Jerusalem, Aug.10 (ANI): No seriously I do. At least, I was supposed to. On a study tour to Israel, a group of Indian journalists were taken to the Dead Sea, which has some of the most saline water on earth. It is over 1,300 feet below sea level, so there are no fish or other creepy crawlies in the water. You don't even need to swim in the Dead Sea, you can just float without trying, and such is the density of the water.
Sounds easy right? Not to me. I slipped, dunked, got my eyes red and ears sullied as I tried to float in the warm waters. I can swim like a fish in a pool, but here, it is a different issue. You can't swim; you can only float, and, that too, if you lie still. So, I try. All in the hope that this water would make my skin glow and hair shine. So I had been told.
There is nothing cool about the Dead Sea in July. It's warm as hell. So, some like it hot. Not me. Slap on the sand on your arms I am advised. Yuck. Our guide advises us not to drink the water as it can make you violently sick. Rivers and streams from the mountains around drain into the Dead Sea but the sea itself is tightly landlocked. So, the only way for the water to get out is through evaporation. The water evaporates, but leaves behind all that salt and dissolved minerals. But the water looks a pretty blue, just like the Mediterranean Sea, which is, but a few miles away. The sea itself is flanked by mountains on all sides and is home to five Biblical cities-Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Zebouin and Zoar. King Herod and Queen Cleopatra are said to have bathed in these waters. Hearing this, I stay put in the damn salty warm water for 15 minutes more. I mean, if Cleopatra could, so can I.
On the East is Jordan and the West Bank is near too. I am at the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface, and yes, I have taken my picture against the signpost. But half-an-hour in this warm water, and I am still to see the wonder it is supposed to do to my skin. And this 'Sea of Death' or Yam ha Maved in Hebrew is supposed to be the first ever health resort known to mankind. I keep telling myself this while I broil in its waters. The other eleven journalists meanwhile seem to be enjoying themselves. I guess being in hot water is just normal for us!
One hour and I have had it. Shower and scrub that hot water off in a nice plastic hotel with all its new world amenities and I am ready to return to some non-Biblical stuff like shopping. Oh, but wait. The shopping consists of some Dead Sea products. The salesman, one green eyed young lad, says to me "mai tumse pyar karta hoon," (I love you in Hindi) and no, I don't even bother to ask this Lothario where he picked up this age-old sales tactic from. I just buy all that he sells me. Some hand cream and foot cream, which I know will lie at the back of my dresser for the next year while I drag my feet around the grimy corridors of government offices, chasing news stories. Sigh! But for now, I shall pretend to be a Cleopatra or a Sonam (you know that new Bollywood actress who smiles brightly or irritatingly every morning from the dreadful page 3 of your newspaper?).
And, the product goes by the name Ahawa. Now, why does this ring a bell somewhere in my mind? Was it because it sounds like Ah Wah (oh wow) or something else? Ah yes! Activists in Canada and the UK had campaigned against the sale of Ahava products claiming that the mud for the products came from Palestinian areas, whereas, the Palestinians don't get anything from the profits. I push this thought to the back of my mind.
Politics and make up don't go together. It's not been tested on animals, so I am fine with it. Moreover, the salesman is cute. So now, if you see a Cleopatra look alike in Delhi, err it's me, thanks to the Dead Sea. By Smita Prakash (ANI)