Beauty & The Beast

Optical Illusion or ...?
Optical Illusion or …?

I recently finished The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and was so enraptured by it, that I also caught the movie starring Ben Barnes (Why was.HE cast??). I am still under the spell of the book – enchanted for life I think. For the uninitiated (and please change this status immediately!), the story deals with this young, beautiful man who wishes eternal youth while his magnificent painting (or rather, his soul) takes the brunt of time and age. The movie was a downer as it dealt more with the sexual debauchery that Gray descends into rather than the dwellings of mind that are so typical of Wilde.

Well… It raised a question. A very interesting question and I am hoping for varied answers.

How important is looking good and young to you personally? How much of your confidence or self-esteem is derived from your external attributes? I know, we wax poetic about our inner selves and what we feel, think and do blah blah is what counts. And I agree – in the end that is what deserves the spotlight. But isn’t there some tiny corner of our mind that really LIKES being beautiful and perfect on the outside? I know that corner very well!

I will be candid and say that I LIKE being relatively good-looking and feel lucky to have inherited the slim genes. All said and done, that bit of charm and flirting has really made life easy. Recent health issues played havoc with my face and I panicked! For the first time, I was self-conscious and lost my confidence, even though the world didn’t notice the imperfections. But I noticed! I saw every eruption and scar. And it disturbed me. Thankfully, I didn’t end up with a bunch of useless cosmetics (yay for common sense!) but I did start observing my face a lot closely and realized that this youth is temporary. Eventually, I may reach out for some magical youth serum and try to contain time. Maybe I won’t have the same paranoia about weight gain as fitness is what matters to me – diet and exercise. Again, maybe! I don’t know for sure.

Some of you may think of “how shallow!” Even I cursed myself for being affected by something external and so temporary. But it made a dent on me. I admit it. Hey! Even Beauty fell for the Prince – she was just friendly with the Beast he used to be. And then, I look around and I see inspiration. People who haven’t let their weight, their face or their bodies affect them! But I also understood that they had their moments of doubts and it was a long fight to accept themselves. Maybe one day I too will shake this self-doubt off successfully. But again, I don’t see anything WRONG in taking care of myself!

Although, I definitely won’t present my soul on the devil’s altar in exchange for eternal youth. 


So tell me, world. How important is/was your youthful perfection to you? Given a choice, would you – like Dorian – opt for eternal youth and beauty? Turn back the time for every wrinkle without affecting your experiences or is that wrinkle a souvenir of a life well lived?

My fastest ever post (eight minutes) was brought to you by Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt is very/vary.

 Image Source

Hospice

Image: pixshark.com
Image: pixshark.com

If you are reading this… it means I am dead.

Know that I was not an old man,

Simply a rapidly ageing one. 

Out of control, I bumped into a disease

I wasn’t yet ready to meet and greet.

Yet became my constant companion.

A part of my life as true as the love

I hold for all of you, my dear ones.

 

Time then caught up with me quickly.

Still you tried not to notice,

The deep creases on my forehead

The new tremors of my hands

The sickly spots on my face

The last strands of my crown

The slowed pace of my stroll

 

There was so much to do and see.

Give my daughters to their husbands,

Play with my future grandchildren,

Hold my wife taking in our empty nest,

Prepare for a future just for us again.

Maybe buy a caravan to go places

Other than the hospital two miles away.

 

Know that I was just an aged body,

A young spirit not ready to leave.

But I saw my son coming to get me –

The one I held only for few moments

Before lowering him six feet under.

He gave me the strength to let go,

And wisdom to keep looking after you..


I witnessed a young man succumbing to health problems at the hospital. He lives on through his wife and two young daughters. Maybe I am trying to capture his thoughts… Abhra has us writing letters at dVerse. Head over to read a few more.

The Fountain of Youth

My grandparents 🙂 Eons Ago!

“Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about?  You better cool it off before you burn it out” – Billy Joel in Vienna.

I have a life. Or at least I claim to have one. But off late when I am jobless or just not doing my work, I find myself thinking about my life and what I am not doing with my time. A Morgan Freeman-like voice goes in my head, “Congratulations! You are born. Dying is offered with full compliments!” Mortality at the age of 23 is not something one takes seriously. I need to live before I start dying right. Yet, I am also going through a stage when some of my family members may not be around after a short while. And I am sure I am probably not the only one going through this.

I lost my grandfather some months back, and I admit it was the first death of a close family member that I was old enough to grieve and feel. Oh that dreaded phone call, “Come home ASAP!” I am glad that I could make it on time to see his piercing blue eyes twinkling while he enjoyed his last cup of tea. While I was holding his hand, this memory from my childhood came to me. I used to clasp his hand tightly and refused to let it go while crossing the road. When I was eight, I had gone crying to him when I failed to run an errand for mom. He accompanied me, not letting go of my hand while he sorted out the issue. He was my rock and my shield from the big bad world. Fifteen years later, that same man could barely move. When he passed away, I realized that I had done my grieving a long time back as he slowly became a shadow of the man he once was. The tears I shed were for the pain he went through, the look on my grandma’s face and the gaping absence in the room. That night, I didn’t see my father and my aunts when they were repeating “Baba” “Baba”. Instead, I saw three children calling their dad.

Our parents have lives. So do their parents. Many of us have not been around for even half their lifetime and yet we often treat them as if we are their sole purpose of living. We have incessant demands for which even a grateful ‘thank you’ is not spared. But there was a time when they all were ten, baking mud pies and writing dirty words on cars. They used fly down the stairs and scramble up on all fours as if hooligans were chasing them. They flirted in their own style and had the same showdowns with their parents. But now, they have slowed down. Their bodies have slowed down. They look at what they eat. There is a faint trembling in their hands while handling stuff, an apologetic look in their eyes when they request you to pick something they dropped or repeat something that you just said, and they are completely out of depth when we hand them a smartphone because it is “easy”.

And us? We don’t worry about savings, future or our health. We live for the moment, and often live for our friends and peers. We fail to give consideration to that gentle nurturing that comes our way at home – especially from Aji Ajoba. I swear, no one can love us the way our grandparents do, not even our own parents! And touch wood, their amazing sense of balance and control has left them healthy, satisfied and content, free to pursue what they want.

Our parents, grandparents are a mirror and a time-machine put together. We talk about our futures yet we are blind when a big part of it is right there in front of us! We build ambitions and want to do ten thousand things (Oh God those “31 things” and “27 places” listicles!) But maybe the one thing we need to is to pause and take a quiet trip home. Have a glass of wine (or bournvita) with your parents, talk about small immaterial things which suddenly take a new light and feel that weight get off our shoulders. We may be older now and independent, saddled with millions of issues – but when we are with family, there is that comforting assurance that everything will be all fine – because one part already is!

Looking forward to the long weekend with family 🙂