Monday, July 4, 2011

Another way of looking at people

I grew up being called dark. Growing up in a country obsessed with skin colour, it took me years to realise that wheatish complexion is not really dark, and who cares about skin colour anyway. I have friends and family who recall horror days of being labelled ‘fat’. Even freakishly thin people are traumatised by their nicknames such as ‘beanstalk’, ‘scarecrow’ or ‘skinny’.

So often, we are asked to describe a person for the purpose of identification. Suppose you are a guy at a bar and you want to point out a particular person, say a woman, to your friend. Suppose this woman is with one other person who is fat, while the woman you are looking at is slender. How do you describe her to your friends so he identifies her easily? Do you use the words ‘tall, ‘thin, ‘tall’, ‘fair’…?

I recently read a book by Lee Child (who is one of my favorite thriller writers)—I think it was 61 Hours. In the book, a woman was described to the protagonist Jack Reacher as ‘the woman wearing glasses’. This a lesson in life, to learn to identify a person using appropriate descriptions rather than adjectives, something that doesn’t evoke sexuality, body parts, etc., but instead the more obvious unambiguous traits / elements that makes a person who he/she is.

I now look at people in new light. I observe things about them beyond their appearance that tell you what kind of person he/she probably is. I know spectacles have something to do with appearance, but it is an item unattached to the body (i.e. does not describe the body in any way. Therefore, I make a note of that. Identification by way of clothes if fine too as long as the observation is not derogatory, such as red blouse, blue trouser, polo necked sweater, etc.

1 comment:

Sana Rose said...

Hello, that's interesting. :) A good view, I would say.
We could also be more optimistic about the descriptions, if one says "the fat lady near the short man" or "the dark skinned near the fair girl".
We could just take it as an adjective or adverb instead of taking it personally because we know that we are not the only dark skinned, or only fat, or only too thin persons in the world. (India being a colour-oriented country is quite right, but may be there just aren't that much diversity in Europe and USA).
So if someone says there is that dark girl, love the dark skin, it's who you are, it's not about the quality of colour, (dark skin is healthier and better than white of course - that's a fact).I have been very white since a baby, and it's because my family got that gene, but that doesn't make me more beautiful or even faultless. It just enhances the dark spots and acne scars on my face and people ask about that little dark in my face - the spots. And some people think am too fair. and my face is being blotted with pimples. What can I do about it? I just accepted it as it is.
Whatever we do, we will never be flawless to others. There would be some tiny thing that is wrong with us, to at least one person...

It's just the way it is. We can't change how other people view us, we can change how we take it. I don't believe in the beauty enhancing programs and money-cracking in parlours.
We do our best, we dress well and keep ourselves clean. And keep our mind beautiful. That MUST do. :)

Keep writing. :)