An ode to my umbrella

The sun in May is, to put it mildly, a scorcher. Step out without a cap and you can feel your brains being addled and fried in a manner that would allow you to serve them scooped out straight from the cranium. Such gory imagery apart, the sun is cruel. The skin is ageing. Patching and pigmentation is happening. Wrinkling is happening. Much looking at self in mirror first thing in the morning and screaming in horror is happening.
The sunscreen is being slathered on but does that really help? I don’t know. A cap was plonked on head every time I stepped out into the harsh sunlight but one had to angle face downwards in shy, new bride manner so that the entire face gets into the shade. Did that help? A bit, I guess.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, the mater took cursory critical appraisal of the facial skin and pronounced her judgement, “You’re looking old. All your skin is wrinkled up and patchy and looking grubby like you haven’t washed it.”
After I’d finished bawling my lungs out in the bathroom, I took a serious look at what I could do to avoid the skin getting worse. Sunscreen. Check. Cap. Check. Staying out of the sun as much as I could. Check. And then the mater spoke.
“Why don’t you use an umbrella?”
After I’d finished rolling around on the floor laughing my guts out, and picked and dusted self off, I asked her if she was serious. “An umbrella. A parasol. Really?” Yes, she replied, she was. The mater never steps out into the sun without an umbrella. And at 74, I think her skin is less lined than mine is. I cast an eye over her skin, while not glowing translucently by any standards, was unlined enough to make me put on the sunglasses to hide mine cobwebs. I decided I must just brave being laughed at or having small kids follow me, throwing stones. A small umbrella, given to me by my mother in law, was placed in the handbag and religiously opened whenever I stepped out into full UVA and UVB situation. I have just about stopped feeling ridiculous, and no one has thrown stones at me yet. I am learning to ignore the wise guys who go, “Kitni baarish ho rahi hai.’ as I pass. The skin? Is it better behaved, is it looking any better? I don’t know yet, its been only a couple of weeks, and I hope to get a more definite answer soon, but I do know that the migraines have lessened and that in itself makes it a compelling argument to tote said umbrella around with me wherever I go.
Now that I think of it, I wonder why we hesitate to carry an umbrella into the sun? I remember make up maestro Cory Walia telling me yonks ago, the only thing that will keep your skin looking great as you age is staying out of the sun and carrying an umbrella. I wish I had listened to him, seriously taken his advice. But better late than never. Anti wrinkle cream and pigmentation tackling cream will be slathered on at night and sunscreen with SPF 30 and PAAA+ slathered on in the day. AND the umbrella carried along for added protection. Never mind if most folks look at me suspiciously and give me a wide berth as I pass by.
Hopefully, the skin will start behaving soon enough. And I stick to carrying the umbrella around without eventually getting tired of that one extra thing in my handbag which has everything and the kitchen sink in it. Ah, well, but that is another post.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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8 Responses to An ode to my umbrella

  1. Shoba says:

    Hiya Kiran..
    New to you & your blogs.Hooked 🙂 thoroughly enjoyed reading your witty posts since last 3 days.Goodwork.
    We are waiting for Sunny everyday here in Warsaw(Poland) to tk the baby out for some vitamin-D.By the time diaper,cereal,snacks,milk,water,toys,baby,self checks are done..sun starts peekaboo or there are sudden showers or snow flakes or gets windy lk those ghost movies :/ crazy place this!


  2. when you can carry so many things (Kitchen sink ? Jeesuzz !!!) in your handbag, a tiny fold-able umbrella should be okay. Be away from the sun than smearing tons of sun-screen lotions


  3. Khan Mukhtar says:

    I too have a lot of memories related to umbrella. When I was at Mumbai during the year 1990 I use to carry on designer umbrella while on work. I had to travel from Bandra to church gate and then to world trade centre cuffe parade. During monsoons the umbrella was of great help but some time to preserve my Kashmiri looks I would even use it during scorching sun light. The Ibrahim curIum umbrellas use to be my all time favorites and I still preserve n treasure them.


  4. Anamika says:

    Interesting …
    At my first job, we had this girl with soft-supple skin who will never step out without a bottle of water and n umbrella. Even oversees I have seen the very chic/beauty types with an umbrella when in sun
    Now it all makes sense…BUT, I have only black and one multi-colored umbrellas.

    Now first i have to buy a vogue-in-style umbrella right 🙂 ????


    • Kiran Manral says:

      LOL. Anamika, I have a very simple umbrella that I love because it is so tiny it fits into any handbag. And its black so it cuts out the glare….psst, the skin IS looking better.


  5. Gayatri says:

    Lekin chhatri hai kahan? Sorry, could not resist.


  6. I hunt down paper parasols especially for the summer months! I’ve never gotten laughed at – on the contrary, I’ve gotten many compliments! I’ve been coveting a victorian-esque parasol I’ve seen too – they have such a lovely shape to them 🙂 … If you’re committed to using a parasol for sunshade, I think it’s worth it find something you like, that you think is fun or pretty or your style. You may not be able to stuff it in your purse, depending on the type you get, but you’ll like having it with you!


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