Thursday, October 20, 2005

A lesson from my wife's Dentist?

Note: My longest post so far, so give it some of your time.

I will be taking my wife to her dentist soon for her monthly check-up and for the tightening of her braces. But the most intriguing and interesting part of visiting the dentist is this. It will be my third visit to the dentist and I actually don't know who she is. Confusing? Let me explain. After her initial examinations/x-rays/consultations/other treatments etc., with the senior dentist at the clinic my wife is checked regularly by this lady dentist who I guess is a consulting dentist at the clinic. I am allowed to be in the room while the dentist is at work. We speak and discuss with one another and all the while the dentist wears a mouth/nose mask and a white coat. All I can see while speaking to her is her eyes. I can deduce that she could be in her mid to late 20's or mayble in her early 30's too. Now suppose she were to run into me anywhere outside the clinic it would be impossible for me to recognize her unless she would tell me who she is. In fact it would also be difficult for me to identify her among the other dentists who work in the clinic as most of them are more or less of the same age group, size and stature, given I see them without their masks and coats on.

Drawing a parallel here to the usage of the "Burkha" worn by muslim women (in many cases whose eyes are also hidden behind a meshed cloth-screen), I think the biggest success story of the costume is in the fact that it prevents the creation of any sensuous feelings or thoughts in men. Besides that the "Burkha" also helps in protecting the identity of the wearer. My muslim friends tell me that the key feature of the costume is "modesty" because it hides the physical form of the wearer. So, "no flesh/curves/curvature-revealing, no turn-on's". However it is also understood that it is impractical to dress the women of the world this way. When Delhi was plagued by rapes a few months ago (even now they have a pretty bad rating) a surreptitious video made by the Police Commissioner on the skimpy dressing of girls and women, most of them shot in public places, was aired on one of the private TV channels. The video was so "wild" that even pious men would let go off their restraint. What to say of the others then? Here is where the "Burkha" triumphs.

And writing of the physical form, assuming Aiswarya Rai had the same face but an obese body would anyone call her beautiful? In that case aren't we also taking into consideration the rest of her body besides her face while making that judgement? Let's face it. When we call Aiswarya beautiful we ARE considering her entire physical form. Even if we were only looking at her face there are other elements of a face that constitute a woman's beauty besides her eyes. You just don't look at an only-eyes-revealing face and come to a conclusion. Do we?

Now this leads us to another question? Aren't we also enjoying Aiswarya's beauty when we call her beautiful? When do we find a song or a scenery beautiful? Only after we enjoy it, don't we? However unlike songs or sceneries is it ethical to enjoy another's beauty? Yet we do it all the time unconsciously. Why isn't that wrong or called sin? Or is it? At the same time it is also ridiculous to say to someone, "You look great today and I do enjoy that". Beauty is to be appreciated afterall but then are we all sinners when we do so?

I am not trying to say that you, I, and everyone drool at someone's physical form (although I am not denying that, THAT never happens either) but I personally feel that when you find someone beautiful in the physical sense the motive need not always be sensual. However I also find it difficult to not call that feeling completely "non-sensual" either. It is just that the level of sensousness varies from commentor to commentor, thinker to thinker and also depends on the object of appreciation. When I look at my sister or my pretty niece and tell them how beautiful they are I know I cannot be enjoying their beauty. Even if I were it would certainly not be sensually. It's my feeling again that the level of sensuality, the more stronger it is, the more we tend towards being and doing "WRONG" (can I use the world SIN here if not ADULTERY).

By now I can almost hear you screaming, How about inner beauty? Well that'll be another post...

Finally I am reminded of a lesser known episode in the Ramayana. Sita has just been abducted by Ravana, and Rama and Lakshmana are frantically searching for her. After some searching Rama finds Sita's jewels on the ground. Rama picks them and exclaims, "Look here Lakshmana, these are Sita's jewels. Aren't they?" To which the humble and benovelent Lakshmana replies "I know for sure that the anklets belong to Sita but I haven't got a clue about the necklace and the bangles." For Lakshmana even looking up towards any woman was a violation of his Brahmacharya. Hail Lakshmana! But did he have a message in that answer for all of us?


Dil-E-Nadaan said...

Thank you for your kind words on my own blog and introducing me to yours. As a Muslim women, I respect the tolerance and thought you give to the Hijaab and Nikaab. I think you truly convey the essence of why women make those choices. But do you ever think a woman becomes more alluring or attractive under the mysteriousness of a burqah? In Dubai this summer, I saw hoards of Arab women in nikaab with pencil heels and heavily kajol lined eyes. My eyes couldnt move from the stunning grace of their walk and the lining of their seemed like the simple girl in a ponytail and jeans was more modest then it really then the burqah or the attitude?

Subash S L said...

Hi Nermeen,

That was a nice phrase, "mysteriousness of a burqah". True, a woman with attractive eyes can be more alluring behind the burqah. The eyes of a woman can be very beautiful, so can her hands and feet. The question I was trying to ask in my post was this. When you look at the face of a girl or a woman and find her beautiful, you are just not looking at her eyes alone. Other components of the face, the nose, cheeks, lips, ears, hair, forehead, even mouth, teeth, tongue, smile, speech and expression are being considered. Is that morally right or wrong?

Mustang said...

hi there nermeen and subash,
im david and i am subash's collegue in office.
well, i guess im getting into this in the middle of the discussion, but then as subash's question did pop up "When you look at the face of a girl or a woman and find her beautiful, you are just not looking at her eyes alone. Other components of the face, the nose, cheeks, lips, ears, hair, forehead, even mouth, teeth, tongue, smile, speech and expression are being considered. Is that morally right or wrong?"

What is beauty???? im sure that many people around the world have different answers to that.. but i believe God has created every person to be beautiful in His own eyes. Answering if all the other factors are considered to define a person is beautiful or not, i would say that no matter how the person is from outside, its the heart that matters in the end.. the face, the speech and the looks reflects what the heart is...
As long as a person does not base his judgement of beauty based on the what he sees, but on what he feels about that person, i feel that its right in every aspect.
Please correct me if i am wrong in this case..


Subash S L said...

Hi David,

Honestly, this was a very delicate topic and I guess I indulged in it a bit too hard. Probably I should have saved it for a detailed discussion later but I gave in to spontaniety of the moment. I just wanted to write it then.

But of course I do agree with you when you said the inner beauty of a person is reflected in the features of the face. Lovely! But how many of us are actually doing that? In fact it is very difficult to understand that beauty on a girls face the very first time you look at her. Isn't it? Your line "As long as... in every aspect" is nicely put and I totally agree.