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Wake Up And Smell The Conspiracy

It is a conspiracy, I realised. It had to be. Digital cameras and the weight loss industry (WLI) were in cahoots. Earlier the WLI had tried flooding the media and the minds of kids of impressionable ages and adults of not so impressionable ages with images of models, who looked like they might break if so much as a French fry touched them.

Then they got all the jeans manufacturers to go a size or two smaller. For example, all the size eight jeans were marked as size 10s. So the next time you innocently tried on your usual size, the jeans flatly refused to go beyond your knees. And you would be left throwing a fit in the fitting rooms or crumpling in their mirrored confines. Either way, you can look forward to a bout of depression – and your family to at least a week of misery.

Now that people have wised up to this sly trick, the industry has moved its weight on to fresher pastures. So what do they do? Zoom in on the digital camera industry. And here again, the results are instantaneous.

This is how it works. You and family or friends are probably out on a nice trip. You want to freeze for eternity the fun you had or maybe just catch a couple of shots of your kids to add to your armoury (“I am posting this on your wall –and tagging you!” is one of the most potent weapons these days). You click away like there is no tomorrow. When you have a minute to sit down, you turn on that ‘View’ setting and go through the pictures you took. There begins the unravelling. If it doesn’t, just wait till you go home and watch your pictures on the bigger screen of your computer.

The first thing you notice is probably the extra chins. A couple or sometimes even more of them. See, the conspiracy I told you about. They have added some new gimmick, which gives your face more chins than you’d find in a telephone directory in China. And adds pounds. Not just the mandatory ten pounds that cameras used to add earlier. This one packs in way more than ten pounds.

Next step depression. You mope around wishing you had never looked at those pictures; taken those pictures; never gone on that trip; or never made friends. Especially friends who ‘look’ slimmer than you (The camera is very selective. It only adds pounds to certain people). Of course it is not because of all the biriyanis you tucked in or the chocolate cake or the rich creamy pasta or the jilebis – and never the fact that you never get off your glutes.

The camera and its confounded chin adding software are the culprits. So after all the denial, anger, grief and acceptance, what do you do? Who do you turn to? You don’t have to be able to design rockets to guess this one. The WLI of course! The WLI hops skips and jumps its way to the bank while you are left huffing and puffing on a treadmill or staring murderously at a bowl of clear soup, dressing-less salad, and if you are kind to yourself, a dry chappathi.

And don’t be surprised if you see my fellow columnist Venugopal Unnikrishnan rubbing his hands in glee.

Tell me, does that not simply reek of a conspiracy? The whole thing is more rigged than a prime time reality show.

And riding piggyback on the success of the WLI are the satellites comprising of the cosmetic industry, the Botox people and the ‘nip and tuck’ specialists. Have you seen the wrinkles, grey hair and sacks under the eyes in pictures these days? Of course, age, late nights and lack of skin care have nothing to do with it.

The culprit is the camera again. This time abetting the beauty industry.

So what is one to do in the face of this evil trio – the camera, weight loss and beauty industries – that turn carefree, content people into wrecks with abysmal self-images?

It is time for us, the many chinned to unite. We shall swear to boycott these evil cameras that scheme to malign our images. We shall warn the camera industry to clean up its act and install filters that do away with chins, bags, sags, tyres, wrinkles, gray hair and lack of height.

Meanwhile, be wary of the mirrors you buy. The word out there is that the sinister forces are moving on to the mirror industry next. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself staring at your reflection, two sizes larger.

Shhh! What did I tell you? It’s a conspiracy!

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