~*Editor’s Choice Pick at BlogJunta
~*Prize Winning Entry in Dove and Yahoo! Real Beauty Contest
When the morning sun streams in from the window, Mom keeps her eyes tightly shut. She has been ill for a while now and can’t wake up with dawn as she used to. Her eyebrows are a wee bit scant, her hair thin. As I wake up and turn to my side, I refrain from kissing her forehead a Good Morning. I don’t want to wake her up just yet…
Mom gave up her job when I was in the Second Form. She appointed herself, you see, as a full-time teacher-cum-Mommy.
“I am sure you will live to regret this decision.” a colleague of hers ominously announced, her shoulders drawn in a shrug. ‘Time lost can never come back.”
Granny says Mom walked down to the market that evening, barely a moment after placing her farewell bouquet in a vase. She bought me ice-cream as a treat for topping the Environmental Science class test. “I wish she knew Ma,” she told Granny as I relished my chocolate delight, “just how precious this time with my little girl is.“
Wearing my hair in two thick little braids, bespectacled and tall for my age, I would walk into school every morning. History classes used to be a treat, Indian History being Mom’s graduation subject. I would climb down from the school bus in hot summer afternoons, the umbrella flipping away as I eagerly rushed into her waiting arms.
One of those days she was wearing a dark blue salwar suit. It had some dainty golden embroidery and the sleeves fell down in watery tufts. Over television that night, one of the soap heroines switched on the lights in her pink bedroom. “She’s wearing your suit Mamma!” I squealed as the same dark blue, golden embroidered piece of clothing filled the screen. “I will go check if mine’s still in safe keep.” Mom said from the kitchen. Giggling, I went back to my dinner. There was no comparison to Mom, I grimaced as the heroine went back to sleep with her make-up untouched and face unwashed.
Mom adores perfumes, keeping them for very select occasions. Dad never forgets buying her one every time he’s on a work trip. He gets me lots of clothes, gets Granny crockery and a collection of exotic tamarind and gifts Grandpa a new shirt-piece. But Mom revels in her pack of perfume, keeping the bottle safely in a drawer of the dressing table. There it is safe from the hands of vagrants and cats.
I love clicking her pictures when she is busy fidgeting with outdoor jewellery.”You must wear at least a necklace!” Granny pleads. “It’s a major family wedding.”
“But the guests are supposed to be interested in the bride aren’t they?” Mom makes a face, putting on the necklace reluctantly. Mom has a dusky complexion and claims dark colours do not suit her. By the time I argue that this belief system is almost the opposite of the fashionable truth, she is already dressed up in subtle red and white and puts off the argument to “...another day please“.
As memories from past years flash by my mind, I notice the sun is now up in the sky; the birds are out on their morning stroll. Mom moves about a little, caught in some distant dream. In another time, she would be up and about by now working her way through Dad’s credit card bills and bank statements, checking on the scheduled date at the dry cleaner’s and the tailor’s, assisting Granny in grinding onions and mashing potatoes and sending across a hello to the sleepy house-cat. She will be doing all of that again, very soon.
I look at the azure sky outside and smile as the sun warms my skin. It is a beautiful day. Just like, but a little less than my Mom.
Beauty for me is what Mom brings to my life. A giggling camaraderie when I tell her love stories, a rapt ear when I lecture about a book I last read…a quiet radiance that lights up my morning, a simplicity that holds in its being all the grace in the world.
Moreover, I have noticed an interesting secret. The moment you enliven your true, beautiful self, every drop of the first rain and every spring flower seems blessed. The endless hours of anxiety over a stubborn blackhead or a frizzy bunch of hair are washed away with the downpour. Such woes can after all, be attended to at a one-stop online destination –Yahoo! Real Beauty. (From interesting food for thought to the best dietary food you can take to the solutions to your skin and hair problems, Yahoo! Real Beauty is a smart portal that can cater to all of that and much more. :D)
For real beauty, I believe, doesn’t lie about our person and can hence neither be taken away nor granted. It lies safe and sound, tucked away in our hearts, coming alive every time we love and are loved.