Made in Israel
Travelling with me to Israel was Veda, my 24 year old daughter. Charming, lots of fun and inspite of our generation gap someone who would occasionally allow me to be on ‘her’ side of the age barrier. We were exemplary tourists on the first few days of our trip. We lapped up the history, got up at dawn , diligently listened to our guide as he took us from one ancient site to the next . We went to Jerusalem and visited several Churches, the Wailing Wall and the museum of the Dead Sea Scrolls. We went to Bethlehem to the birthplace of Jesus Christ and visited the church built built to commemorate his birth and genuflected at the site of the ‘manger’. We visited the Sea of Galilee near the town of Nazareth which was famous for the first sermon where Jesus distributed bread and wine to all his followers. We went to the Church of the Beatitudes and read the words “ He who is meek shall inherit the kingdom of God” and made the sign of the cross – our early education in Roman Catholic missionary school had trained us well. It was our first trip to Israel and we had gone with open and enthusiastic minds.
Veda discovered what a Sabbath ‘elevator’ was in a slightly embarrassing manner as we had never experienced a Sabbath ( Friday ) which was a day of total rest and reflection. She followed me into the elevator , one hand clutching her many recently acquired souvenirs and the other her life line – her cell phone. She persistently pressed the 7th floor button and yet the lift stopped on every floor. No one got in or out and she looked confused until someone politely told her that this was a Sabbath lift and would stop on each floor, irrespective of being empty or full . Guests could get in and exit on their floors without pressing any buttons, and ….“would she please shut her phone ? “ Neither of us were familiar that during Sabbath no work was done and no gadgets or machines were used. Even pressing the lift buttons was unacceptable especially in Jerusalem which had a huge population of ultra orthodox Jews. The hotel that we were staying in had several lifts and the particular one that we were in was dedicated as the ‘Sabbath lift.’
After visiting the remnants of the port of Caesarea built by King Herod we finally landed up in the beautiful city of Tel Aviv . We had heard much of the night life, the sea and shopping and were looking forward to enjoy the cosmopolitan side of Israel . Shopping in Tel Aviv was exciting with its vast variety of shops! You had the option of going to the ultra modern ‘Up market’ Malls with international designer labels, or choose to go the traditional areas and visit dusty curio shops for tourists in the old town of Jaffa with quaint handcrafted items . Interesting items we picked up were beautiful metallic Menorahs – traditional candle stand lit on ceremonious occasions and artistically crafted Mesusas ( sacred door handles) . The young shopkeeper was quite smitten by my daughters dark curly locks and eyelashes and jokingly offered to marry her. I bundled her out of the shop super fast!
You could stroll through the bazaars, the open markets and feast your senses on the bright colours and the crisp smell of fresh vegetables, fruits , sweets and meats. There were also many open shops that sold other necessary items from clothes to suitcases, hangars to perfumes. It was like being back in a Indian market haggling with the shop keeper. Somehow whenever I was with Veda , we would always gravitate to shops that specialised in cosmetics, shoes, junk jewellery and clothes . She enjoyed shopping and bought a lot of stuff, sandals and clothes and caps and a whole lot of makeup. One of the more interesting items she picked up was a novel mascara bottle. The moment you took the mascara brush out of its bottle the brush would start to vibrate vigorously till it was put back into the container, becoming still only once the brush was twisted tightly into place. The sales man reassured us that this vibrating action enhanced the thickness of the eye lashes on application! Veda was amused with it and found the results quite satisfactory!
Our trip to Israel soon became a memory with its vibrant images immortalised on the ‘facebook’, and on our return home more mundane matters became important on a day to day level. Soon after our visit, on a sultry hot evening, the family was getting ready to go out on a family function. I walked into Veda’s room to ask her for some make up . Veda as usual was talking on her cell phone, combing her long locks with her other hand . She said to me hurriedly
“Mum here take this vibrator. I brought it in Israel . Try it ,you will like the effect” and handed me the mascara bottle that she had brought in Tel Aviv and resumed her conversation on the mobile. Having showed me its effect several times I quietly took it from her and returned to my room.
A few days later suddenly Veda rushed into my room., she was very agitated.
“The silly people in this city – they are all talking about me!” she complained.
I looked at her , “ Now what have you done”
“ Done .. done nothing , that silly ……” (she named her friend )
“He has gone and told all my friends that I share the same ‘vibrator’ with my Mom. “
I looked at her surprised not quite sure how I was to react to her remark. Then suddenly it dawned upon me – the vibrating mascara brush – I mean the mascara ‘contraption’ with the vibrating mechanism that is what the buzz in town was about ! I reminded her of the incident when she had handed it to me and had hurriedly called it a vibrator and we both had a good laugh. If only we had brought a few more mascara brushes with vibrating handles, made in Israel and shared them with our friends back home !