And the brand had to be - and is always - reinvented when people get fed up of using it over and over again. It's as if the reinvention comes just in time for people not to comprehend how bored and dull the word 'toothpaste' sounds.
Dental cream, on the other hand, sounds very sophisticated - at least to me. My ears welcome the word, cream, with much more warmth than they do the word, paste. It's as if they know it's something special - something that will take care and not feel like a compulsion to apply. Besides, I am not pasting my teeth together, least of all binding them with a promise to be with each other. So, I definitely don't need something that puts all that binding and pasting in my head!
Which is why I took along the Himalaya Dental Cream at the end of my sojourn into the oral care section. I was quite happy with my choice. I had broken tradition! I had not taken Colgate nor opted for Pepsodent. I had tasked an underdog to clean my teeth instead. And so happy was I with I had just done that instead of buying some veg. fried rice, I flashed my 32 horses at the man at the counter and asked for some chilly chicken!
"So be it," I said to myself, "What does it matter? The vegetarian in me can go take a holiday for sometime. You have overworked him enough."
So, I let my mind rest, unfurled my umbrella, and walked home in the rains that just a few weeks ago were playing hard to get.