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Mother was never discontent with her looks, as we are in this generation. She was perfectly content with the way she was. Neither did she want more or less.
A few days ago, my friend and I were chatting about our daughters. How even the young and very young girls seem to be hoarding chemical stuff to bury their hair and skin in. Though the two girls in our lives haven’t yet started on this road, we could make out their fascination with the stuff their friends owned.
My friend and I did a lot of growing up together. Not the childhood part, but the years when we truly set to find out who we are and what we want. She had a question for me: How did you escape the part where all girls rebel to look different? And how come you only went to the beauty parlours for their massages and never looked at the rest of their menu?
After the call, I did a lot of soul searching. Was it because of my strict parents? Yes, to an extent. My dad always made me read ingredients before I bought anything. And the rule was, if I do not understand the ingredients, I put it back on the shelf and move on. My mom is a very simple lady – a coffee powder pottu and some sandalwood paste from the temple, and her daily regimen is done.
But I did go to college in a different city than my hometown. Living in a girls hostel, I had access. Many of the girls in the hostel were fashion forward. Their tables were an assortment of exotic stuff. Creams, lotions, perfumes and whatnots. Still, I never ventured too much in that area. If at all I lifted a bottle promising eternal beauty from my roommate’s table, it was to read the ingredients.
Was it because of the books? I never had much time to experiment with my face and my hair because almost all my leisure time was spent on words. Even technical books, if well written, could hold my interest for days. But they never really stopped me from exploring new places, making new friends and in general having a good life. So, no, can’t blame the bookworm I am.
Was it because I was secure in my beauty as a child ? Again… A big no. I was a gangling kid – a nerd, a geek. One of those who are too tall, too thin, with oily braided hair and a pair of spectacles. Oh, and dental clips too!
Today while working in the kitchen with my mom I hit upon it. I realised the real reason why beauty – the lack or the enhancement of it never bothered me.
My mother never criticised herself. She spent time in front of the mirror when she got ready for outings. And did things to her face and to her hair. She wore georgettes, chiffons and silks that my young self found enchanting. And she never once looked at herself with any criticism.
She is not a classic beauty if you look at her features. But she was never discontent, as we often are in this generation. She was perfectly content with the way she was. Neither did she want more or less.
She did not ask for larger eyes, more defined eyebrows, sharper nose or anything other than what she had. Seeing her, I somehow fell into the same rhythm that what I am is enough.
After all, children seldom listen to our teachings but they do as we do.
So ladies, the point I make to you is, whatever you do, do not belittle yourself. If enhancing your beauty is a thing with you, do not make it a point to say why you need to hide or layer over something in you. Instead, do it for the joy of it. Because the next generation is watching us hide behind these chemicals. They absorb it as a need into their systems and not as a once in a while enjoyment.
Be confident in who you are, and let your daughters and your sons learn that from you.
Let us raise men and women who don’t compare their bodies with that of a Barbie doll. Though she is merely a doll, I doubt she’d ever be able to get up again if she fell. Her ankles, you see, can barely hold her body upright, her belly doesn’t seem to have the space for a liver and kidney. And let’s not even talk about her intestines! Her upper body seems to defy all laws of gravity. And her shiny straight hair and long curly eyelashes will do her no good when her body struggles to support life and health.
Let us be more humane in setting standards of beauty for our next generation.
Picture credits: YouTube
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