02 August 2011

hidden beauty

“the beauty of that which is hidden is greater than the beauty of that which is apparent” (kalam of imam ali (as))
I usually cruise along happily in my rida (more so now, after having lost some long unwanted extra kilos!), until someone rudely jolts me with their own prejudices and stereotypes. I have always thought the rida to be a beautiful and comfortable outfit, and wearing it always made me feel more ‘me’. it covers your hair and figure in a gentle, elegant manner. I never wanted anyone but my significant other to see me without a rida—everything within the two piece outfit was only for a special pair of eyes. everyone else could admire my rida, and the ‘me’ not related to any physical attributes.


i read this article today about india’s fairness obsession. a similar obsession exists in most of asia –hong kong, china, south korea, japan, and others. I am clueless as to its origins and what it means. I can understand that people have preferences for their skin tone, but to have life choices hinge on this is seriously insane.

i remember just returning to hk after graduating from college, and beginning my job search. this one ad kept playing on the tv, where a recent graduate is all depressed about finding a job, until her professor gives her some beauty product. as soon as she uses it, she’s all glowing and immediately lands a job. I was outraged. what, all I needed was a beauty cream to find a job?? what was the point of the four years of hard work, of graduating with honors?? argh.

society’s obsession with skin color, weight, fashion sense is truly bizarre, if you sit down to think about it.


the beauty of ramadan is also hidden. it's not found in just the physical manifestation of hunger and thirst, but in the spiritual cleansing and rewards undertaken.

There’s hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox
is stuffed full of anything, no music. [Rumi, 'Fasting']
Let nothing be inside of you.
Be empty: give your lips to the lips of the reed.
When like a reed you fill with His breath,
then you’ll taste sweetness. [Rumi, 'Ramadan']

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