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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Beauty - Not How You Look But Who You Are

Was switching channels late night yesterday and came across this documentary on the Indian actress Freida Pinto, though really not quite sure if she still considers herself Indian or not, given her inclination towards all things Western and her sudden (smart move though) adoption of Hollywood and the Western film world.

The programme mentioned Freida Pinto as ‘The Ultimate Indian beauty’…ummm….welll….uhhhh……really?

Slumdod Millionaire was a nice movie…no doubt about it, but was it the only great movie that India has ever produced? And were the cast and crew who were a part of the movie the only good ‘talent’ we have in India? Come on, we all know we have done way better than this……agreed it was a nice movie, but I feel all the brouhaha surrounding it was quite too much, almost bordering on the point of being insane…..
Now who really thinks the ‘Jai Ho’ song is Rehman’s best till date? Well I wont say much about his talent or compositions here, but the fact is, listen to five songs of his and you have almost heard most of the work he has ever done or will do…
And what about the amazing singer Sukhwinder who actually sang Jai Ho? Did he even get the credit for the superb performance? Poor guy did not even get the visa clearance to travel for the Oscars…what a shame!!!!

I was watching the documentary and it was obvious the western movie people are much besotted with Ms. Pinto. Which is a great thing given the fact that in India, being dark or wheatish is considered an insult and unless you are fair, you are not really beautiful and capable of success (as per the #$%-headed fair and the lovely people in India) While someone tended to her hair, another was applying make-up, asking her in-between if she was happy with the look, someone was arranging food, someone water, someone procuring an umbrella to cover her when she walked out in the sun. There were people all around her, tending to her, looking after her, making her look good for the way it is needed in front of the camera and for the many glamorous shoots – it was all fine…But what I felt was not fine was the description of Freida Pinto as being the most beautiful face in India – a great body, yes, but the most beautiful Indian woman? Well that she seriously ain’t.

I have been born and lived in this country all my life and know for a fact that India is brimming with beauty. Agreed Indian women may not be of the slim build as many women in other parts of the globe – but when did beauty have anything to do with your waist size?

Look around you and I am sure you will see many beautiful faces. Why go elsewhere, look within your home first, what about your mom? Well, you may not think she is the typical ‘beauty’ now, but take a look at those old family albums and the B&W and sepia faces peeping out, you will soon know what I mean.
Or look at your neighbour, yes, the one who stands quietly in the lift each day as maybe you are all running out in the rush office hour. Isn’t she beautiful? She may not be the anorexic size-zero that is now the fad and definition of being beautiful, but catch her giving that good-morning smile to the watchman or sharing a candy with the kid standing out on the road and you will know what I mean.
That chubby mother buying vegetables at the local market - her son jumping around, hardly listening to her telling him to stand still – and there comes the slap on the back and the wail. For that moment you would never think she is beautiful, a chubby, out-of-shape mother slapping her child, how can that be beautiful? But look at her the next instant, leaving the vegetable bag and, instead, bending down to her child, wiping his tears and hugging him, apologizing for her anger and her eyes wet seeing her child cry – look at her then, isn’t she beautiful?
Your mad friend, the one who talks too much and is always fighting, the one who is always the tomboy and beauty is the last word you can associate with her, hear her concern when you call her at 2 in the night telling her about your worries and talking your heart out. When you hear her silence, tuned in to what you are saying and concerned for you to be happy, don’t you know then she is the most beautiful friend you have?
Your landlady may be the typical nagging woman you so hate, but remember those days when you were sick and missing your mom’s home-cooked meal, and surprise surprise, your landlady turned up at the door with a home-cooked dinner? Wasn’t she really beautiful in her care that moment?

Calling Freida Pinto beautiful is appropriate, and if she happens to read this at any point of time, I hope she does not have anything against me, I am acknowledging the fact that she is beautiful. But my problem is simply this – that no one has the right to label a face as being the most beautiful – what are the parameters? On what are you judging? A face that may be the most beautiful to you may simply be another ordinary face to me, and of course vice versa.

Beauty is neither skin-deep nor limited to follow labels and traditions set by society. Beauty is what you have within, in your heart and in your soul, beauty is how you look and behave towards other fellow humans, how you respect the other, how much love and care in your heart to give to the one who needs it. Beauty is not just a fad, it’s a definition of the person you are, the personality you carry.
The exterior may be beautiful, but if the heart is not, it’s just a shallow shell you wear in public each day.