“It is a tough job those philosophers have who want to rank beauty as one of the absolute values. When you call something beautiful all you mean is that it excites a specific state of feeling in you, but what that something is depends on all manner of circumstances. What sort of an absolute is it that is affected by personal idiosyncrasy, training, fashion, habit, sex and novelty? One would have thought that when once an object was recognized as beautiful it would contain enough of intrinsic worth to retain its beauty for us indefinitely. We know it doesn’t. We get tired of it. Familiarity breeds not contempt perhaps but indifference; and indifference is the death of the aesthetic emotion.
“A thing of beauty is not, as Keats said, a joy forever; it is a thing that excites in us a particular emotion at a particular moment, and if it does that it gives us all that beauty can give. It is absurd to despise people who don’t share our aesthetic opinions.” – Somerset Maugham.
Living in Bangalore has been a beautiful experience so far in that it has bestowed the opportunity for me to observe a variety of people in a truly cosmopolitan setting and their manner and actions have many a time been a source of not a less pleasure.
At times, I wonder whether we really observe what goes on around us or are we too preoccupied and more often than not react with indifference. For I have come to recognize that if we do observe people – friends and strangers - and nature, we’d be amazed at how beautiful an environment we are in.
You walk along a busy thoroughfare and look up towards the sky to find a group of birds flying their way on an exquisite blue background.
In the morning as you walk to the bus stop, you find an old man pillion-riding in a two-wheeler driven by his daughter with his face basking in a faint glow of pride.
You catch a young woman smiling to herself in reflection of some pleasant memory just before reaching your seat.
As you ride back home after work, you see the round orange sun playing hide and seek with you between tree tops and roof tops.
You see a young couple with their kid daughter on a walk; the young one holding her parents’ hand symbolic of blind trust and gauge from the parents’ satisfied faces, their happiness and pride and catch in their smiling eyes a thousand dreams and ambitions waiting for fulfillment.
As you walk to have your dinner, you observe a mother trying to feed a toddler; the little one stubbornly shakes her cute head this way and that; the mother in a tone of pleading affection struggles to balance the curd rice filled plate and the baby.
Do we ever find beauty in these things or have we forgotten the fact that little things like these can go towards making each of our days a lot better!!
Staying very much close to this topic, I cannot help but mention here this incident that so moved me one day. I was practicing this observation (If I may claim so J) sitting on the upper portion of a mini-hill structure close to a nearby temple when I happened to notice a curious pattern:
Young couples, if they happen to come together to the temple stop at the foot of the structure. To climb the structure requires some initial guts but it cannot be termed daunting either. One has to be just careful with the first few steps that one makes and then it is an easy climb thereafter. The girl first looks into the eyes of the boy with an expression that appears to convey something like “You know that I can climb on my own. But, you can help me take the first few steps by lending me your hand.” The boy’s look says something like “I understand that you can climb on your own. But since you need my hand, I am only too glad to help you.”
On that one day, this was a uniform trend and upon observing the looks exchanged, I was convinced that the World is beautiful. One has only to observe and one shall never fail to notice beauty!!