The Girl In The Golden Bikini


Well, I am getting my house refurbished and painted. I  went shopping in the afternoon for the perfect colors/color scheme for my walls. Hold your breath, but I spent a good 6 & 1/2 hours to select them.Why the shopkeeper, floor manager, paint designer were so patient beats me,but I will remain eternally grateful to them. For they were able to get me the perfect gold texture paint and  texture design for my wall of light mocha.The other walls are ivory white.Somewhat like antique lace.

That brings me to my fascination with the color gold. I would like to clarify that I don’t really like the metal gold. I prefer silver jewellery, oxidized silver  or stones set in silver or platinum. But otherwise, I love gold nail polish, eye shadow, fabric, sequins etc.Many a times, I have contemplated dying my hair blonde too 🙂 Thankfully sanity has prevailed over this insane longing. Or else I would look a complete freak:)

When I was a kid, we had this record by ‘The Ventures’. It belonged to my Ma.At six years of age, I remember being deeply fascinated with the girl in the golden bikini on the cover. She epitomized  beauty and glamor to me. My fervent imagination and puppy fat struggled hard to morph me into her. Stories from my ”American” cousins about the golden beaches of California and golden girls made me feel deprived.For the beaches in my home state, although extremely beautiful,unfortunately had people swimming and frolicking fully clothed. The ladies normally in sarees! Wearing a swim suit meant you definitely were a ‘fallen’ woman 🙂 Till date even in today’s Bollywood movies a ‘swim suit’ scene is considered ‘bold’ 🙂 So, since nobody would get me a bikini, I improvised. I stole an elder girl cousin’s very basic underwear and painted it with gold fabric color! I was really proud of it and spent many afternoons preening in front of the bathroom mirror 🙂

My  this uh-uh ‘gold bikini’ also served the then other main goal of my life.To be a cabaret dancer like Helen.I absolutely adored her wild,wanton dance moves.While every other little girl wanted to be like the famous actresses: the beautiful and ‘good girl’ Hema Malini or the sultry and ‘intelligent, ‘artsy”Rekha, I wanted to be the ‘bad girl’, the gangster’s moll”, the vamp” that was normally portrayed by Helen. A sensational dancer with a sensational body, Helen got all the catchy,peppy,sizzling songs. She wore outlandish costumes beautifully. Her make-up screamed attitude. Much like the girl in the golden bikini 🙂 This is perhaps my favorite song and dance of Helen.

 I am listening to the ”Golden Greats” record by the Ventures on my old Technics turntable now.I also still have the Garrad turntable of my parents.It no longer works,but houses great memories of great music. I don’t know whether many of you will agree to this, but I think this fabulous music sounds good only on a turntable? The new age sound machines, although phenomenal, somehow lack soul. They tend to alienate, not fuse you to the music. I may be mistaken but I don’t think this ablum ever came out on CD etc. Take a hear and get lost in the 60’s. My favorite number was  and is ”Tequila”.

Coming back to ‘gold’, I just got reminded of another of my Ma’s legacy. The divine Gregory Peck in ‘Mackenna’s Gold’. He was my Ma’s favorite actor and soon wormed himself into a precocious six year old’s dreams.

Decades later, with the advent of the Internet, I was able to search out the girl with the golden bikini. Chris Cranston. I wonder if she will ever come to know the impact she had on a little girl in a remote state in the eastern part of India in the 70’s 🙂


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