Spinning on the dresser chair with half my body hanging in the air, I would eye my mother’s cosmetics, every time she was setting her room up: one of my time passing activities as a kid (because there were no gadgets and the television was timed). I loved fiddling with all her stuff, especially the musical trinket box, turning the key and leaving it to play some tune I don’t recall now. What I clearly remember is, there was a make-up brush stand with a porcelain face almost completely white. Every time she wasn’t around I would flip open a few lip shades and colour the porcelain face, my own master piece of work. I was pretty fascinated by it, ironically I hated any make up on myself. Maybe because my mom never encouraged us to use any products forget about make-up, or may be that was just a 90’s thing (things are pretty different with ‘kids these days’- saying that makes me feel older for some reason)
Introducing my childhood house helps and Tamil tutors, Jaya ma, Kuppu and Mary amma. Every morning they walked in with a bright smile flashing their crooked teeth, sporting a flower garland on their hair buns, and wrapping their ‘pallu’around to completely block any skin show. Sun-burnt skin, scaly palms and cracked feet, but they hardly ever let their difficulties show on their faces. They worked hard and toiled all day for their families, they made it look fun, chit-chatting and giggling away at intervals. I thought they were really beautiful people for all that they were. No make-up or style sense needed to impress. (Dress to Impress? really?)
There are more people I’ve met in my life, who’ve been such amazing sources of light by just their vibes; my Dad, he barely cares about his looks (I took that from him) and still manages to impress me with his confidence; my Yoga teacher DJ with her ‘haven’t you brushed your teeth?’ every time we frowned in a posture; My Gymnastics Master Gangadhar who made everything seem funny and still got us the results with his dedication; and the watchman uncle Selvaraj who always greets people like he’s younger than them. All these people didn’t make looking attractive their goal and they still got me feeling so happy.
I guess that’s why my idea of looking attractive was not defined by the way I looked, but by the choices I made and the way I thought. Even those adolescent years never let me get used to the so called ‘girly stuff’. Until only recently the whole idea of looking presentable became an obligation. I still had this mind block that I didn’t want to make an effort to look attractive. Running after looking attractive is like living in a beauty pageant-cum-truman’s show where a panel of people are always scrutinizing and scoring us. Wearing powders and tints, I thought, was for the shallow and insecure. This thinking was so wrong. Some people look at it like art, like fashion can be art too; while some look at it as tool to achieve attractiveness.
Attractiveness and beauty are not synonymous because Attraction is more about physical features and not personality. Attraction is like an animal instinct that all creatures have, to fulfill sexual needs, however only human minds can appreciate beauty. Mobula rays (fish) fly out of the water and land on the surface creating huge sounds, which attract the opposite gender. If you’ve seen the Wilson’s bird of paradise and how the male birds need to work hard to attract the female, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. So if I’m trying to be like these guys I’d probably make an effort to look attractive. However, make-up is not something I would use to express beauty, because beauty is a lot more than that.
(Honest confession- I did buy some vegan make up only last week, but I’ve mostly got it all sorted now in my mind, that… ..I’ve just wasted my money)
What is the expression of beauty and how do you see it? Real beauty cannot be captured on camera, and the verdict of beauty cannot be passed by a few pictures on social media, print media or digital media or any virtual artificial medium. Remember? it is in the eyes of the beholder— and what if we all are blind? Hence it’s not literally about seeing physical beauty of an individual face. Beauty to me is a feeling of Godliness, like a fleeting emotion of belonging to this existence and creation.
Soul touching music, the sound of birds in the quiet of the dawn, cool breeze scraping your skin and that earthy smell in the air just before a heavy rain; stories and memories are beautiful they have such an impact on our lives; Hugging someone and sharing your thoughts can be beautiful. Watching the little sapling in your garden grow into a big tree is beautiful, we can’t create that but we are a witness and that’s the glory of it. When babies smile to a silly peek-a-boo, the red colour of the rising sunrise, a stranger ending up becoming your best friend, raindrops crashing on the ground, making of airplanes or even watches, creation of garlands, a simple painting, a poem that means something to you, culture and there isn’t a dearth of beauty so I’ll stop there. Something having the power to influence us to feel like the sparkling in a drink, bubbling with joy (oye bubbly bubble oye) and a jumpy heart—could be exclaimed as beautiful.
Are you chasing beauty? Good news, you don’t need to; you just need to own your raw self. The one who is confident, takes pride in their flaws, spots beauty outside themselves with ease, feels kindness in their bones and has an undying spirit to enjoy life with a smile. Make it rock solid by reaching that person inside yourself, everyone has a shard of beautiful inside them. The magic is if you put some focus light on it, it prisms on everyone who meets you. So what’s your new standard of being beautiful?
You is kind, You is grateful, You is ‘Beautiful’
If you haven’t seen this movie, watch it for good perspective- THE HELP