The past decade has found me looking at pictures taken by different photographers, in different places and in different attire…and thinking that the person in the pictures is different from me.
I look at that lop-sided smile, the grooves and crevices on the right cheek and nose, the unruly grey locks and it mystifies me–how can this person be me? I do not envision myself like that, and then, there are those additional layers of padding all over that once-lean-torso, which would peep out from the most unexpected angles.
These pictures of the scarred me are a great reminder of what “being relevant” is all about. It reminds me of the challenges faced and overcome…it reminds me about the lovely women who were born to me ….and it gives me respect and support when I least expect it. Grey haired, lop sided grinning women just seem to be the right sort of people to help out–getting seats on crowded Metro trains, getting helpful boys to push my luggage on overhead racks on trains and getting to be jump the queue at the petrol pump in Ranikhet.
I like being this person, most of the time..in fact, I wouldn’t change anything about her, even if I was offered a free makeover. But then, there are times when I see my gorgeous and lovely friends, well toned and well turned out, looking like a thousand bucks from any angle or at any time…Those are the times when I want to run to the gym and get a rigorous routine going , dash into a parlour and get colour and tints and liner on the necessary parts of my anatomy, zip into a Mall and get a spanking new wardrobe. Luckily, the feeling passes before I take the first step in that direction, and I can compliment and admire my lovely friends with genuine affection and pleasure.
And then, along came the touch phones, I-phones, selfie sticks and the selfie rage. When professional photographers have left me unrecognisable , there was no way in which a selfie would change matters. No attempts were made, and the mobile camera remained shut for months.
On my way back from Ludhiana, waiting for the train to start moving out of the platform and getting a little bored with my knitting and reading, I turned on the camera, looked out at the scenery and clicked. And there was a picture of someone I had not seen for a long, long time. A woman with smooth contours, a sharp profile and a serene face. Was that woman me?!
It then struck me…This serene woman was as much part of me as that other lopsided smiling lady who stared back at me from the mirror and from pictures. I had chosen to always look at the scars, the crooked lines and the unruly grey hair. But that was just the part of the story which I had scripted about my life.
There is so much more to life and its story … waiting to be seen and acknowledged by me. I needed that selfie to remind me that there are many angles to view one’s life from…and even if I had spent a decade focussing on scars and injuries, the other bits of me were still there. It was upto me to see myself from whichever angle I wanted, and that I had spent enough time belittling photographs and impressions.
Its time to assimilate one more Truth of Life. That beauty and ugliness are just two sides of the same coin…like light and darkness, like joy and sorrow, like day and night…there can be beauty only when imperfections are accepted and appreciated. This lesson will stay with me for a long time…as long as I do not delete that perfect selfie from Google drive!