Ep11: When I wanted to wring Mallika’s neck while she spoke about skincare for the neck


  • Time 4 min
  • Date August 27, 2020

“Something’s fishy. Maybe aunty is right, Shams is hiding something.”

After aunty’s call, I tried connecting with Shams for over an hour, but in vain. Sitting in my comfortable plush office, I could in no way have guessed what Shams was going through. It would be a few days before I would discover her sombre secret. But this day was for another reveal — I was to learn something about Mallika that would leave me fuming.

Later, at our weekly meeting we were discussing our research progress. Mallika and I had teamed up for the subject — skincare for the neck. After the late night, I was spent. TBH ours was the simplest topic to explain, we were jammy.

When it was our turn, I began, ”Skin around the neck is as important as facial skin. Unfortunately, it is one of the most forgotten areas. Being thinner than the rest of the body, it’s prone to sagging or wrinkles.” I went on to explain the lack of collagen — yes, the vital protein in our skin which keeps it supple is found in much lesser quantities in the skin on our neck. “So, give the neck some extra TLC.” I said and could see people nodding in agreement.

Mallika interrupted, “Sunscreen is a must. Remember that age spots will appear faster on your neck and will be harder to treat. So, prevention is better for both; your neck and your pocket. As you age you will be thankful for that.” And she went on…. “Getting a neck massage is a great idea. One massage = 3 benefits— #1 releases stress, #2 increases blood circulation to the area and #3 keeps wrinkles at bay…” And she continued without letting me speak. I finally managed to cut into her monologue with my DIY scrub (yes, that exfoliating recipe that I had mentioned during my interview).

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“We are a team! What does it matter?”

Nandini ma’am had our full attention and Mallika wanted to slay. She butt in, “I just don’t understand why people use expensive products on their faces and leave the neck uncared for. Even on some TV shows, I have seen actresses all beat about their face but no touch-upon their necks. What’s the point!”, she said passionately.

I was appalled. Boss lady seemed pleased. Mallika looked ecstatic.

Flash back to a few hours ago when we were prepping for this meeting — Mallika was phubbing me and seemed least interested when I shared my observations about the negligent attitude of many women towards their neck. And she had parroted the same words at the meeting, claiming them to be hers!

She had taken all the credit. I glared at Mallika; she was gassed. Boss lady caught my look and raised an eyebrow. I wanted to blow Mallika off, but I refused to stoop to her level and sound cranky, so I just shook my head.

However, after the meeting I confronted Mallika about taking unfair credit. Unperturbed, she shrugged her shoulders and said, “We are a team! What does it matter?” But of course, it mattered, I was salty, but let it go. For sanity’s sake, some things are better left low.

My phone had several messages from Becca. She was mad excited as her live streaming of songs the night before had been a hit. Her bosses, who were initially mad at her for pulling off this coup without prior approval, were now all praises. I immediately called and congratulated her. We would catch up for Zumba later.

Shams was still MIA.

At Zumba class, Becca was oozing with excitement as she gave me all the dope. She felt it was a sign from the universe to take the plunge with her venture. She had a dream of providing a platform to amateur musicians to help showcase their talent and create interesting podcasts.  However, her project was in cold-storage due to lack of funding.

She casually asked, “Should I consult Samar for the funding?” I immediately refused, “It could mess your friendship with Shams. You….” I stopped mid-sentence, “Where is Shams?” Becca had no idea either

“Something’s fishy. Maybe aunty is right, Shams is hiding something.” “Impossible… not a chance!” Becca emphatically dismissed my view. I was genuinely relieved to hear that. “I would hate it if either one of us had secrets from the others.” I said turning away to change out of my work clothes.

And in that moment, I missed the stricken look on Becca’s face.

NECKx Talk:

  • Don’t forget the neck while sun-proofing your skin
  • Hit the pamper button with an occasional neck massage
  • For smoother skin, get a neck scrub on duty
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