Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, says an old saying. It is said that Laila was dark, skinny, with cracked lips and blackened teeth. She had a tobacco and paan chewing habit. But to the smitten Majnu, she was beautiful, and he gave his life up for her.
When I hear the term “Classic Beauty” I wonder. Perception of beauty is a very subjective thing, and every country has its own ideal. And then there is the matter of personal taste. Some people may find a cine star lovely, others may find her too artificial.
So what is real beauty? It took me almost a lifetime to get the answer.
As a child, I was one of those who can be called “cute” or “pretty”. My father did not like that at all. He was of the opinion that most good looking adults are shallow. So high sounding phrases like “Beauty is as Beauty does” and “Cultivating the inner self” etc. became subject of discourse. Not that it mattered to me. I basked in admiration and developed into a vain girl. Things come easy to pretty girls, which suited me, and I really liked the impression I created.
Thank God anorexia was not something we heard of then, otherwise, given the time I spent preening in front of the mirror, I was the right candidate for it.
As I grew up, I became interested in dramatics. Of course, I accepted none other than the leading female role. As I became proficient in emoting, I stared getting small jobs as a model and was offered a job as a leading actress in movies. My mother thought the producer was sleazy and freaked. She must have been right, he is not a big name and I never heard of any movie by a production house with that name. But I was young and over the moon! That led to a lot of unpleasantness at home. The parents disapproved, to put it mildly. It had nothing to do with “inner self” and “moral fiber”. Real beauty, as per my parents, had nothing to do with good features and fair skin. That was just a genetic gift.
It had nothing to do with all the time I spent in front of the mirror and all the products I slathered on my self. That was superficial, and not long lasting. Oh, I resented their sermons and even laughed at this obsession with the inner self.
Now I am fifty plus, and life has taught me much, but has taken away that fresh cutesy look of yore. Whatever claims I had towards attractiveness have been ravaged by time, and a lifetime’s worth of indulgence in food. I look at myself in the mirror and see an old woman, with graying hair and an expanding girth. So, does that make me ugly?
No, it does not.
When my sons hug me, snuggle into me and look me in the eyes, I see love. It makes me feel beautiful. When they say, “You are the best Mom” I feel lovely. I want to look my best for them.
When my partner looks at me with loving eyes and says, “You look so wonderful” it makes me feel gorgeous, like a goddess, or like Helen of Troy. I want to shine, to see the adoration in his eyes.
Perhaps my father spoke sense. True beauty is something that emanates from some where inside a person. And he really pushed me into developing the inner me.
But packaging is important too. We do live in a world where impressions matter. My beauty is real, it stems from the inner me, but I still spend time in front of the mirror and slathering products on my self. It satisfies the inner me.
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This post is written for the Indiblogger and Dove Real Beauty Contest. Check out this contest people. The first prize is for Rs 1 Lakh. I think its the highest ever amount for blogging