Beauty, An Elusive Concept

On various occasions I have felt the need to pen down something about my concept of beauty, or at the very least appreciate some other woman’s idea of good looks. In retrospect these instances were preceded by someone hinting at how I am not exactly what you call stunning. Each time I was at the brink of writing a piece on what ‘true beauty’ meant to me, I would rein in before I went ahead and tried to exonerate my looks. I stopped myself, because I do not think it is something that needed validation to begin with.

However, once I got chicken-pox and had the world look at me like I were a leper, I could not help but stare at my face in the mirror and notice the increasing number of boils all over my face. At that point I decided that if ever there was a time I needed to assure myself by writing out an entire piece on my views on true beauty, it was now. So here I am, doing the one thing I would not normally allow myself to do, but now find myself with the only excuse I will ever have to allow myself this indiscretion.

Let me spare you the details of my life and how that has helped me shape my idea of what beauty means to me. In stead, I shall focus on a couple of incidents that would maybe show you what I thought of beauty at various stages of my life so far.

I was in 6th grade when some teacher in class talked about beauty being that inner light that burns very brightly in some individuals. I made it a self-assigned project for the next month or so to look for that inner light and (not so) surprisingly, I managed to find that light (it was pure white in colour actually), in every person I looked at for an entire month. If you ask me today, I would tell you that I was young and stupid and had a lot of free time on my side. I have not ventured to perform such an exercise in the past 9 years and hope to die with the belief that it was just some part of me that was hoping that, as long as I saw something worth admiring in everyone around me, they would see something similar in me.

The Indian economy is on the race to become the largest on the globe.  If you ask me, they could speed up the process by releasing a few more of those ‘fair and lovely’ adverts (wait a minute now, they even have ‘fair and handsome’ for all those not-so-fair lads out there!). It is way beyond amazing, how narrow the perception of beauty in India is. You can see it all around you, in the way ‘fair’ (or ‘not fair’) is the first and most basic physical feature that they find the need to describe about any girl; the classifieds for ‘bridegrooms wanted’ pretty much starts with ‘fair’ (God help you if you do not fall under this category!). ‘Flawed’ does not even begin to explain how wrong they are. The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the meaning of fair as, “the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit”. However, Indians have grown to describe beauty and fairness as having a light complexion of skin. So, my one question to my race is, are all Caucasians ‘beautiful’ by default then?

Lately, I have had a couple of instances when the shopkeeper tries to sell off a face-wash to you with the promises that it will turn you fairer. The last time a shopkeeper tried to sell me an extra item, I told him, ‘I had come here to buy items X, Y and Z, and that is all I shall be buying this time!’ If you expect to get your products sold by telling the customer that she does not look good enough ~ Sorry, You have knocked on the wrong doors!

I was recently told that a person I knew thought I was ‘fugly’. Whoa! Congratulations on trying to injure my self-worth! Thankfully though, I happen to count on my grey cells more than my skin for assurance of my self-esteem. And I also happen to have friends who are there to remind me in my moments of uncertainty that, being confident about who I am is one of my most beautiful characteristics!

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Comments
2 Responses to “Beauty, An Elusive Concept”
  1. donitajose says:

    and on the ending note,your blog is beautiful! 🙂

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