In praise of her audacious simplicity

I have always admired Nandita Das for her simplicity and beauty,  more than I could ever admire Aishwarya Rai or any other world-celebrated beauty. As a teenager, when I would see Rai’s flawless photographs spanning the newspapers, I would say, wow! My eyeballs would be out and I would stare at her perfection.

Das, on the other hand, made me speechless. And experience the sort that makes you pause and think. Her simplicity is audacious and her beauty,  fierce. She is that defiant woman who just walked past glamour and made heads turn. Remember Cannes? While every actor tries to wear the most glamorous clothes and use the boldest strokes of color to draw attention to the best of her face, she snubbed the popular culture. 

Nandita Das at Cannes

It’s an honest confession that I am awed by her will,  the way she never brought herself to chasing conventional perfection. She has done over thirty films in various languages and if I remember her it is for her labour of love and her natural performance and the shining apathy to towards trying to fit in. 

And while the subject is on, one must not dare to forget Smita Patil who detested wearing makeup at all and appeared on screen with her pimples and scars showing off. If you find someone who’s got the guts to tell it as it is, celebrate them.

Smita Patil

My personal taste is simplicity, perhaps also because my mother lives by it and equates it to sincerity. 

Our culture, our insecurities

Why do you compare little girls on the basis of their beauty, and boys on their intelligence or physical strength?

Why do we see girls growing up to wear makeup, worrying about sporadic acne, ironing their frizzy tresses?

So much business thrives on our insecurities. 

possession of an idea

How would you notice the damage literature does to you when you think that you possess books, stories and thoughts?The truth is that you are possessed by them. 

Urdu Poetry

Children of war

I

Two little kids sit on the debris, 

the girl looking at her brother’s bare back.

The hungry boy fumbles in the pile of remains. 

The sister digs her finger into the wound on his back. 

And the boy’s hand emerges out from the debris with a pencil that he thinks of handing to her. 

II

 You are going to wander

till you have found a way of loving yourself through it all

The journey is going to mislead you, disappoint you and what else? It’s also going to make you want it to end. 

But you must find a way to love yourself before it ends.