Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Went to Miss Punjaban Pageant...

I participated in Miss Punjaban Contest-2008 today.

This is what I can say after spending one hell of a grueling day in the chair of a judge of a beauty-talent show audition. A regional channel of Punjab is organizing a gala (so they say) show and they had invited me to be one of the judges. At the moment, after spending about 5 hours in front of sharp camera lights, I am totally zonked out. I wonder why I go to such events again and again. I had done one such exercise before too, and had learnt my lessons quite well. After receiving a beautiful memento with my name printed on it, I had then vowed never to be a judge in a beauty show but there is a nerve in me that starts to twitch the moment I am invited to this job again. The reasons, I believe are that I find such programs as a forum to suggest the youngsters what they need to do and what they need not to do in such contests. Judging from what I am writing, by now, I bet that many of my friends perhaps believe that I have been an erstwhile Miss Punjab, or Mrs Punjab or even Miss India or Mrs India. No, no, no, no. I have not even been in close proximity to a venue holding such events, thanks to my strict parents who nipped any such talent in me in its bud. Just kidding. I never HAD such a talent. I have had just the gift of speaking and a big mouth which comes in handy while adjudging others on stage. How this channel got my name as a judge is anybody’s guess. They are about as famous as I am. LOL.

Okay, coming back to today’s event. It was one of the four- or perhaps five auditions to shortlist aspiring Miss Punjabs. I had no idea who my co-judges were. Later I found out that one was my old acquaintance, an ex-army officer - Capt D, now serving with the Government of Punjab, and the other was a moderately known Punjabi singer named K. It was a tortuously sunny day. When I reached the venue, I found out that all the watches around had been requested to forget that it was the stipulated starting time of 10 A.M. which had been postponed indefinitely. There was this pretty girl who was getting made up by the makeup artist. The moment she turned towards me, I was amazed to find her dressed up in westerns, with tight slacks and strapped up shoes. With a gaping mouth I turned to Capt D who was waiting for his turn for makeup. “Is SHE going to anchor the show?” I meant, is this what the beauty pageant for Miss Punjaban has come down to? Talking arrogantly, she made me realize that I had been one of the ignominious beings who had rejected her in favor of Japji Khaira in another semi-final of a Miss Punjaban show. And in the same arrogant tone, batting her mascara'ed eyelashes, she kept telling, well that is when I had begun my “career.” Ignoring her, I concentrated on the questions I was going to ask the contestants. Then Capt D sat in front of the makeup artist. The makeup didn’t make much of a difference to his face, but he was given the impression that he has been brightly made up. This made Capt D a very happy man.

Then came my turn to be happy. I sat before the makeup artist, conveniently forgetting that I cannot carry any kind of makeup ever. There are two reasons for that. One, in the month of July, there is no way that my make up would not bleed with the sweat. Second, that I cannot carry any kind of make up at all at any time. I wipe off my kajal with my sleeve accidentally and end up having black lines on my cheeks. Okay, I’m not that stupid, but yes I do tend to forget that I’m wearing kajal. The only thing I can carry elegantly is lip colour. So there I was, my face getting layer after layer of makeup, my eyes getting painted, my cheeks getting re-formed and my crooked nose getting a beautiful shape. (Remember Stephan Leacock’s With the Photographer?) Then the make up artist applied lipstick. And then I saw the mirror and then I gave out a subdued “EEEIIIIWWW, my lips are not that thick”. He said, “Madam this is the look.” I said, No way, you have made me look like a TV personality, I want to look like the humble teacher that I am. Kindly give back my lips the shape that they have.” The makeup artist was annoyed, but he was one of those jolly types. He wiped the lipper off. I heaved a big sigh of relief when I saw the results of the re-application. Back to my original self. I pinned up my dupatta, and as soon as I had finished, poof, the power vanished. Not mine, but the cooler, the fan and the exhaust fan stopped working due to a power cut. And then began the sweating. I looked at the makeup artist with the “See, I told you” look and he said, “Here is the tissue, don’t wipe, just dab.” Like the delicate damsel I’m not, I obeyed him.

I heard a diesel generator being turned on and the power was restored. Soon my adventurous spirit had the better of me and I tried to locate an AC room. Well, you got me right, I had contacts. Not in my eyes, but in the college that was the venue of the contest. So off I went to the Principal’s office. Was she happy to see me, and was I embarrassed to be there in that painted mask of a face I had on my shoulders. But she said she understood and we caught up with the old times when she was a lecturer and I was an honors student. Meantime a wicked messenger from the organizers came to tell us that we were getting late and we should start. Wow, as if we were holding them from starting it. By now, it was 1: 00 PM. I wanted to yell, “What becometh of my lunch, you wretched fellow?” But then my senses returned before he could yell back, “Lady, we are on a cliff hanging for our dear life, we gotta finish this event in time, and all that you can think of is your lunch?”

We came to the hall, took our seats and waited. Being the only woman in the panel, I was made to sit in the middle. What a scene! There was the beauty between two beasts. (I hope none of the two is reading this). The channel team took a bite, or byte, or bit… I don’t know how they spell it but they sound like they are going to give us a “bite of some food”. This bit was to speak good good things for the channel for about 30 seconds. Honest, I have never watched the channel. I confessed this and they were aghast. But I told them I watch cartoons all right. I counter-questioned them, “What is the full form of your abbreviation” and they giggled, “Even we don’t know”. Wow, they get paid by this channel and they don’t know the full form of this one-of-the many-three-letter-channels floating around. Then I decided to stop embarrassing them and sat quietly. However, I tried to be neutral by telling them that I m keeping my fingers crossed about how this event turns out. All three of us introduced ourselves to each other and then started the contest.

I m totally tired now, so it is to be continued….

Reality is that I didn’t want this post to be too long ;)


24 comments:

Roop Rai said...

I shan't comment until I read the complete account. I refuse to. Nuh-uh!

needless to say though, I was laughing out aloud. I love how you paint the story so vividly. It feels like I am watching the happenings on screen. OOh is it ironic that you will be on screen soon ... perhaps in the next blog? :D:D:D

Sujata said...

This was quite an experience, seems like in spite of every thing you had quite a time…:)

Sidhusaaheb said...

"I was amazed to find her dressed up in westerns, with tight slacks and strapped up shoes. With a gaping mouth I turned to Capt D who was waiting for his turn for makeup. “Is SHE going to anchor the show?” I meant, is this what the beauty pageant for Miss Punjaban has come down to?"

I agree 100% with you and hope the organisers will take note of this.

BTW, I think Japji Khaira is absolutely gorgeous and was a deserving winner. Her eyes are so mesemerising!

:P

I had written about the contest she won at http://sidhusaaheb.blogspot.com/2006/12/preserving-punjabiyat.html and the post received a comment from Mr. Jasmer Singh Dhatt, the founder and director of the pageant, though he doesn't really seem to have applied himself to working on the main suggestion I had for him and his co-organisers.

Sidhusaaheb said...

P.S.: I think I can trust you to pick the most deserving winner this time around as well.

:)

Pinku said...

hmmm...

am laughing, am a bit J (though not showing), am wondering if they after all did give u some lunch.

And am waiting for the rest.

Mampi said...

Roop-I thought my capacity to detail was blunted last night due to tiredness but I owed this post to you and Pinku especially. I gather that I did manage to make some sense in the post.

Sujata-Yes, it was one hell of a great experience, that is why I keep going to such contests again and again.

SS-I dont think the organisers will take any note of that because they want the anchor to wear what sells, and she would wear it gladly.
About Japji, she struck me in the first instance, she had that hayaa (ਹਯਾ), that poise, that elegance you associate with a Punjaban, a natural smile...Well everybody has seen that now in that movie Mitti Waaja'n Maardi. I dont take credit for selecting her. I guess she was everybody's choice. I loved the way she spoke genuine accent-free Punjabi, and played the Dhol during her contest.

Pinku-Are you J becos I will be on TV? Hehehe, I m hardly presentable anymore. So feel relaxed. Rather you look more photogenic with that pack on your face.

Mama - Mia said...

hehehe!!

cant wait for part 2!!! wow!! juding booty paegent and all on TV!! very hep!!

pls to tell us what happened next soon!! :)

cheers!

abha

kiran said...

oh i really missed your company.i remember the govt. college function,i think this one was more pathetic.isnt it that time we enjoyed our company more than function.hana

Gazal said...

hilarious account...

i thought being judge you would torture them...looks like there was reverse drain...

lol

Jasdeep said...

Really nice post..Think u shall start working on a book or so .. got really good story telling acumen..

Monika said...

he he he these beauty pageants... i stay away from them as much as i can :) but waiting for the continuation post

maheshinder_singh said...

Good to read the depiction by the writer whose short stories i enjoy and which make me feel happy. But personally speaking i am unable to associate your personality with such events, not because i dislike these events, but because I believe your elements are meant for something different,may be something higher,sublime.............believe me you are niether ordinary nor average. Last line is not a personal view rather an objective opinion.
M.I.Singh

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Well, maybe the pageant contestants should be praying that they should not win from now on if you are on the panel :P

Just kidding... I believe they hire you to verify which among the contestant has better brains. :)

Mampi said...

Abha-Its coming soon, soon-o-soon.

Kiran-If you had been there, it would have been a great fun.

Gazal-they not only turned the tables, they also kept me hungry till 5 PM.

Jasdeep-Book, et moi? You must be kidding.

Monika-I tried to stay away from them as long as I had beauty. Hehehe.

Mahesh-Everybody can see you are head over heels in love with the writer. :)

But on a serious note, I know what you mean to say, and I value your opinion.

Sudipta-Yes, that is precisely what they want me to judge but I end up asking them about their culture that they profess to know through such shows. As for brains, only 2-3 of them put it on display, rest of them keep it covered under make-up.

S.M.A.R.T said...

WoW, Judging a beauty pageant and all! Tell us more... I really want to know what happened next!

Pinku said...

hey!

am J cause u get to officially judge other women (something we all keep doing) but dont have the courage to give them our opinion on their face...hehehe

as for Mahesh's comment...I think i can understand what he means...it doesn't feel like u to be involved in these things but then u r right to go if u feel u can make even a small difference especially to the world views of these young girls.

and Mahesh being in love with u seems to be an understatement. ;)

Anonymous said...

Weldone!
You did well the job you were given- to Judge the Youth.

Its an intersting experience to share with your pen mates.

God bless your Pen.

Keep it up

Dhindsa

Mampi said...

SMART - I have completed the job, you can check the next post for what happened next.

Pinks-Yeah, you are right, we do go on judging others. Mahesh is surely biased favorably towards the writer.

Mama-Thanks. I love you. Missed you though. I would have discussed so much with you before going there.

Harpreet said...

Wow! This was good! :P

Maverick said...

ha ha with the photographer...i love that lesson, urs sound much similar :), and voww u get invited to judge beauty contests, u must be really beautiful...now dont blush.

Shirazi said...

Nice one.

Mampi said...

Harpreet-Thanks, Im glad you enjoyed it.

Mav-Pretty? Blush? Well, somethings are best left unsaid. Hee hee hee. I m far from being pretty. Un logo ko aur koi mila nahi toh mujhko bula liye...

Shirazi-Thank you so much for your comment and visit. Do keep coming.

sandeep said...

hi...they should ask you to write a book instead of asking you to judge these kinda shows...you surely can tickle the funny bone by your pen...okey a question for you,"What according to you is the most overrated virtue in the world?",please answer...

Mampi said...

Sandeep-You overestimate me. Book? And me?
Well overrated virtue-if at all this can be called a virtue, since we are talking contextually-is that of thinness. Or maybe, it has been made into a virtue. The standards that the world sets somehow dont adjust with the gross reality that we see around us.