What does it mean to be beautiful? Women usually answer this question with an instantaneous demure gleam in their eyes. But in this bipolar world, polarity does exist. I am one of the rare tribe of woman who has never bothered to look beautiful. The made up look, for inexplicable reasons failed to appeal me. I believe that most of the things in life arise out of a necessity, but I never in my life felt the necessity to look beautiful. Maybe it was because I was too busy playing a dutiful daughter to my parents, and then being an indispensable part of my conjugal life.
But it is rightly said that life is unpredictable. The opportunity of being crowned the most beautiful woman in the world fell so unexpectedly in my lap that I didn’t even react, rather preferred to enjoy it. After all, what is the point in counting mangoes on the tree, when a bucket-full was lying in front of me? This highest order of award was conferred upon me by the prettiest doll, i.e. my daughter. Since her birth, she would stare at me with the most charming and appealing of smiles, as if nothing in the world mattered, except her and me. She would prove it further by chuckling and throwing about her little, glowing hands and legs, as if she didn’t bother about anything around us.
Then she learned to speak, and one day described me to a visitor- “my mama is very beautiful and dark”. (My husband and in-laws are a marble-skinned lot, till then she had only learned to see things as black and white; if anything was not completely white, then she would figure out that it was black.) To reconcile with it, I too put my condition before her: if she described me as beautiful and dark, from then on she would have to add the adjective ‘tall’ to the description. She easily accepted the deal, placing her little palms on my lap (it’s an altogether different story that I’m only 5’2”, but it is always wise to take advantage of the circumstances).
But this glory of mine existed only for a few years. As a teenager, 5’5” tall herself, adoringly putting her arm around me, one day she said, “oh mama, you’re really beautiful…”(I can’t really say when she dropped the adjective ‘dark’ from my description after encountering different shades and hues of life), “…but how can you be…” and the rest of her words vanished in a good belly chuckle.
With time, the horizon of her learning increased, and with this came the delimiting of my glory. Now she watches Hollywood movies and to compound my woes, has silently included two more women in her list of the most beautiful : Angelina Jolie and Aishwarya Rai. Now I sensed mortal fear looming large over my position, but I was in no mood to budge from my place. After all, in all these years I too had got used to being beautiful, and now I couldn’t do without it. So I decided to take action before it was too late. No way, I told her, I don’t care about these two, but tell them to choose any position after me. After all, in India, will our politicians leave their chairs so easily? If not they, then why should I?