BEAUTIFUL. I have always wondered at this word. You will find many synonyms to this but they don’t really sound synonymous, pretty, cute, charming, alluring, hot et all; nothing really seems to replicate the texture and the flavour that the word “beautiful” leaves on the eye and the ear. This made me go on a mini quest for a face I could call beautiful. My eyes rested on that of the timeless Hindi actress Madhubala. I am sure most people will scoff at me for stating the obvious; ‘of-course Madhubala is beautiful, Madhuri Dixit is too, so is Deepika Kareena the younger lot” but something in my mind can’t accept these women in that same segment. They are epitome of all other fancy adjectives but beautiful! That led into further enquiry of what is it that made some one look not just pretty but beautiful?! To jut off on a philosophical stand point all adjective but beautiful make a traverse that is in the scope of ‘surface matters’.

Madhubala’s face screams Beautiful and after gazing at her for more time than is strictly normal I could slowly piece together why that might be the case. Attraction to physique has an outside-in journey and beauty has a journey inside-out. In the inside out segment, skin treatments, hairstyles, makes up, a certain kind of lighting, less/more filters are irrelevant. These faces seem to reflect something that lies deep in recesses of an untouched heart. Untouched not in the sense of relations and feelings but that a segment that is deeply self-possessed, we all have that corner I guess, it’s just that some people seem to function from that quadrant majority of times. These faces reflect a serene peace that comes with being comfortable in your own skin; their eyes are alive with self-knowledge and a smile that seems to be just a light upward turn of the lips as though they are revelling in a joy unknown to all but them.

Does beauty come from knowing, accepting and most times being at peace with what and who you are? Does it come from looking at the world not as its participant but as its keen and avid spectator? Does it come when you don’t react but respond to all that goes around you? An event/conversation happens, now imagine from your ‘castle-me’ you look at it un-tinted, not judging, you breathe, you think, you smile, you respond. What will this do the person in front of you is a different question, but won’t it be another ride for you altogether? I am not saying I can do it. I am still ideating myself. But one thing I have realized for sure. I seem to spend a lot of time over actively participating in the outside world because the inside one is a scary maze I don’t wish to touch unless absolutely necessary, but if all cameras turned inwards WITHOUT JUDGEMENTS, COMPLAINTS, SELF ASSESSMENTS BASED ON ANY WORLDLY STANDARDS, if they just turn to gaze at that person inside would you see its beauty? I guess one could. So try this, wear something super comfortable, sit, close your eyes, breathe deep. Breathe a bit more, relax your body and face and that racing mind. (I won’t say turn it blank! The first reaction of the mind to this instruction is to think of the fact that it has to be blank which doesn’t really make it blank so don’t bother!) Just breathe. Get up. Clean any make you have on. Tie your hair in a lose bun at the nape of your neck. Wipe your face clean. Be ready mentally to just go and see something, don’t immediately think about whether its good/bad/ugly. Just go and see. Don’t observe; see. Be tuned to your ‘still’ state of mind. And now go stand in front of the mirror and look at your face. You will see someone else, someone very much you but someone new. Now imagine if you can be in this head space even as you participate in worldly affairs; it’s super tough! Takes consistent effort and practice but try! And you will realize that beauty is a very very accessible thing if you leave behind all the things, parameters, judgements you were taught, told and were hinted towards all of your life. May be Madhubala knew this, maybe she didn’t who is to say. May be its God’s gift may be it isn’t who is to say. But one thing is for sure. Beauty, the foremost construct of great looks is actually a construct of a great mind. And that amigos is thankfully very very accessible and within your hands! Grace abides; may you be pretty if you please but you can surely be beautiful at all times of days and night and that’s an oddly joyous comfort.

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