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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

#AtoZChallenge - 4-25-2017 - Letter U

                                                          U for Ugly

Just as beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, so too does ugliness. However, the larger issue is: our tendency in general, to associate one kind of beauty with another. Or refusing to believe that Ugly is one facet of Beauty too. That tendency is only human-----and it is a direct result of the imaginative chip in our brain circuits.  

Literature and cinema are full of this kind of lively imagination. There was a V.Shantaram movie in which Sandhya is secretly a radio singer going by the name of Kokila (nightingale/ koel). Her everyday avatar is that of an ugly servant in a big household. (The ugliness is symbolized by a liberal coating of boot polish on her face! That topic is another subject by itself—why is melanin equated with ugliness?) The younger son of the house listens to her songs on the radio, and paints a wonderful picture of her and falls in love with her. She sees the painting and is loath to reveal herself, because she doesn’t want to rudely awaken him from his dreams. Another Shantaram movie, “Navrang” had a similar theme----the poet’s muse is a beautiful woman---it is actually his wife but neither of them realizes it and the wife is tormented by the thought of the poet being totally enslaved by the muse.  The husband is disgusted by the ordinary, normal persona of the wife and has no time for her. And of course the much-celebrated-and-ridiculed Satyam Shivam Sundaram, where the hero assumes the heroine is beautiful because her voice is.

In the legend of Udayana and Vasavadatta (read your Amar Chitra Kathas!), Princess Vasavadatta’s father arranges for her to learn a special musical mantra from King Udayana, to charm elephants. Since Udayana is his enemy and he doesn’t want his daughter falling for the enemy, he arranges for a curtain between them, telling Udayana that his student is an old hunchback woman, and telling Vasavadatta that her teacher is a leper. However during the course of a lesson, the princess keeps making mistakes, which provokes the wrath of the royal guru. He reprimands her, and calls her a hunchback. She retaliates by calling him a leper, they part the curtains in anger, and of course the expected happens.

While such a premise is interesting material for literary purposes, all of us would do well to steer clear of such filmi speculations in real life!


  1. We are all besotted by images of what we individually consider beauty. For instance, I do like beautiful women, but keep a distance from them because in my head I've already perceived them to be arrogant and intimidating. On the other hand, I find soft-spoken girls very attractive, maybe because I assume them to be kind and gentle and non-judgmental. Everyone has their own parameters to judge beauty.
    Well written ☺

    1. Thank you very much CRD! Your observations add another facet to the topic!