The man snored, swaddled in the cradles of sleep. Morn was about to crack open, as was yet another day of warring. The sun soon rose, awash in it’s colours, dripping it’s hues over the sore sky, with the night melting away. Rays sneaked in and onto the man’s face, awaking him as gently as a mother would.
As he was getting dressed, he couldn’t help noticing what he saw every day. The mirror reflected back the jarring realities of himself. The dark, scarred face saw him back, smeared with red pimples. His lips were swollen always, and he made quite some jokes at that to amuse him. His eyes ran up to his forehead, above which hair had refused to grow since years. He liked whatever hair he did have, and refused to shave it clean. ‘You look thrice your age,’ those who were willing to talk told him. ‘Ugly,’ they called him behind his back.
He began walking on his path to work, as he did every day. No one had eyes for him, and those who managed a glance looked away as hastily as they could. People pointedly stayed away from his tracks. He walked in a cloud of gloom he didn’t choose to have, and it rained sympathy and hostility he thought he didn’t warrant.
He arrived at a crossing, which was an inferno of pedestrians and vehicles on their own ways. The women walked away briskly, adjusting their make-up and the men trod on, combing their hair in the process to look presentable. Within that maze of zig zag motions of self obsessed people, an old lady stood at a crossing on the road, patiently waiting to cross the road. She stood there, with her day at a standstill while the world continued to move around in its strenuous nature. He paused, wary. Looking around, he saw that nobody had the time to even notice this lady, forget helping her. For all his helpful tendencies, he was afraid. Instances had made him wary of reactions to himself, yet he decided to approach her.
In the world of the busy beauty, the ugly man walked the old lady across the road.
As he approached his workplace, a stray dog leapt at him. Barking happily, the dog began licking his face. They made a queer sight; a stray dog playing with an ugly man on the side of the street, which made people stay away. What the posh thought was filthy and dirty, the living felt love in that. The dog didn’t seem to find him ugly and lonely. They shared a bond deeper than anyone he had had with before, whether it be a part of his lunch or rushing to save him from kids who pelted stones at the dog. The dog, in return, kept an eye out for him every day, for once, making him feel welcome, somewhere.
In a world of indifference, the ugly man showed compassion.
Back from work, he saw a poor, homeless man on the footpath below his apartment. He rushed up, sought his old blanket and gave it to the poor man. The poor man got up, startled and tiredly afraid of another evacuation, when he saw the kind smile and soothed. They shared tea until late into the night, the poor man and the ugly man.
In a world of stoic tolerance, the ugly man radiated kindness.
Beauty. It is a question, more than a state of art notion of philosophy. A question that was asked millions of years ago, a question that has been answered in different versions. But the truth remains, that we have always chosen the wrong answers to live by. The truth is that those who have never laid below the starry midnight sky have no idea what serene beauty is. The truth is that those who have never helped someone in need have no idea what the beauty of gratitude is. The fact remains that those who have never seen an old couple in each other’s arms have no idea what the words, “I love you” mean. The fact remains that those who have never lived, have no idea how beautiful is life, beyond the shades of mascara and beyond the notions of exterior attractiveness. How rich of us, to use the words ‘beauty’ and ‘beautiful’ when ‘ugly’ is the word we use most sincerely. How rich of us to label someone a positive or a negative based on what they look like, rather than what they look at things like!
There is beauty in this world that is flowing. Ageing. And then there’s beauty that is stagnant. It is the same difference as it is between a flower and the woods – one a blush, the other a perennial bloom. Flowing beauties of the world wane; their definitions temporary. They are a shell, superficial and hollow. But within each shell lies something indelible and endless – something that will never cease; something that defies time like time has never been defied before. It happens so often, yet we think it has flown away. It’s that ever enduring beauty that makes life worth living, that makes the work worth doing, which makes one love living.