Madhu drifted like a cloud, filled with unshed water, humoring the faces, familiar because of their appearances on screen. Layers of pancake, pan stick on the faces, shimmering eye shadows, sculpted sovereign noses, all colors of lipstick clad smiles. The foreign perfumes mingling with Indian sweat polluted the air infusing suffocation in a well aerated hall. It was a hall full of strangers , most of them were vulnerable, engrossed in their appearances, vying to be the most believably beautiful or handsom.  The vulnerability was in the actor wanting to believe the image as much as the audience. The image of a magical hero who could beat up twenty goons, who could sing , dance and woo a pretty heroine twenty years his junior. It was a place filled with step-mothers asking the “mirror mirror on the wall” question, constantly looking over their backs, lest someone new usurp their throne. The hunger for flesh, in the prying eyes, the invisible ladders hanging in the flattering tongues, the envious whispers when a wealthy producer praised, Madhu braved it , safe in the tag of being new, and the conviction of remaining that. There were rehearsed expressions; famous faces smiled accurate smiles, when the camera turned on them. An occasional itch in the wrong aspect of anatomy or a yawn was the rare traitor of the perfect farce.  Off the screen was also a make believe world, reality was the sole mirror in the wash room.


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