But we have yet to summon up the courage to have a real relationship with it! To have that heartfelt conversation.
In an “inflinte algebra” of beauty as aspiration we reduce it to a Golden Ratio. Computing, calculating, the mask for the perfect face is engaged with. At times with a scalpel, other times with digital pixels. From shopping (for Dr Beauty) to photo shopping, hasn't that been our journey so far !
Not for mere mortals us, no no, we place beauty with great reverence on a divine pedestal. Ram and Sita, the golden couple. Lakshmi, the embodiment of beauty. The hand of a Muslim, my hand, will tremble before attempting any pictorial representation of the Prophet. Allah. But the subtext of my school textbooks for the Prophet was always that of a 'handsome constitution'. And in the by lanes of Kolkata come Durga Puja goddesses of another kind might step out of celluloid morphing into clay if the artisan is so coaxed. Elsewhere in popular culture, Jesus walks in beauty. Yes beauty is for the gods, we tell ourselves.
For the devotee, it will only bring anxiety.
The hand will hasten to affix a black dot lest beauty attracts the evil eye. Black beads jostle for space against a turquoise third eye. A new mother furtively slips a knife, anything metal, under the baby's mattress, never brave enough to celebrate her baby's innocent beauty. Nazar na lag jaaye, lest I take too much pride in it, she crosses herself.
We admonish ourselves for pausing for that extra minute in front of the mirror, watch young women with a hawk eye. Do not flaunt it. You have all your life. Later, later, when you are in your own home. Only then. For him.
And there is a whole industry devoted to the 'curse of beauty' as we maliciously salivate over the lives, loves and loss (well mostly the loss) of the Faces of Our Times. That fine looking boy next door; the confident, bright woman down the road. The delicious feeling of schadenfreude as we pronounce them headed for a fall.
We treat beauty as currency, trading a fair face for social capital; and once acquired for our family, we monitor it jealously. Suspicious of every step it takes. Every breath (was that a sigh for a lost lover?). Every glance, lest it is a furtive look at a paramour.
We punish it for alleged arrogance, how dare it thwart our advances? Reject me? I will strip it with acid. But did you reach its inner core, it asks you. The beauty of spirit that spoke its mind and did not cower in terror!
So when the world is ready to listen, it will whisper to you its story. Beauty will tell you, I am you, and you me. Unafraid. Celebrate me. Do not covet. I am in your every day. You are part of the Divine. It walks along. It has always been part of you. Beauty will speak softly if you care to listen, I am simple. I am that scar, your badge of honour. The white hair, that first smile. Your songs, your tears, but never your envy, your greed. When you loved it, but not when you cloistered it.
Dear Reader, have you read N M Rashid?
Zindagi se darte hoZindagi to tum bhi ho
Zindagi to hum bhi hain
(translated and I apologize not very well, by me as Scared of Life Are You? When Life Has Been You . And It Is Me)
So I ask you why so afraid of beauty?
Beauty Is Real
And Yes I Believe in Real Beauty. But Do You?
(The above blog post is part of a competition hosted by Dove, Yahoo!India, and IndiBlogger. But, as regular readers will recognize the rant and some raving is a standard feature!)