Thursday, November 19, 2009

A thing of beauty...

... is a joy forever.

It's true: I've willed it be wrong and false and foolishly romantic and therefore fated to an early death - but it will not escape me.

I remember reading sometime back this article about a woman whose husband is her better (looking, in this case) half, and all the funny and no-so-funny things about this situation. It was an article I instantly connected to - and I read it with relish, imagining all those mean aunties (most of them on the husband's side I bravely admit, and some silent ones on my side as well) who muttered 'wonder what he sees in her'.

I've come back to this situation often. I did not blossom into the proverbial butterfly, I just became more comfortable with what I looked like. I was a typical geek in school - all gangly limbs, braces and glasses, longer-than-long oiled hair with plaits. And I went to a typically trendy convent high-school. And I was put down directly and indirectly about how I looked. And now when I meet ex-classmates, it's the pretty ones who say - oh, you look nice! - like it's an unexpected shock. I'm dramatically different from before - but it's not the difference so much as the adjective they use.

Although I don't subscribe to the theory that things are easier for pretty looking people, why in some case beautiful women are taken to be dumb and it's pretty frustrating for them - but I do know sometimes it is easier for them. A traffic snarl that can be solved with a smile. A crabby fight that just needs a certain look. This feeling of coming home dead tired and feeling better by just seeing someone's perfection. I also know you get immune to beauty when you live with it for too long - but never really immune. Beauty is the best epitaph.

Why am I here, writing this? I just came across someone from my school who I don't really remember, but who used to play Mary in all our Nativity plays. Because she's got glorious skin and is angelic and cherubic. Every year. Who said Mary was beautiful? The subconscious treatment that equates beauty with being above ordinary starts in school. Why don't they have a random straw poll and pick a Mary in schools? Why not the short one or the dark one or the one with the pug nose? It takes no acting talent: she just needs to sit there and smile, so I don't believe talent had anything to do with it. We've conveniently equated beautiful with the divine. Hence anyone else is lesser, mere mortal. Little girls with pink frilly frocks and cherubic cheeks versus little girls with broken hearts wondering why they can't play princess.

Is this the same thing as picking the best speaker for the debate competition? No. Talent can be nurtured, developed, everyone has a shot at it. Beauty? Why that's the one damn thing that's not really in your hands. You can go as far as well-groomed or well-turned-out or well-dressed, but beautiful? Not even under the scalpel.

When I saw her today - Mary from school - and I looked through her photographs from school and I sat bewitched and saw her beauty - and felt very frumpy myself. And sorta felt cheated. And a little hurt that my 'blossoming' never came. And worried how I'd react if I saw my son being held back from something he wanted to do because of how he'd look. And grateful that perhaps he'll have to put up with it lesser because he's a boy. Maybe. Big maybe there.

Ofcourse I do believe that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. I just wish all the beholders were are short-sighted as Nino's Dad.

26 comments:

Lippy said...

Nino's Dad sees in you what others so obviously miss. They do not know "you" as we do.

Luv always,
Lippy

SBora said...

Nino's mum- i havent met or have seen you but i know you are a beautiful person inside out simply by reading your honest, heartfelt posts.

you may not have blossomed in looks but am sure you have in many other ways.

chin up!

nitya said...

Listen you, don't you dare even think that my superhero is going to be anything less than gorgeous and cute.
Anyone who believes he is anything else obviously needs glasses or surgery.

Ma Ananda Atmapreeta said...

Why worry about the spare parts? Beauty comes and goes.

It is grace that is everpresent.

ask yourself this one question: If you ever really wanted something deep enough, could your looks stop you?

ChoxBox said...

well obviously all those folks haven't read what you write - straight from a beautiful heart.

girlonthebridge said...

Oh I'm not alien to the ghosts from the past who comment on my lack of frizziness (hello where I live I can also buy a hair dryer) or my general ability to pull an outfit together. I won't lie - I revel in their expanding backsides and try to forget the taunts about my dark skin.
But you my dear are just hankering for compliments. I will expose you to this blog world for who you are. You have no reason to relate to that article.

Ps: I deal with women hitting on my husband a lot. I love it, otherwise how would I know I chose well :)

sole said...

NM = BEAUTIFUL. Real world and blog world sees the same unparalled beauty in you and the comments confirm that! You've blossomed into something way beyond what people would call 'beautiful'. Don't you hear that all the time sweetie? What are you on about ...really ;)????

AverageJane said...

First timer here. Read a few of your older posts. And I'm so with Chox here. :) Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Hey Nino's mum! I could relate with this post so much. I was geeky in school, with oiled hair, spects and because in winters I feel colder than most normal human beings, I had a scarf on my head.

But seriously, looking at the pictures you had put up on your blog in some very old posts, I think you are quite attractive.

I do feel that good health is equal to beauty. Beautiful people sometimes don't take care of themselves and their beauty does not stay. But a healthy mind and body can go a long way.

So, my friend, please take good care of yourself, and take some time out for relaxation also. Treat yourself to a spa treatment :) And i am really sorry for this long preachy comment :)

Hugs and best wishes,
Anjali

Nino's Mum said...

Lippy - my loyal friend and reader, I'm so glad you commented! lotsa love.

SBora/chox/AverageJane/Sole/Anjali - thankyou - that is so sweet, but belive me, this post was not a seeker of reassurance of how I look :) although it is good to read all that you've so kindly said. I know where my insecurities come from - and most days I do okay facing them - yesterday I just got a flashback to how horrible school used to be. And I will be lying if I said I din't want to be prettier. It's on my list of wants: happier, prettier, calmer, wiser, more patient, richer... :) A long list, as you can see. big hug you guys.

Nitya - I lurve you woman!

Atmapreeta - Honestly, maybe not. But I've been in situations that have made that kind of clarity a little murky.

GonTB - look who's talking. Don't you remember I told you the husband said 'hawwt' in exactly that drawl when I showed him your pix?! and oh, other people hitting on my husband? I used to love it, now it's just plain irriating. honest ;)

Anjali - my dad says that all the time. And no, not preachy, just wise. and I could use every bit of wisdom! hugs dear friend.

Anonymous said...

Ooh! lovely header!

cheers,
Anjali

ChoxBox said...

huh thats you in the header?! and you wish you looked prettier?
*makes a mental note to wear a burkha whenever she meets N's mom*

nitya said...

Gasp. Is that you in the header? Reallllly? Many hugs to Nino... adorable he is.
@ Chox - Order a burkha for me as well, please.

A said...

Hey NM- here whilst blog hopping.. just wanted to let you know you have a nice space and could identify a lot with some of what you have written.. im glad i came by here..

http://chotusworld.wordpress.com

MOVED - To Wordpress said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henri said...

As Naomi Wolf would indeed agree with you that our notion of beauty is conditioned by media! Most of the women I know grew up feeling ugly and probably the description of how you looked in your school days would fit any of us! And most of them when I look at them now, I'd spread them on a cracker and eat them up happily :D! I am serious.

The concept of beauty and grace is so irritating! I'm a frump and I love it. No pressures of living up to the conventional standards and just chill! Have I had people who can love me for who I am sure, well more than some of the beauties I am sure ;) - We just don't give enough credit to others by trying to hide ourselves.

But I am glad Nino ki ma, that you have Nino ka pa who thinks you're an amazing woman - mind, body and soul and can look beyond your sometimes borderline paranoia :D

preetischronicle said...

that's you in the header, you look so lovely...yay!

Nino's Mum said...

Anjali/Preeti - thank you :)

Chox/Nitya - That's just my NICE side (profile), girls and STOP rigging me! lol! I actually expected this!

Henri - awww :) I wish I could say, like you, that I don't give a damn. Sigh. But you've given me food for thought.

Swapna said...

Aaah !
Its so good to have you back :-)
I used to lurk everyday ,waiting for a post from you :-)
Regarding beauty and couples , hmmm
I feel its more evident when the guy is prettier than his wife , if its the other way round, society roots for the guy who got a pretty wife , I wonder why ? ;-)
But I wait for the day when such discussions and such shallow thoughts never arise , for anyone .

ChoxBox said...

ask any artist worth his/her salt - if you look good in profile, you are pretty much a stunner.
you are one, and thats the truth!

Nino's Mum said...

Swapna - Good to hear from you. I totally heart what you say - my husband is the prettier one - I remember my sibling rigging me when I got pregnant, asking me not to look in the mirror and only look at Nino's Dad for obvious reasons!

chox - tight, rib-cracking squeeze.

sher khan said...

seeing ur profile in the header, you sure are beautiful :-)

dipali said...

I knew you were gorgeous even before I saw any of your pics.
That said, yes, what you say is so true. Too many choices are based on sheer physical beauty:(

Nino's Mum said...

sherkhan - thankyou!

dipali - so true, innit? big hug.

Poppy said...

Bang on about the Mary. There was a chick like that in my convent too !

I was always the plain jane in school and at home (had a tall fair sister) but somehow it never bothered me - I wonder why it didn't so that I can impart the same "I don't care what you think of my looks" quality to my two daughters who are very soon going to face this :(

Yes it is easier for boys in this one area. I see my darker skinned niece struggling through this at 11 years of age and I somehow want to reach out and say 'Don't worry, you can groom yourself when you grow up and outshine the beauties with your personality' but don't quite know how to say it without being preachy!

You are beautiful Nino's Mom!

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