This is the first of a series on #40at40, where I plan to try out at least 40 things I never dreamed I would. Popular perception is that once someone turns 40, they’re kind of staid and sedate. I beg to differ and decided to write about my experiences as an ever exited, ever experimental individual who hopes to never be bored or boring! #40at40
I see Medimix soaps. It’s like that kid in The Sixth Sense who sees dead people. They are EVERYWHERE. The thing is, if you aren’t just a luxe stay junkie and have stopped at any mid-to-rock bottom range hotel in India, you’ve probably encountered these little slabs of soap too.
Enter a room, look around and you’ll spy one almost straight away. Either lying languidly on a threadbare, greying towel knowing you will give in to its seduction sooner or later or perched pertly on the basin saying ‘Use Me’ in a hypnotic voice.
Now priced at Rs 3, these teeny 12 g bars promise the goodness of 18 herbs in an Ayurvedic formulation. Recently, the company that manufactures them, Cholayil Private Limited, has gone in for an image revamp and added a variety of variants to their repertoire. It’s the classic green goblin though, that has been hobbling my bath-time on countless road trips and back-packing journeys since my early years. I still recall the sickening smell that would permeate the bathroom (and sometimes the entire room!) when someone used this soap. It made me retch and reminded me of all the things I wanted to forget — gross morning sounds in trains, grubby hands using the communal bar of soap in railway waiting rooms, bits and pieces of green goo stuck to much-used soap dishes, and many many more.
Now, if you’re adequately grossed out, I hope you can understand my revulsion to this soap. It’s just a brand, you say. It’s the devil in disguise, according to me. But but but… it’s Ayurvedic, you say. So is the concept of Auto Urine Therapy. I don’t see you sipping your morning cuppa of THAT! You’re just a snob, you say. No, I don’t think that’s the case. Would I be staying in Medimix-infested hotels if I were?
But seriously, I just don’t understand why it’s the chosen brand of every under-Rs 5,000 a night hotel in India (and often bigger budget ones). Perhaps it’s got a great incentive scheme for them. Perhaps it’s one of the few brands offering that travel-size sliver. Whatever the case maybe, you have no idea just how many bars of this soap I have ignored, thrown away, and worse still — HAVE HAD TO HIDE FROM PEOPLE SHARING MY ROOM! — over the years.
After having read all that I wrote above, you won’t believe what I just did today. Yes. I bathed with a bar of Medimix. And I didn’t drop dead in a pool of my own vomit. Nor did my skin peel off horribly. I didn’t grow scales and I didn’t start smelling like those goats I’ve sat next to in State Transport buses. In fact, I had quite a fresh shower and the soap lathered enough and 12 hours later, I’m still smelling fresh. Not like roses. No. But as good as 59% Chitraka, almost 2% Madhusnuhi and 0.46% Guggulu will allow.
PS: I recently spotted this basket of Medimix on a fashionable shopping street called Linnegatan in Goteborg, Sweden! Like I said, Medimix is everywhere 🙁