Saturday, June 04, 2011

Beauty and Reality

Beauty is highly overrated, I think.

No, I wasn't always so progressive in my thoughts. In fact, I shed copious amount of tears when in class X because of the dubious power of this strange myth of beauty. I was very much in love with a classmate and he didn't reciprocate. A close common friend consoled me by what now seems like a most unappropriate piece of wisdom. That I should get used early to the fact that only beautiful people are always going to be in demand. Moral of the story : I wasn't beautiful.

I was silly enough to believe in what she said and withdraw into a shell. It took me many years, a very dear friend (whom I might almost have married, he was so kind to me), several marriage photographs and a lot of adoring youngsters to convince me that I was actually beautiful.

Mind you, that beauty has not been conventional, nor merely physical. I often wondered why so many people have called me beautiful when I myself saw nothing in the mirror to allow me to agree with them. I realised that much later when I wondered why so many people either loved me or hated me, but certainly couldn't overlook me. They saw in me what I failed to see myself : confidence, sincerity, charisma, dignity, goodwill, optimism, hope, contentment, potential, happiness. In short, it was what I felt inside that lent that radiant glow to my face. In other words, I had then looked as if life suited me. And that made me beautiful to them.

It makes sense, I've realised since. Don't we all consider our mothers the most beautiful women in the world ? In most cases, their features are neither the most symmetrical, nor the most regular in the world nor their smiles as dazzling as those of Madhuri Dixit or Julia Roberts. And yet, we insist on considering them beautiful enough to light up our lives and hearts. What is it, then, that makes us feel that way ?

And what about our partners ? My husband doesn't know whether to laugh or cry when I tell him he's the most handsome man in my life. He insists that he's tall and dark, but that the last adjective is something my enormously fertile imagination has conjured up out of my lingering adolescent attachment to Mills and Boons-esque heroes. I persist and believe me, I still think that way after three years of marriage.

That accounts for a lot, I would say. I have often called beautiful a lot of people in whom acquaintances saw nothing worth eulogising. Naturally, that has often perplexed me. Later I reasoned that it was probably because I had seen a side of these people that the pessimists around me hadn't. A flash of kindness, a streak of sunshine, a tang of truthfulness that had eluded the kaleidoscopic attention of impatient passers-by. Some little iridescence that had branded them as beautiful to me forever.

Labels have always evoked negative emotions in me. Even when they have not affected me on a personal basis. However, if a label brings a smile to someone's face, it's worth it. So go on, call the people in your life beautiful. But please don't do it because of the wrong reasons. Do it because you believe that it's true. Your soul should show through.

This post is an entry for the Yahoo! India and Dove 'I Believe in Real Beauty' contest. So do drop by at

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2 comments:

"Purple Heart" Sam said...

It was really touchy especially the part with the silly moral! beautiful people are always in demand and the way you took it!!!! it was quite a read, witty yet touchy... cant really describe but can say that i liked it!... :)

Someone is Special said...

I am touched..here is a heart expressing what does true beauty means

Someone is Special

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