Category Archives: Beauty

>"Was this the face that launched a thousand ships…"*

>Discrimination works both ways – there’s the ugly duckling and then there’s the pretty chick, and if it’s unfair to judge the ugly duckling for the way it looks, it’s also unfair to judge a pretty face for the same reason.

Because there’s more to a pretty face than the pretty face alone. Why is it so difficult to stomach that a pretty girl and a handsome boy can get ahead in life on the strength of more than his or her looks? And why is it so easy to dismiss their success as a by-product of their good looks?

It would be foolish to think that anyone who is even a tad bit good looking doesn’t know it. And while beauty does lie in the eye of the beholder, there is no such thing as living in ignorance of your own beauty. You do know if you’re average-looking, then why expect a good looking person to not know the same about him or herself?

And here are some questions I’d like you to think about:
1. Once you know you’re beautiful or any synonym of that, what do you do with it?

2. I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t enjoy a little bit of attention and if it comes for the way one looks, no harm in it. But do you use your looks to get attention? And if you do that, is it wrong?

3. Do you get attention for your looks in the way you like it or is it a whole lot of unwanted attention as well?

4. Is it okay to say you’re intelligent, but not okay to say you’re pretty because the latter may be construed as being vain?

Thanks to my genes, I’m born with the kind of complexion fairness creams are advertised for. I’m slim and I think I dress well. I’m very happy and very thankful for the way I look. I get a lot of attention for all those reasons. But not always does it come the way I can enjoy it.

I have been called khadia, chalk, tube light and more such things by complete strangers on the road. ‘Milk’ is a common refrain among comments from eve teasers. None of it is flattering.

I studied in an all-girls school and girls weren’t very forthcoming with compliments. I never got any attention for the way I looked except critical comments. I was told my face would soon merge with the colour of the walls and because I was plump-ish, that I looked like a cow! I was labelled “arrogant” and “proud” for no apparent reason.

I remember working like a slave in my first year at work. I did not have a slave-driver for a boss, but I was extremely driven to prove myself. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Just before the appraisals though, a rumour was floated in the office saying that the responsibilities I got, the praise, the attention was not for my work but because of the way I looked. I hated to think that because I looked the way I did, I needed to prove my competence twice over! It bothered me when a colleague (whom I considered my friend) said that there was something about my looks that gave credence to those kinds of rumours. That it was easy to associate me with frills and fluff because I wasn’t dowdy, took care of my skin and feet and bothered to think about how I looked in the clothes I wore.

To revel in the fact that you’re nice looking is not the equivalent of negating the prowess of your mental faculties. When I started this blog over two years ago, I had a picture of me put up here. Yes, me, who now blogs anonymously (for most people at least) started out with a real face and a real name! But anything I wrote invariably invited comments linking my thoughts to my looks. I wanted to be read for what I was writing and not for how I looked, which is why I removed my pic. A certain male blogger forced me to turn on comments moderation on my blog because his comments focussed so much on his assumptions of what I must think because of how I look. It was irritating, to say the least, that I had to justify my stance as being independent of how I look.
After reading this post, there will be people who may think, “So she thinks she’s pretty, huh!” and will think that as if it’s a bad thing.

But the point of the post is not whether I think I look this or that. The point is that while it feels great to look good, it also feels horrible when people assume you must be a certain type of person if you’re good looking.

*From Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe.
This is a reference to the beauty of Helen of Troy. Her abduction by Paris was said to be the reason for the Trojan Wars.


>When I fell in love with a wobbly-kneed Uncle

>Miracles do happen. If I can wake up at 5 o’clock and go for a morning walk, there’s no reason to not believe that.

Having said that, let me get to the point of the post. Hear out this conversation I had with a wobbly-kneed uncle on the walk. I’d just satten – I know there’s no word like that, but I think there should be! Okay, so I’d just satten myself down on a bench to catch my breath after a 3.5 km walk when a friendly octagenarian Uncle started chatting with me.

Uncle: Tired?

Me: Ji uncle. (Yes, Uncle).

Uncle: Roz aati ho beta?

Me: Not really uncle.

Uncle: Achcha, chuttiyan ho gayi na… (Okay, the vacations have started now…)

Me: *Keep mum and smile*

Uncle: Kahan padh rahi ho beta?

Me: *Look sheepishly* I’m working Uncle.

Uncle: *Wide-eyed, jaw dropping, pupils popping out* Achcha?! *Looks at me disbelievingly* Lagta nahin hai! Tum 16-17 saal se zyaada ki nahin lagti ho… Kamaal ho gaya! (You don’t look older than a 16-17 year old. Wonderful)
*That’s the point I fell in love with him!*

Me: *Smile ear to ear*

Uncle: Bahut achchi baat hai beta, bahut well maintained ho! Kahan kaam kar rahi ho? (Very good. You’ve maintained yourself very well. So where do you work?)

Me: ABC (I just tell him the name of my company. Didn’t have the heart to tell him I actually run my own business. Was afraid his eyes may just fall off their sockets).

Uncle: Very good, very good!

Me: *Getting up with renewed energy, an extra spring in my step and ready to sprint to the next 1.5 km mark* Thank you Uncle!

Now you tell me, if being judged some 15 years younger than what I am is not healthy for my ego, what is? Could Santoor (remember that ‘Meri twacha se meri umra ka pata hi nahin chalta’ ad for the soap?) want me for their next commercial?!

>A stranger’s touch

>His palm was pressed lightly against the back of my head as his thumb manoeuvred down to the nape of my neck. He weaved his fingers through my hair and gently massaged my temples. I closed my eyes and felt my whole body relax. It was the first time a stranger had touched me like this and it felt queer to be enjoying the hands of an unknown man on my body. He explored the lobes of my ear with his long fingers, taking them behind my ears, stimulating hidden pressure points where I was aware of none. The temptation was too much; I had to give in to the pleasure that swept my body as he let his hands fall gently to my shoulders, knowing exactly where to touch me to melt my resistance into easy acquiescence.

My taut muscles seemed to dissipate under his pummelling and pressing as he worked his hands up and down my back. I could feel his warm finger tips through my cotton shirt. But I couldn’t stop him. “Do you like that?” he asked me softly, careful to give me only as much as I could handle. I nodded silently, too weak to say he should now stop.

He switched off the lights and all I could hear was the whirr of the air conditioner in the small room. The sunlight filtered through the window pane plastered with cheap flex to keep the harsh rays out, and bathed the room in an orange hue. Time’s running out, I thought, and it won’t be long before I would have to leave. For the last time he massaged my scalp with his hands, leaving a tingling sensation behind and then stopped. I knew it was the best hair spa I’d ever gone for.

>Is attracting men a miracle?

“Anjali was starting to believe that Gopal (her husband) didn’t lover her as much and was paying more attention to his work. She wanted back the Gopal she’d met in college, the man who loved her more than anything else. It was then that Anjali’s friend suggested she use the Pond’s Age Miracle cream…”

If this ad copy is anything to go by, beauty is just skin deep, love even shallower! And attracting men is nothing short of a miracle for women on the other side of 30 (I assume). So much for the emancipated 21st century woman who needs to look good to keep her man by her side and who still derives her sense of worth from the way her lover/BF/husband looks at her! So she goes hunting for miracle potions that will make her look younger, turn to botox a few years later and then wallow in self-pity when age still takes over!

And though Anjali may have seen a miraculous change in her husband after using the ‘wondercream’, what of all those women who don’t need that cream and are still living with husbands who don’t love them “as much”. Ever heard about incompatibility, extra-marital affairs and workaholics?! It happens with real people, you know… Married women do lead loveless lives, even the ones who’re drop dead gorgeous! So what are these ads trying to say?

Can’t we look good simply for ourselves, dress up because we want to, get a make-over because we feel like?

Oh yes, I know all too well the thrill of dressing up for my man, but surely I can’t let my self-confidence hinge on how impressed he is with it.