I recently came across a discussion forum on Facebook about what matters more to a lady. The context of the post steered into what mattered to a lady, the most? To start with, Is it her Prada Bag or Jimmy Choo? Or, is it her Chanel perfume or her Mac blush? Or, is it her size three ball gown from Mark and Spencer? Many including me felt that kindness, humility and positive attitude towards people is all that matters. A few mentioned their disgust over bad feet, chipped nails whereas, a few mentioned that simple is classy. shola shringaar is an innate quality in Indian women. Whether it is less or, more or, ‘less is more’ , is left to an individual’s choice. And that said, we all like to look good. We all love compliments. We all expect compliments, rather from someone at some or the other time in life. Don’t we? For instance, I appreciate a well dressed woman whose attire pleases the eye. If the apparels match, I am happier to appreciate the knack of pairing them up. I also love mismatch and, mix and match if it catches the eye pleasantly. But when, I meet women with a quirky sense of humor laced with a pinch of sarcasm and a dollop of ‘take it easy’ attitude, all the craze for the attire flies out of the window. Such women tick all the boxes for me and, I feel glad that I know a lot of them. For instance, I would rather be impressed with a woman in a torn T and pajamas who speaks with a reasoning than, with a woman who is dressed impeccably but is clueless about using the right words. The latter asserts the statement – What pleases the eye may not always please the ears! And, when I do encounter the arrogant ones, I have been forced to shove my admiration for them under the bus, the moment they have opened their mouths. So, the bottom line is that, intellect and looks need not match. And yet, I am amused that the world goes gaga over the brand names and the materialistic indulgences that elevate the class of spending. The intent to write this post did not spring up from my opinion about ‘Simplicity is high thinking’ but because, I know a lady who is a testimony to the fact! This lady commands deepest respect in me for her intellect, simplicity and kindness – My 60 year old mother! (I was biologically late to the family circle)
For the uninitiated, my mother is a traditionally dressed woman with a huge bindi on her forehead, with the thick smear of kumkum running through the midline on her head. She wears simple cotton saris. She has been a home maker all her life. She intermittently takes tuition for free, helping the teenagers preparing for their board exams. She does all the house hold chores of our big house in Bharuch by herself. Cooking, Mopping, washing, Gardening and you name them all. At one time of the day she would be seen imparting trigonometry lessons to a bunch of class IX graders. And, at another time of the same day, she would be busy discussing economics and politics with dad. She has been a workaholic all her life that cracked heels or, her chipped nails don’t bother her much. When I advise her on such aspects, she smiles and says – “Leave me out of this. I am not interested.” And, she intermittently advises me – “Never depend on someone for your work. Even if you have a maid, give her a Sunday off and do your household chores yourself. Not only does it keep you fit, but helps you respect the chores someone does for you.” She hasn’t visited a beauty parlor in her life. And yet, on my wedding day she glowed brighter than me. I still remember how hubby joked about not needing lamps around her. She doesn’t pin up her saris and yet, the casual way she drapes them, brings out her elegance in a way I cannot express. And, she surprises people with her impeccable English because her looks don’t give away the jewel box of wisdom hidden within her. And hence, she sometimes doesn’t understand the hoopla over my dressing standards as a faujan. She asks me innocently, “Are you going to be punished if you are not the ‘tip-top’ woman?” I haven’t been able to answer that with a straight face. And, I feel like a darned idiot when I think about that question. She kind of pats me and says – “Don’t forget to wear that smile! That is enough!” Sigh….I am often torn between my humble upbringing and my grooming as a faujan.
To an onlooker, my mother might come across as a traditional Indian woman who follows traditions to the T. But, looks are very deceptive. It may be hard for many to believe but, being a Tam Bram, I have been brought up in a household where reading was more and traditions were followed less, Science fairs were more and, shopping was less. State tours were more and, parties were less. In fact, she has never imposed rules and restrictions on me during my menstrual cycles. I was given a free entry wherever I wanted. She just stopped with the statement – “When I was a child, your grandmother would ask me to keep away from the deepam. Although I have questioned the belief, I followed what she said. The choice is yours.” In fact, she taught me at an age as early as 11 that, menstruation is a natural phenomenon and, is a gift from God. It definitely is not an abomination and, it must be treated as normally as our daily ablutions. Having had an extremely liberal upbringing I used to be confused at the ways of the world when, naturally happening phenomenon were perceived as a taboo. Surprisingly, many working ladies I have met, and who dress up fabulously harbor extremely shallow thoughts when it came to menstruation, religion and traditions. When I had asked my mom about this, she said calmly, “See….in those days….women needed rest during their menstruation. So, the three or four days of aloofness for the lady as her mood swings would be high. Somewhere down the line, the context was lost and it was made to look like a major problem! So, it don’t matter what you and I think. You listen to many things around. But, you need not necessarily discuss these or, react to what is being said. Not because, you shouldn’t…but because, there is no end to it. And, what good is a discussion that does not provide a solution? Freeya vidu! (meaning – Take it easy)”
As far as the traditions are concerned, she follows them all but has never forced me to do the same. She just tells me – “Be kind. Be humble. Be optimistic. If you gossip about someone or belittle someone, or for that matter make someone feel horrible about themselves and then, brag about performing your vara lakshmi pujai and, all the delicacies you have made, I guess you will be making a fool out of yourself in God’s eyes! So, it don’t matter the number of temples you have visited or, the number of pujais you have done. What matters is how many people have been helped by you in some way or the other in their hour of need.”
That kind of thinking is what makes a woman classy for me. For me, my mother breaks all those brands to pieces with her wisdom and thoughts! As I plan to end this post , I remember a thing or two she has told me whenever I felt sad…..“When you feel cornered by destiny, remember….if good times don’t last, neither do the bad times! And, don’t form opinions about people instantly, especially the ones who seem to make your life miserable. Maybe, you were destined to meet them and learn how not to be ;)” yeah….I guess so!.
That said, it would indeed be a happy world to live in, if we stroked our upturned noses and, said to ourselves every once in a while– “Let’s not judge and be judged. Let’s live and let live!”
P.S: These days, Mum is active on FB and she is enjoying the learning process, operating her tablet….She also happens to read my blogs and, gives some good and harsh critique too! And, as much as I fight with her on parenting methods, get angry with her when she spoils my son with chocolates and, frown when she prefers to make food by hubby’s choice, I love her to the moon and back. And, there is one thing I am still learning from her and, it has been like forever – Simple living but High thinking!
And my verdict on the discussion – Classy thoughts beat a classy attire hands down, any day, any time!!
Feel free to disagree 😛