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Author Juliet Philip shares the story of how the Amul Butter woman shaped her teenage rebel feminist years
I grew up in the world of the Amul Butter Girl, India.
The butter girl was the stellar protagonist for the TV commercial advertising soft, golden Amul butter. She wore a polka dotted dress and a blue half ponytail. Always, the butter girl urged people to slap more butter on anything and everything.
Her solution to any kind of misery was butter. She also proposed butter to celebrate a happy occasion.
The Amul butter girl was the Amazonian Goddess—opinionated and informed about everything happening in India and elsewhere, and the butter she advertised was ambrosia when paired with the white, chemically bleached but delicious Wibs bread.
Because I was raised in a close-knit Indian Catholic family, I gave thanks to the Father in heaven for the butter and prayed the Amul Butter Girl’s prayer, “Our Father, who art in heaven…Give us this day our daily bread with Amul Butter…”
However, when the butter girl’s commercial was not showing, people used religion as leverage to kill on TV, so during my teenage years, along with praying the Butter Girl’s prayer, becoming an agnostic egalitarian and taking the contrarian, opposed view on everything had seemed like the coolest and most ‘intellectual’ move. I tried to be the difference I wanted to see, so I gave thanks to the sacred cow which facilitated the butter and the heavenly Father. I had felt the pressure to belong to something cool and different—someone who would teach and spark a change. The desire was strong. This meant that when people were getting blown up on TV because of some frequent riot, my role would be to gasp in horror and say, “Why can’t everybody just believe in what they believe in and not insist on others believing in what they believe in? Are people that obtuse? Why can’t people channelize their thoughts and energy into just feeling good and not at the cost of others?”
Some people who heard me would say, “You are in complete darkness” who were immediately supported by others who asked, “Do you go every Sunday for mass?” who were immediately supported by others who would say, “These Christian women are all like that.”
As a teenager, I feared that if the sacred cow heard my prayer to the Father in heaven, she would refuse to give me Amul butter. I also feared that if I prayed to the sacred cow, the heavenly Father would send me to hell.
Oh, the painful mishmash of those kaleidoscopic beliefs I held.
To coexist and so I could build on quiet, inner strength, for my own sanity, I tweaked the butter prayer, in my teenage head: ‘Your heavenly Father will provide the bleached bread, and the sacred cow will provide the butter. You butter believe in one or both or nothing at all, or you might suffer in hell where there is no butter or get blown up in a train en route to school.’
The trying to have a cooler, more ‘intellectual’ opinion yet wanting to be a good, patriotic Catholic girl was so exhausting. I wanted to escape the madness yet stay back in India—evolve—and serve as an inspiration for change.
What could I, a teenager possibly do? And doesn’t it seem a little arrogant for me to think that I needed to spark a change?
So, holding true the tweaked butter law in my head, I also tried to hate everybody and be angry with everything. I felt empowered in anger.
I remember the generation of Indian women I was born into were rebel feminist women.
These women didn’t care if butter came from the cow, the butterfly—as long as the butter didn’t fly away, the Heavenly Father—as long as they didn’t have to milk Him or the squirrel—as long as it tasted like peanut butter because of those nuts those squirrels nibbled on.
The rebel women just cared about getting their butter, and they believed they would get it from somewhere—the cow, the Heavenly Father, the lion whose udders gave them shudders, or the Amul Butter Girl would deliver it herself.
Throughout my growing years, I fought for my freedom—the freedom that was ironically always mine to begin with. I fought for something that always belonged to me but did not have access to because of the limiting beliefs I held, the predominant thoughts I had access to as a teenager and the patterns I observed growing up. My teenage self was a rebel feminist prisoner fettered in my own mind wanting to be free from the shackles I made her wear and there was much restless youth angst.
When I struggled with something, I often wished the clouds would part and a loud voice would answer all my questions and give me more direction. But it never happened, so for the sake of some shifting in my beliefs and thoughts, my own weird, delusional buttery belief often brought me much delicious relief.
I don’t hold the buttery belief any more.
I now believe that Amul butter, the perky Amul Butter Girl, the Heavenly Father, the cow, the keyboard I use to type, my coffee mug, my Mom, you and me are each a part of each other and each a part of God. When broken down, we’re all dancing particles in an ageless, timeless, spaceless dimension. Each of us is already a miracle and capable of creating more miracles because we’re each a part of God. God does not want us to screech or plea for butter; God only wants to remind us of how powerful we truly are.
The Runaway Daughter to be released as The Prostitute’s Daughter in India is my feeble attempt to motivate people to consciously and deliberately make their dreams come true.
The Amul Butter Girl now Amul Butter Woman, still holds the same buttery law and possesses many butter powers as she churns out more beautiful, magical butter for us all. Last I recall, Amul butter comes from the sacred cow—it tastes like butter, does not fly away and the Heavenly Father eats it too.
Thank you, Amul Butter Woman.
Juliet Philip is an Author and writes ‘magical books’ for children, young adults and grown-ups too. You can find her at Juliet’s Magical Babbles.
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