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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"And you still make me look beautiful..."


She took an oath not to look at herself anymore. A decade had passed and it was becoming difficult for her to ignore herself. She remembered how grateful she used to feel standing in front of the mirror, looking at herself - making faces trying to look whimsical, delightful, alluring, arrogant, proud all at the same time. As she advanced a bit further, teenage was exciting and fun - something beyond description. Her long black tresses, black eyes, golden skin and brilliantly sculpted visage made people around her shower compliments.

Sixteen, eighteen, twenty years seemed like milestones. With each year, she found her grip on life strengthening. In the next few decades, she suddenly got too occupied dealing with life. So much was happening around her all the time that she couldn’t be bothered about trivial matters of vanity.
Upon turning sixty and being free from most of her responsibilities, she, as if waking up after a long sleep, noticed for the first time, the erosion that time had caused her. The wrinkles on her face, the loosened muscles, sagging bags around her eyes, and the flood of grey hair, were hard to accept. The variations were massive and astoundingly bothersome to live with. At times, we know the realities of life, but still they are hard to bear. We try to make a narrow escape circumventing them until we can.  She was going through a similar facet. It had been ten years now, and her anxiety had kept her away from looking at herself and at the evidences of age growing on her.

One winter afternoon, she was sitting on the armchair in the veranda of her house, basking under the warmth of shimmering sun, silently staring at her hands, lost somewhere faraway.
Just a few moments later a man in his late seventies came to her with slightly drooped shoulders, a head full of grey cells and a few countable black ones, almond shaped deep brown eyes, long nose slightly curved downwards and lips finely carved over the aged but gleaming skin. His body sagged down a bit negating an inch or two from his above average height. He pulled a chair beside her and sat down, held her hands in his and asked, "What are you thinking dear?”

She, a bit uncomfortable due to sudden disruption in her silent moments, looked at the man. "Nothing", she said, “I was just thinking about...” and she went back to her melancholy . Peeping in her eyes he said, "You know, you are beautiful." and she, absorbed in similar meditation, suddenly spurted out loudly “Am I?"
The man affirmed, "Of course, why do you think you are not?". He had a strong, determined voice but there was certain kind of concern and softness hidden inside.
With a little reluctance, she further revealed, "but... but these wrinkles, and this skin, it is old. You always used to hate ugly things. Isn't it?"
"Yes I do, I still do. But who told you wrinkles are ugly?"
"What do you mean?” she asked.
He pulled her chair a bit closer and moved her face to his and divulged further, "Do you know, when I saw you for the first time 45 years back...”, evoking the recollection of those times he continued, “I still remember, I looked in your eyes, full of sparkle. I looked at you, a modest smile and a dash of chirp in your speech. I was convinced inside my head in that very first moment- I was in love with you that very first time I saw you".
She smiled, "That was enchanting, I have heard that thousands of times, and even now things about us are music to my ears, I feel the fragrance of those days, and feel the bloom and freshness in air from that time."

She smiled, "That was enchanting, I have heard that thousands of times, and even now things about us are music to my ears, I feel the fragrance of those days, and feel the bloom and freshness in air from that time."
She looked outside, her eyes were misty, romantic, bewitched by the dreamy tales from yesteryear’s fairyland she had arrived from and he was constantly staring at her. He proceeded, "We fought a lot, unable to understand each other, sometimes out of our ego, other times out of over expectations. I feel it was essential, as it helped us getting closer, understanding and becoming tolerant to each other. We learned to surrender our egos, we learned to respect each other."
"It was your fault, you took so much time in understanding me," she complained with sparkle in her eyes. They both laughed.
"I was frightened during the birth of our children, scared of losing you, but you held my hand and assured me that everything will be fine. You grew more beautiful each day. And I am so grateful to you for gifting me a pretty daughter and a handsome son."
"You stood beside me in my tough times. You helped me stand firmly during those times. I got everything when I got you. I remember how you and my mother used to grumble about your respective husbands while discussing my father and me. I lived the moments, I lived the life.” He paused for a while and continued, “ Do you know your smile is still the same like the one I saw the first time, your eyes  still hold that dreamy enchantment when I look in them!"
"It has been a long way, and the end is near, for which I fear.", she said," We are sitting alone here, I miss my son sometimes, and yearn for my daughter. Why can’t they be with us?"
“And you never miss me because I have been around you always.”
She laughed back, "I don't want to miss you ever. It’s impossible to believe how your love grows when my looks are decaying each day?"
“Who told you they are decaying?”
"I dislike these wrinkles, they remind me that I am growing old and there is not much time left", a tear silently fell from her eyes.
"I love them. They remind me of the time we have spent together, they are an affirmation, a testimony that we have been together for ages. They remind me of our joyous and gloomy moments, they are one of the most enticing things I have ever experienced. They make me fall in love with you all over again. "
He was smiling, looking at her. She was now pacified and calmed, silently looking at his hands holding hers. Both of their hands were beautiful for they were together, holding each other.
There was more to live, specially this moment, before they part...

He continued, “I fell even deeper in love when I beheld  you on the day of our marriage. As you were coming to me, I felt that life was all about meeting you and we were born to be together. No moment can ever be so exalting."

Now she does not need any mirror, not because she hates to look at it but she had him who’s eyes truly reflected her soul to her and made her feel beautiful.
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