Sunday, May 29, 2011

A thing of beauty

I remember the first time I received an Indiblogger email notification informing me about the Yahoo Dove Real Beauty contest. The dreaded exam season had just arrived at my doorstep like an unwanted guest and I didn't have a moment to spare a thought on what real beauty meant or did not.
Fast forward to a month later and here I am jabbing away at my keyboard, staring at the all-too familiar blogger editor window still trying to fathom the meaning of "real beauty". Much love and gratitude to a few blogger friends who kept asking me repeatedly why I still hadn't come up with a post. The thought that my non-participation didn't go unnoticed is indeed a comforting one.

After going through many of the wonderful entries submitted, I must admit to the fact that not much remains to be said or expressed regarding this subject. But here's a humble attempt to add my twopence to the topic nonetheless.

From times immemorial, the word "beauty" has been used religiously while describing a woman, be it the tender intricacies of her facial features or the gracious curves of her elegant silhouette. It's like beauty and the very definition of a woman go hand in hand.

But unbeknownst to many, in Japan and a few other other Asian countries, the term bishōnen refers to the beauty of a man. It is an age-old concept over there which underlines the fact that physical beauty transcends the boundary of gender orientation.

I cannot agree more with their line of thought. The stereotype that manliness and so-called feminine beauty hardly go together, is one which needs to be broken.

However, the real meaning of beauty goes far beyond the realm of outward appearances or glossy exteriors.
For external beauty invariably withers away in the course of time. It's the beauty of the human psyche and thoughts that continue to live on forever.

Beauty is, after all, what you think it is. It could be in a gesture of kindness without any expectation of reaping benefits from the act. It could be in a bead of dew sticking to a blade of grass on an early spring morning. It could be in a baby's first unsure, faltering steps while the eager and proud mother watches in awe. It could be in the onset of a sudden spell of shower which ends the torment of a grueling summer afternoon or the sweet, intoxicating fragrance of moist earth that comes wafting in the breeze afterwards. It could be in getting misty eyes every time one hears Don Mclean's Vincent playing in a soothing volume. It could be in the immortal lyrics of Byron, Shelley, Wordsworth, Tennyson or Tagore who possessed the uncommon talent of discovering beauty in places one least expected to find any. It could be in a painter's brush about to capture the lush-green glory of a landscape forever on a canvas. It could be in the tears of sadness before the final parting of ways.

But perhaps nothing could define 'real beauty' better than the Sanskrit phrase Satyam Shivam Sundaram.(not to mention the famed Raj Kapoor movie of the same name) Truth is eternal and beautiful.
Beauty can never reside within something fake or pretentious, something fraught with artificiality or manufactured.
Generous amounts of make-up can surely cover up the imperfections of a woman's face and make her look appealing. But nothing can replace the pristine beauty of the quintessential natural look. There can be no better adornment for a woman's face than the radiance of a real smile.

Beauty lies in the innocence of a child, in the honesty of a man's intentions, in the purity of first love, in the resolve put in for a just cause, in the quiet dignity shown even in defeat, in the eternal quest for knowledge, in the strength to endure and forgive. Only because truth exists in all of them.

To put it in short, I would like to borrow the words of one of the greatest Romantic Poets ever -

Beauty is present all around in its myriad forms, sometimes hidden in plain sight, sometimes glaringly obvious. In the end it truly lies in the eyes of the beholder.

However sometimes you need to feel rather than see.

For if your eyes are ones which only get dazzled by the outer shell, unable to look into the mystery of the core, you may never well find it.


P.S: Written for the Yahoo! Dove Real Beauty contest. *If* and only *if* you like the post, sign into Indiblogger and do help by putting in a vote here.
Even if you're not an Indiblogger member, you can click on the Facebook "like" button here and promote my post.  

Visit the Real Beauty forum on Yahoo! for meaningful discussions on beauty and beyond. 

Dove Real Beauty on Yahoo! India


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Scattered leaves

A journey that was meant to reach an end-
Will always point to a newer one in its stead.
The misunderstood metaphor of now-
Will vanish away as a wisp of smoke,
Fragile and evanescent as ever.
A reality is only as real...
As the promise of a better morrow.
Nothing is what it seems to be.
A parting gesture of destiny...
May become the gratifying embrace of fulfillment.

When love ceases to exist,
In its place you may find disdain.
Somewhere in the endless void of forevermore....
Only scattered leaves will remain.


Monday, May 09, 2011

The Man of Many Talents

Only yesterday I had tweeted something along the lines of "Weird how both Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Chetan Bhagat are authors." Now just in case, someone says that mentioning Chetan Bhagat and Dostoyevsky in the same sentence is equivalent to blaspheming, let me tell you that you're damn right. But then again it's quite impossible to conceal your disgust at the steadily degrading quality of published works in today's fast-paced, materialistic world. More so at a time when you're reading something like "Crime and Punishment", one of the finest specimens of Russian literature and a timeless classic.

Whenever I go through the immaculately wonderful experience of reading the works of many of the stalwarts
in the sphere of world literature like Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Franz Kafka, Herman Melville, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Louisa May Alcott or even Jules Verne, I feel lost in the depths of an alternate universe where only excellence prevails. All these brilliant thinkers and their philosophies on surrealism, life, death, prejudices, romance, feminism, humor and the society in general, remind you of your woefully ignorant self. How little you know of the world you reside in!

And as you get seized by the desire of devouring as many classic creations of writers who had graced the shores of some foreign land with their mere presence, you promptly forget the fact that back at home there was a man who had started writing at the tender age of 8 and had the capacity to leave the world spell-bound with his unfathomable artistic brilliance.

It's shameful in a way that I'm reminded of Kobiguru only on his birth anniversary. It's even more embarrassing to realize that none of his creations have ever been on my "to-be-read" list. Of course I've read some of his choicest works like short stories from the renowned "Galpoguchho" (collection of stories, when translated in English), extracts from plays like "Achalayatan" (The Immovable), and dance dramas like "Chitrangada", novels like "Chokher Bali", "Ghare Baire" and a few of his best poetic specimens. 
But none of them of my own free will. They were all a part of my syllabi in school. And somewhere in the mad rush of learning "questions and answers" by heart, I could not fully appreciate the profundity of his imagination or the depth of his thoughts.

Rabindranath Tagore was a poet, a dramatist, a satirist, a painter, a composer, a musician, a fiction-writer, a novelist, a philosopher and possibly one of the greatest free thinkers of all times. His poetry has most skilfully yet delicately captured every human emotion ever felt, ever known. His sharp criticism of the contemporary education system (articles from "Shikkha"), subtle outrage over the brutishness of the dowry system ( short stories like "Dena Paona" , "Hoimonti"), rejection of ridiculous superstitions ("Achalayatan") and feelings about Divinity and beyond ("Gitanjali") have all proven beyond doubt, his ability to foray into diverse genres/themes and consequently established his creative genius in all.

"আজই হতে শত বর্ষ পরে 
কে তুমি পড়িছ বসি আমার কবিতাখানি-
কৌতহল ভরে
আজি হতে শত বর্ষ পরে"

("Aaj-i hote shoto borsho pore
Ke tumi porichho boshi amar kobitakhani...
Koutohol bhore
Aaj-i hote shoto borsho pore")

The Poet Laureate probably knew that even when he would cease to exist and a hundred years would have gone by, readers all over the world would continue to be enraptured by his words...precious words which have been immortalized forever. (meaning of above lines)

That's why it is time for me to ditch the Nietzsches, Keroucs and Orwells in favour of a certain man whose greatness can never be measured in terms of a Nobel prize.

P.S: Pardon the quoted lines in Bangla, this is the best I can I do given the kind of options Blogger offers me. However I'll try to edit the part with proper spellings when I get my hands on a decent software. 


Saturday, May 07, 2011

Pages from the diary of a Serial Plagiarist

Dear Diary,
                 You know how *awesome* I'm right? I think this word was created with the very purpose of defining my otherwise indescribable greatness. I can't even begin to list all of my achievements within the limited time I've spent on this planet...err the internet I mean. I'm the Master of Deception in the virtual world. I can win anyone's approval or trust within minutes/hours. I can get unsuspecting new bloggers to swoon over my writing, conveniently ignoring the fact that it is actually shit. With the 1000+ fans on my Facebook page and 400+ followers on my blog, I qualify as a miniature Messiah to them. I created a whole new blogging platform just for the sake of gaining more devotees. And that idea was original too. I befriend all new bloggers on Facebook, poke them 10 times a day as a gesture of my friendliness, sweep the females off their feet with corny lines about their beauty, grace and whatnot. And mind you, age is not a bar for flirting.

I lose count of the number of blogging contests I have won over the years. And all of them by fluke too. Of course I don't participate in the useless ones which offer you a paltry reward like a t-shirt. I nail them...big ones...oh yeah. Bloggers vote for me blindly, because I'm too popular for my own good. Man oh man you can't even call me a narcissist when it is the people who worship my notorious sweet-talking ways, fall for my false words of praise and drool over my cheesy posts fraught with grammatically incorrect English. I compose sentences which always inevitably end with an exclamation mark ("!") but duh nobody knows English enough in our country to point that out. Besides what's wrong with a simple exclamation mark or even punctuation, for that matter? I mean the whole idea of stringency over English grammar, punctuation and spellings is over-rated. Trust me even content isn't a big deal.

Whenever you're out of ideas just use "CTRL+C" and "CTRL+V". Apply this magic trick on blogs which are less popular on the internet, not visited by your usual readers. And TADA you have a new creative streak in you. Your dumbass readers are flabbergasted, confused about how you could come up with a post full of English words even they had to look up in This is further proof of your genius as a writer. Also don't be afraid of being found out as long as you have carefully planned out the whole thing. Make sure you have edited the post in parts...changed a few words/expressions here and there like 'craved for' instead of 'longed for' and so on you know. Piece o'cake. You can repeat the same feat as many as times as you want.

But what if somebody actually unearths your dirty little secret? Don't worry....this is not the time to say a loud "Busted!" and commit harakiri. It is rather the opportune moment for you to gear up and invent cock and bull stories, counter accusations directed at the original writers. If you can't beat them, confuse them. And trust me it actually is quite a lot of fun. Negative publicity is also a form of publicity if you think about it carefully.

Worried about your cover being blown now? Don't sweat can always make a hundred other profiles on Blogger, Twitter, Facebook and continue to thrive. Doesn't matter even if the entire blogging community shuns you. If you have the brains, you can pose as someone else and comment on your own post saying how kickass it is.

See I'm indestructible. I'm omnipresent, omniscient. I exist and I'll continue to.
As long as you continue to be ignorant.


P.S: For the 'ignorant' ones, this post is inspired from a recent episode in the blogosphere. To know further details have a look here.

A special mention to Prateek Bagri, my sweet blogger friend, who had asked why I hadn't updated my blog in a while. Cheerios and be wary of copycats!

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