Galvanized Gloss - A Short Story by Kavita A. Jindal - 2020
Today’s Story May be read here
Somehow I missed National Lipstick Day, celebrated on July 29th. In my first venture into the multi-award winning work of Kavita Jindal I was delighted to read a story written for the occasion about how the right brand of lipstick can change your life.
As the story opens we learn a good bit about the past of the narrator. She after ten years with various flat mats has decided to live alone. We know she is single. She is on a bus in London and she spots an advertisement telling her that lipstick can change her life. We will soon learn this has a special significance for her. Jindal’s very visual prose made me feel I was on the bus myself.
“The real bus you’re sitting in this afternoon wheezes on as you take in the cityscape from the top deck...It’s then the slogan catches your eye. THIS LIPSTICK WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
Who allowed that? The Advertising Standards Authority let that pass? Can a lipstick change your life? Heck, can it change anything?? Can it change your summer a teeny-weeny bit??? You lean forward, press the button so the ‘Bus stopping’ sign lights up with a ting. You run into the department store and prowl the cosmetics counters until you find the brand emblazoned under the slogan. Brand L. The heat is making you crazy, 30 degrees in London, yes, it’s making you pathetic, and making the pavements sigh, but never mind. You stand by the counter and say to the girl with triple-mascaraed lashes: ‘I want to change my life.’
She’s ready to serve but slightly startled. ‘The new lipstick?’ she asks. She’s smart. She pulls out a tray of sample colours. ‘Which shade would you like to try?””
The woman seems very excited as she looks over the lipstick at the counter -we learn that two ago years ago she created names of lipstick brands. The what seems much younger sales lady at first seems perplexed by how worked up the woman seems then goes into her pitch.
“Your finger hovers over a vivid pink. Let me guess, you think, Watermelon Squeeze? Candy Too Sweet? Profound Rose? You have form here, you know about these things.
‘This?’ The sales assistant doubtfully dabs the rosy stickiness on your lips. ‘Oh,’ her voice rises in surprise, ‘This bright colour does suit you.’ Who is she convincing?
‘I’ll take it. It will change my life. Lipstick can do that.’
She looks at you sharply; are you mocking the brand or cosmetics in general? You ask: ‘What’s the name of this colour?’
She hands you a shiny packaged tube. You peer at it. Judicious Use. You give up, your shoulders heave and rock.
‘Are you alright, darling?’ A light touch on your hand. She’s not sure if you’re crying or laughing. At this point you’re not sure either.
‘What kind of name is that?’ You give a little hiccup. ‘That’s a stupid name for a lipstick.’
She holds out her hand for the offending item.
‘Two years back I created names for lipsticks,’ you tell her as you return it. ‘It took hours, no, days, for one season’s line. For brand Y.’
‘That’s such a good brand,’ she responds.
‘Pink Bluff, Poppy Chase, Catalina Nudie, now those are names for lipsticks. The brand founder loved the list I came up with”.
We follow the narrator a bit as she resumes her life. She seems a bit in need of something to give her life purpose.
This story was a lot of fun to read. It takes us into the life of the narrator. We don’t know a lot about her but she is very interesting. There is also the contrast of her and The saleslady. There is an age gap of at least twenty years which may bother The narrator a bit.
Kavita A. Jindal is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in anthologies and literary journals worldwide and been broadcast on BBC Radio and European radio stations. She is the author of the historical-fiction book Manual For A Decent Life, winner of the Brighthorse Prize. She has published two poetry collections to critical acclaim: Patina and Raincheck Renewed. She’s also the co-founder of ‘The Whole Kahani’ writers’ collective.
I plan to post on at least one work by Kavita A. Jindal for at least The next six months.
Her website has a more detailed bio, Links to stories and more.
I look Forward to eventually Reading her in full