Sunday, April 26, 2009

In loving memory

They say a large part of behaviour is learnt through observation and imitation.
I try to think of all the things my grandfather taught me. I can say observation and imitation paid off and resulted in a variety of accomplishments.
I know each and every land sindbad visited and all the battles he won. I know how to blow soap bubbles and write letters in the sand. I know my teeth are safe with the tooth fairy and santa always gives me what I want. I know how to curl my Gs and loop my Ls. I know that stamp pads are meant to go only with white paper sheets and blue ball point pens. I know that music comes from the heart and I can sing wherever and whenever I want to. I know that running is a good exercise and shouting makes nana mad. I know that white hair is fun to brush and powder is meant to fall like snow. I know that folders are essential and that my signature determines my bank account. I know that shopping is an adventure and bike rides never reach anywhere.
I know that the ocean is a miracle and swings make you feel like you can fly. I know that marie biscuits are a must at tea-time and polo is dessert. I know that elves sing lullabies and there are no monsters under my bed. I know that records are like rubies and the gramophone belongs in a museum. I know that salad is an art and food is blessed. I know that chocolates are a treat and presents never end. I know that family is from heaven and Christmas is special. I know that letters are always awaited and technology mars life. I know that money does not fall from trees and credit cards are plastic. I know that laughter echoes and joy is contagious. I know that perseverance is not easy and patience is a virtue. I know that it’s ok to cry and it takes a lot to be brave. I know that honesty is valued and compassion is a gift. I know that to listen is a skill and wisdom is rare. I know that love is hard and love is beautiful.
I think I learnt a lot. Mostly I learnt how to live. And I will.


The bottles of rose water have gone stale and the jars of basan are cracked and dry. There is a faint tinge of glossy apparel and coloured skin in a world where the biggest names in the cosmetic industry are at war to stay on top of the iceberg. Cleopatra’s milk bathing routines and Pocahontas’ herbal remedies are nothing in the face of Avon’s candy scented lipsticks or Maybelline’s multicoloured eye-shadow packs. In a world where appearance is top priority and being ‘good looking’ is of utmost importance, distorted self identities and damaged self concepts are a major concern in today’s society. The pressure to ‘be thin’, the need to ‘diet’ and the want for physically enhancing materials has led to a culture that is highly influenced by shiny advertisements, fashion shows in Milan and luxuriously framed TV soaps.
However, the concept of beauty and self – image in today’s world is not completely ruined because we are presently living in an era of women’s empowerment where feminism holds fort and beauty is no longer wearing her crown in splendid glory. There are still many young girls and women who adhere to the teachings of ‘beauty is only skin deep’.
The AM Plus team conducted a survey on a group of women aged between 18 – 26 years of age on their ideas and concepts of beauty and self image and the influence society plays on their perceptions. Most of these women feel that who they are and their self-confidence makes them feel beautiful while a small percentage say that dressing up and compliments from loved ones make their day. About ninety percent of the women interviewed are of the strong opinion that looking beautiful is purely dependent on a mixture of self-confidence, an inner glow, a strong personality and happiness. Looking good however is all about one’s outer appearance. Every woman interviewed defines beauty as an inborn quality that is naturally encompassed in a person. It is best expressed as an outcome to the pure form of any emotion. Beauty is defined mainly in the realms of personality and strength of character. The responses of the interviewees also indicate a unanimous expression of the fact that Indian society defines beauty in terms of a person’s physical attributes, financial status and family background. Ninety – five percent of the respondents do not keep up to date with beauty magazines and other such paraphernalia while the remaining five percent refers to the same occasionally. Despite the will to negate imposed norms of accepted beauty, eighty five percent believe that they have to live up to a certain standard of looking good and have a certain responsibility to maintain some sort of an image.
Though it is reassuring to know that superficiality is slowly but steadily losing ground, it is plain to see that beauty will not loosen her shackles for some time to come. It is obvious and sadly true that it will take ages for human nature to judge and assess human beings in terms of personality traits and behaviour and to deem beauty as being anything beyond physical.

Where the sunbeams dance

Where the sunbeams dance
And the leaves whisper tales of days gone by
Where the grass is purple
And tornadoes spurt cherry blossoms askew
Where the old oak tree is 300 yrs old
And the ice cream man comes around three times a day
Where the shadows appear in every shade of orange
And the sun sets when it’s time to say goodnight
Where the music never ceases to enrapture
And fairies do play in the woods
Where houses are made of chocolate
And marshmallows grow in the sand
Where the ocean is frosty lace entwined with pearls
And mermaids sunbathe on the shore
Where the heavens touch the horizon
And Greek gods walk the earth
Where life is what it is
And not really what you want it to be