P and I rarely watch TV together because of conflicting interests. Of course, occasionally we do, when something we both like is shown. Yesterday, there was a reminiscence of the late Sri. P Bhaskaran, one of the greatest (to me, the greatest) lyricists in Malayalam movies. During an advertisement break, the former Miss World, Aishwarya Rai swept in. P exclaimed -‘She is really beautiful, isn’t she? Look at her eyes!’ Before she could comment further, I switched channels. ‘Why, don’t you think she is beautiful?’ ‘Of course’, I said, ‘she is beautiful. But isn’t there something more to beauty? Something more than a pretty face? To me, beauty is unpretentiousness. Once somebody is conscious about themselves, they are no longer beautiful. Say, um, like Meg Ryan in You Got Mail? Or Sandra Bullock in While You were Sleeping or Forces of Nature? Julia Roberts? Remember Pretty Woman?' ‘Oh, you and your
After the programme, I go to my room and mull over Beauty. I am unhappy with dictionaries. But more I think about beauty, the more I am convinced of my definition. Why are all children beautiful? Why is a flower beautiful? Why is a laughing dog beautiful? Why is a landscape beautiful? There are thousands of girls and women more beautiful than A Rai, just because they are not self-conscious. Beauty is not something pleasurable to the senses alone; not something physical alone, but you feel beauty when you are offered a glimpse of the true selves, natural, unpretentious. I lie on bed smoking and extrapolate my concept of beauty. It can be applied to writing. Poetry. Short stories. Natural History. I think of CK Williams, of Hemingway, of Nevil Shute, O Henry, of the many authors in Picador Nature Reader. I wish I could hug each of them and say thanks for showing me what beauty is.
Beauty, I realize, is in being true. I wince. ‘Ow! Fella, now you be in the company of Keats!’
******** Balachandran V,