Tuesday, April 02, 2013

B is for . . . Beauty

Image Courtesy: Raj Manchekar
Hey, Babies,

Time for the second letter of the English Alphabet. In your book, La Niña, B is for butterfly. In mine, B is for Beauty. Let's clarify the definition of beauty for you right now because it's going to be weighing heavily on your minds, even preying on you, less than a decade from now.

As you grow older, you'll get the impression that being good looking is everything. This applies more to you, La Niña, although in recent times, society has also upped the pressure on men, under the guise of calling them metrosexuals, so you had better pay attention too, El Niño.

This isn't about whether your body is toned, or your eyebrows are tweaked or your arms are waxed. This is about your idea of what constitutes beautiful.


True beauty is more than pretty or handsome. Pretty and handsome will pass away, but Beauty remains. My grandmother's face was a mass of wrinkles, and yet she was one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen. Her face spoke of a hard life lived bravely. Of being widowed at 25 with five little children, the youngest, your grandma, less than a year old. Of raising them on her own, working hard in the fields, skimping and saving. Of laughter, worry, fear, despair, loneliness, sorrow, all etching furrows in the once-pretty face.

Hers is just one of many faces, belonging to people I have been privileged to know, that remind me that good looks are fleeting. The black hair gives way to greys, the blotches on the face don't go away. The texture of the skin looks like something that someone left too long in the sun.

Make no mistake. The face you have at 16 and possibly for a decade and more after that is the face that is yours through some sort of a cosmic lottery and, of course, good genes help. But the face you'll have for the greatest part of your life is the one that you deserve.



The ads will spin another yarn. They will tell you that it is possible to become more beautiful, get fairer, younger looking skin out of a bottle or a plastic tube. There is an ad on TV that says I will be spared the seven signs of aging if I use their cream. Don't ever believe such drivel.

Double chin, buck teeth, squint eye, pimples, no bar. They are all irrelevant to true beauty. If there is sunshine, truth and joy in your heart and soul, you are beautiful. If there is garbage in your heart and soul, it will show up on your face, even if you spend a fortune on cleaning up the mess and removing the stink. Sooner or later, our faces turn into our autobiographies. 

My wish for the two of you is that you may never see yourself as ugly or dismiss another as so. That you may never let the finery of what is after all only the shop window determine the intrinsic worth of a person.

That's it for today. C you tomorrow. :)



PS In your Mamma's astute eyes, you'll always be beautiful.








43 comments:

  1. Loved what you said, "sooner or later, our faces turn into our autobiographies" and yet another very beautiful lesson for the lil ones... :)

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  2. Thank you, Shilpa. This one was a very important lesson. I spent a lot of my growing years stressing over the fact that I wasn't pretty like the other girls. I wish I had known then that good looks aren't everything.

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  3. A they say beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Nice and very good advice not just to the little ones but to all of us.

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  4. True to every word!

    Good looks are fleeting and I am glad that I am beautiful inside and I don't let anything else tell me otherwise! :D

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  5. Brilliant post. Brought a lump in my throat when I read about the Great Granny. Beautiful and hard hitting choice of words - your endings are a hoot! And the title of your blog is just as lovely! Glad to have crossed paths with you - that is the best part of the challenge this time, meeting all the talents:-)

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  6. Wow! One of the nicest posts I've read. Its what we need to give our children - a sense of belief and courage to fight for what is right, and believe in truth. Bookmarking this post.

    Meera

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  7. Amen to that!! Lovely post, Cynthia!

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  8. If there is sunshine, truth and joy in your heart and soul, you are beautiful. If there is garbage in your heart and soul, it will show up on your face .... Words to live by.
    This is a fantastic lesson not only for your kids but for everyone reading this post too !
    True beauty comes from within ....

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  9. That was really lovely. I agree to you completely and feel the same deeply. I am a stout girl and have been trying hard to get into proper shape since a decade. Didnt get much success in my journey and was feeling too low because of the same. Last month I got the news that I have been selected for "Teach For India" fellowhip which was my dream since last 5 years. Now I feel so proud of myself at the fact that I will be a part of journey to remove education inequity in our country. Truely, what you feel about yourself is more important than what others feel about you.

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  10. Thank you, Suzy, and well said. Unfortunately, we don't always remember that when it comes to seeing beauty in ourselves.

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  11. Wow! I love that confidence. You are beautiful from the inside and out, Priyanka

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  12. Lovely !
    Am sure ur kids will love reading this Cynthia :)

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  13. Thank you, Aarti's mom. I still recall my grandmother's face. There were so many wrinkles there that the whole face appeared creased. As for the endings, I don't know how long I could keep going. I agree with you about the best part of the challenge being meeting all the talents. And another really good part is forging new friendships :-)

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  14. Thank you, Meera. As parents, we have the opportunity to teach our kids good things, knowing well that someday they will be sharing those values with their kids, the way we are passing on our own values to them today.

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  15. I must make a confession to you, Ruchira. Writing these posts also helps reinforce these lessons for me. Even at my age, when I really should know better, I have doubts when I look in the mirror and start thinking ill of myself.

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  16. Such a lovely post ...brought a lump to my throat ...especially about your grandmother :)

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  17. Wow, Sampada, I was looking at the Teach for India website just last week and I was thinking about the dedication and commitment that a fellowship called for. Congratulations on being selected as a fellow by the Teach for India group. You are indeed beautiful. You have shown yourself willing and able to make a difference to right the education ills of our country. I am very happy to meet you.

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  18. Thank you, Afshan. I can't wait for them to grow up and learn to read. :)

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  19. Thank you, Sridevi. Our elders really proved their beauty by their actions and their love. :)

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  20. this is something every parents should tell their kids irrespective of their gender.

    Loved every word you wrote here.

    and i am glad i have not fallen for the beauty products. All thanks to my mom for that.

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  21. Loved loved loved loved this one <3

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  22. Thank you Preetilata, the media does such a good job of raising good looking people on a pedestal, it really makes everyone else feel incomplete. We must consciously remind ourselves that real beauty doesn't fade away. Kudos to your mom for raising a strong daughter.

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  23. Every word rings true. I love this post so much I am sharing it.

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  24. Such truth in the fact that soon our faces reflect our choices, our disposition. I hope you're also keeping hard copies of these posts for your kids - they're priceless, Cynthia.

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  25. That is a great idea, Corinne. It didn't occur to me at all. I just assumed my kids would read them when they learned to.

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  26. Beautiful! Thanks to Shail who shared this post on FB, I could hop by and read your thoughts that you so wonderfully conveyed to your children.

    Thank you for sharing, Cynthia. Your lil ones are truly blessed!

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  27. Cynthia, I am loving the dialogue. I actually wrote a post with B for Beauty but found that it suited another letter better!

    You know, if you continue in this thread, there's a book there :-)

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  28. Hi, Vidya, I look forward to reading about Beauty whenever and in whichever form you post it.
    And thanks for the idea for the book. I've been sweating over my short stories for years, but I didn't see the book potential in this one.

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  29. Beauty is absolutely in the eyes of the beholder, and it is is in the heart of the person being beheld. Look forward to the rest of your challenge posts!
    Damyanti @Daily(w)rite
    Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2013

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

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  30. Thank you, Damyanti. You put it in a nutshell.

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  31. Love the phrase (our faces turn into our Autobiography's) Hope my wrinkle come from smiles. Happy A-Z Challenge.

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  32. Thank you, Janu, I appreciate your feedback.

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  33. They certainly will, Changes in the wind. Thank you for your comment. I wish you a great A-Z challenge too.

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  34. Can I just say beautiful post?

    Your lines "sooner or later, our faces turn into our autobiographies" is so true.

    Looks are immaterial, its the personality that outshines outer beauty.

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  35. Thank you, Nandana. I hope my kids think my autobiography is worth reading when I am old.

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  36. Awesomely beautiful post! After all, it's the wrinkles that tell the story of a person. And now that I have started getting wrinkles, double chin, grey hair and yet my pimples keep coming... this post is especially making me feel so good!
    See you around the A-Z challenge!

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  37. Hey Anuradha, what wrinkles, what grey hair, what pimples are you talking about?
    You are lovely, inside and out, with a healthy imagination to boot. Ha! Double chin indeed!
    Take care and see you around.

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  38. True, Cynthia. Beauty is fleeting. Your choice words is wonderful. Beautiful post. You are really a beautiful person and the post reflects it.

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