Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Beauty Lies in the Eyes...

Ever wondered why just by looking at someone we have never seen before, evokes a spontaneous yet profound feeling of like or dislike, respect or admiration, humor or contempt or just a vague indescribable feeling? Over time, I have realized that it has nothing to do with physical appearances, or the clothing line that one adorns. Although it’s true that “a thing of beauty is joy forever” the reaction can nevertheless be the same… Even the most beautiful face may not be so beautiful to one particular person. The opposite also holds a substantial amount of truth to it; someone with no great features and looks can be the most attractive person we find. What intrigues me is how we judge a person to be handsome or beautiful. Is it their thoughts, their confident demeanor, their body language, or their overall personality? It fascinates me…

We meet so many people on a daily basis. Some can be total strangers and some we’ve created strong bonds with. More often than not however, that very first look and a brief interaction can tell a lot about them. It could also be pure instinct but is our instinct generated through the signal that they send to us? But if that is true then everyone around us would feel the same about them. There would be one homogeneous pattern to it. Rather, we find that what might be beautiful to me may be a subject of total disapproval for someone else. While a painting on the wall that would keep my gaze fixed for a long long time may not even be noticeable by others.

I started wondering, may be this whole analysis or exercise is futile. Beauty doesn't fit into a logical equation. It is natural, visual or emotional but logical? I doubt so. To equate beauty to merely the physical attraction would also be unjustified. There are so many different elements to it. It’s something that reaches out and touches our heart. It’s unique and personal to each individual. It doesn’t matter what signal they are transmitting to us, it depends on how we are processing them, which in turn depends a lot on our own mental makeup. No wonder they said “beauty lies in the eyes of beholder. 

There’s a story behind each individual which in large part shapes their thought pattern reflecting it on their faces. Since there are so many different fragments to it, some of them might touch that sensitive cord of us and some might completely fail to reach us when we come in contact with them giving us that different and wide array of impressions.

I was following the story of Youssif, the 5 year old Iraqi boy who was picked up while playing outside his house and doused on fire making his face completely distorted. A few days ago I saw that the plastic surgery done on him has been very successful and he is fast on the road to recovery. He cheered in excitement to see that he could smile and open his mouth. The things that we take for granted was a cause of major celebration for him. I don’t think I have seen a smile more beautiful than that ever before and a face so full of life.

"It’s not them," I was contemplating, "it’s us!" May be there are no unattractive faces out there. We just look at them differently...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Warm Christmas

Holiday season started and we wanted to go somewhere. Where? We had lots of places in mind but since it was the Christmas season we wanted to go to a place where we would get the real feel of it. New York City!! What other place can even come close to it when we think of Christmas, I thought! The snow, the cold weather and the decorations everywhere just make it look so glamorous. We had been to the City during the Christmas and holiday season once and it just blew me off. In fact, every time I go there I can not but fall in love with the city. There’s something about it, is it the sensuousness, the glamour, that dizzying array of ambiance or that overwhelming conurbation or something else? Whatever it is, experience of that cannot be duplicated. The uniqueness of the city gives it it’s own unique character. Not a car's natural habitat, Miami Herald columnist and New York State native Dave Barry once joked that the speed limit going North or South in Manhattan is somewhere around 90 MPH, whereas the one for crossing East to West cannot be determined, because no one has ever made the trip.

Well,back to the topic and the big question is still out there. We were also trying to be a little fiscal conscious and decided to rule out the big apple from our list.

Since it was a family vacation with small little kids, the next place I could think of was Orlando, Florida. Orlando, Florida is widely considered the tourism capital of the Southeast United States, and some would say, the entire nation. With the Walt Disney Empire and Universal Studios Florida, Orlando is a hot tourism and vacation destination. My daughter just screamed in excitement the moment she heard of the Disney land and Sea world.

We landed at Orlando, FL at 10.30 am. Wow, is this for real? Its seemed like I hadn’t seen a warm dry weather in a long long time. It was the end of December, and here in mid west, we already had 6 inches of snow coupled with a freezing weather. I have a friend living in one of the southern states and we often talk about the weather. When we are facing a snow storm she calls me up and tells me that they are enjoying a nice warm weather somewhere in 60s and I often joked that I was envious of the situation she was in. But after landing at Florida I wasn't sure, if it evoked the similar feeling in me. There was no feeling of Christmas over there. My daughter started complaining of heat. I thought all these years I had been complaining about the snow and winter, but may be, I like that better than this. I didn’t think I belonged here. The palm trees didn’t look as charming as the Christmas trees and the hot humid weather automatically led me to turn AC on to the full speed. People out side were in their shorts and T shirts and instead of the snow boots, there were flip flops and slippers everywhere. It was amazing. We all know that southern states are hot but seeing it and feeling it would put me in such a different perspective I had never expected.

We had made our plans already and were ready to follow our itinerary. We went to the Disney land first. There were so many fun filled activities to do. One thing after the other, the thrill rides, the water parks and the animal kingdom sent the crowd berserk. Soon I forgot about how I was feeling there and started enjoying the place. After a long tiring day at the park we were driving back to our hotel and I unconsciously found myself lost in the admiration of the city. The wide broad roads and the vast expanse of the city looked beautiful! The city is planned very methodically and decorated very beautifully. The palm trees alongside the roads gave the city an aesthetic look. I found the city extremely pleasant. It was exhilarating yet a little laid back. At the Disney land, in order to create a feeling of Christmas, they were blowing some white fluffy stuff and my daughter was running around to catch it calling “mommy see that’s pretend snow!" :)

4 days passed like a single moment. My daughter who was complaining about the heat in the beginning now wanted to move here. We laughed and joked about how quickly our perspective changes about something.

It was a sad feeling at the airport. So far I had only thought that the best place in the world to see is NYC. Christmas in a hot and humid weather would not be so much fun but things were different now. We wanted to extend our vacation a little bit more but alas, that was not possible. We boarded the flight and with a heavy heart said good bye to Florida.

The pilot announced that the temperature in Indianapolis is 29 deg F. We looked at each other and exchanged a smile. Pulled our jackets and coats out and got ready to face that freezing weather again.

It's been almost 2 days since we are back. Past 2 days, it didn't snow as much but its very very cold here. I woke up in the morning and looked out side. The Christmas lights and decorations were still on at some of the houses in the neighborhood. The bows that we had hung outside were flapping in the brisk air. Suddenly I caught myself smiling. I turned my fireplace on and started enjoying my morning cup of tea.

It felt so much at home..:)

To be happy is to live in the moment ……………….