You are walking on the road, holding your sari pleats in one hand and clutching your massive handbag in the other. In a hurry to reach home before your maid does, your mind hovering over the stack of dirty utensils in the kitchen, you almost land inside a comfy looking pothole. But today in your Superwoman avatar, no force can topple you. You hop, skip and jump over the yawning crater with effortless ease and wonder if you have smashed an Olympic record. It’s then you notice the woman staring at you intently, her eyebrows knit with concentration. Hell yeah! I am sporty you have a problem with that? Or is it my glowing skin? I did switch to an insanely expensive soap with an odd fragrance. She stops you and asks – Do I know you? Wondering if the query has some deep philosophical meaning, your mind is now running helter-skelter trying to conjure up a smart retort. But before you can stun her with your awesomeness, she says – You look so familiar, have we met somewhere? You roll your eyes, sigh loudly and mumble – Welcome to the club.
When God created me, he threw away the mould and the sneaky Chinese stole it from the garbage bin only to make hundreds of copies. Imagine being approached by strangers demanding to know why you look so familiar! You smile uncertainly and try giving helpful suggestions – mmm... school? Perhaps we went to the same college? Aren’t you the sis I pushed in the well and left to die?
As if it’s my damn fault that I have a face that everybody claims to have seen somewhere! By now I have heard it so many times, from so many people, across so many age groups that I’ve started doubting whether I am the genuine product or the Chinese counterfeit.
Those of you who are unfortunate enough not to have relatives and friends, who look like me, need not despair. You can always look up to the stars for inspiration. I often have to bear comparisons with Moushumi Chatterjee (we have similar teeth) and few more actresses I’d rather not name. As long as you don’t persist that I look like Shakti Kapoor or Kader Khan, I promise not to snap like Lalita Pawar!
Strangely, despite the fact that there are so many duplicates of me that exist, I have yet to encounter one myself. A colleague with a penchant for plunging necklines would often insist I look just like her bhaabi! And when I finally had the misfortune of meeting the bhabi, I attempted Seppuku. Does she think I’m that ugly! I spent the rest of the evening sounding like a stuck record.
At a club, the music so loud that your heart is pounding in your ears, you are screaming in your friend’s ears to be heard and a gentleman walks up to you and asks have we met! You turn slowly towards him, try to stretch your lips into a smile say – Yipee! you are the 155th person to make me feel so commonplace!
It is an age old belief that somewhere in this planet, alive today, is someone who looks like you – maybe not precisely but close enough to be your doppelganger. Even if the resemblance with your double is flattering, it can trigger a little earthquake in your self-esteem.
Tragically in my case, nature got carried away and forgot to stop at one. But I am an eternal optimist – knowing that I have so many replicas can be very liberating. I can make faces at people I don’t like, walk into a party wearing a red lungi and purple kurta, stand in front of Bappi Da’s house and scream I love yoooooo and insist it was my doppelganger and not me!