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Beauty, Perfection and the Brand Ambassadors that represent them

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Passion.
One word that defines the true character of a man, one thing that tells whether he is really living or simply pushing time, one yardstick to fathom his ideas and ideals, and thereby his true identity; the one thing that moves the world towards betterment.
The most beautiful smiles are often priceless, as they are not easy to come by. Sometimes it takes years of hard work, mostly driven by one single entity – an unalloyed passion, towards one’s work of art.
It’s been said that basically every work is just a craft in the beginning. But it takes an art form when it’s driven by a raw passion; be it music, painting, sports, writing or even a simple clerical job at a bank. Maybe the latter cannot be termed as art in a conventional way, but it becomes a sort of subsidiary of art, when a person does it with tremendous passion.
To start with an example, I consider my mother to be the most beautiful woman on earth. No competition there. But she looks something superior to the used adjective, when I see her working (she is a special assistant in a bank). The glow on her face when she is typing numbers and names on the computer with rattling speed, or when she is interacting with the customers, is divine, is magical. And that, to me, is beauty. More than twenty years of service, and she still has the enthusiasm of a newly recruited 20-something employee. Not one single complaint about her job till now. Reason: she loves her job to the core.
Same is the case with my father. Both being bank employees, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing my parents go about their jobs, with love. I vividly remember the days when I, as a little boy, used to prance around in the bank. They simply love what they do. Although I didn’t understand these things then, and thought everybody went about their jobs in a similar fashion. But it was only when I grew up did I notice the difference. Some of their colleagues were/are way too rude with customers, and they often whine.
A person’s face when encapsulated by that magical glow and raw intense force while he is doing something that he loves and enjoys the most, is beauty. One look at him and you’ll understand that nothing in this world is more important than what he is doing at the present moment, irrespective of the standards of the job as set by some ordinary and presumptuous minds of the society. Whether he’s a cricketer, musician, writer, cobbler, or an engineer – doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is how much he loves doing it, how passionate he is about it and finally, how well he does it. And watching him do his work, with all his sense organs focused on only one thing – that’s the most beautiful sight on earth to me. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can beat that.
***
Very recently, while walking down the street with a friend, I slipped and fell at the expense of a torn sandal. There was a cobbler nearby, sitting in his tiny wooden shop. Charma Kuteera, the name of the shop said. Apparently that’s the name given to every such shop in my city. Must be some rule. Anyway, I went to him and gave the torn sandal. He went about his stitching, while I stood with my friend and watched him fix my sandal. It was ready within a few minutes. I paid the money and went my way.
Few weeks later, a similar thing happened with my friend and we went to another cobbler. It was only now that I noticed the difference. Unlike the previous one, this person started working as if it was the most supreme thing in the world. His concentration, total. The look on his face, sublime. I’m sure I saw a smile on his face when he was done with it. Mending shoes is the most beautiful thing to him, and to me, watching him do it was beautiful.
Ever wondered why we find babies and kids charming and gorgeous? It’s not only because of their tiny bodies and baby smell they carry around, but mainly because whatever they do, they do it with interest. Nothing is unimportant to them. Everything is magical. That inquisitiveness is what drives them. Unfortunately, as they grow up, that curiosity dies down. That passion is lost somewhere. Everything becomes routine. Do it because you have to do, not because you love it, is the unspoken statement. But a few people retain that passion. Unlike kids that are curious about every little thing around them, these men and women retain that curiosity towards one specific thing of their liking. And that specific thing becomes their world, it surrounds them completely, they become obsessed, they can’t talk and think about anything else except that. That’s what passion does to a man. It drives them crazy, and it’s inspiring.
And when I see such people immersed in their work, enjoying every second, I revel in it, I get inspired. Observe their faces when they talk about the work they love doing, and you’ll find a divine radiance there. That sight, to me, is delicious.
***
When Sachin Tendulkar plays that marvelous straight drive, he doesn’t change his stance for a few seconds. He just stands there, without moving a muscle, and watches the ball. Or when Rahul Dravid plays that magnificent square cut. Oh, boy. How much I love to see it again and again. They don’t jump up and down with joy, and their faces look as intense as ever. But one can easily see these men enjoying every moment of it. Although Saina Nehwal is pretty, she looks her best when she is playing. Skimming the sweat off her face, getting ready for the next serve, playing her backhand and forehand strokes with incredible brilliance – all accentuated by that winner’s attitude and winning smile in the end; that is lovely.
Though these men and women look tired while performing, one can see a beatific sense of repose on their faces.
I can give hundreds of such examples where I see beauty in its purest sense. Musicians, painters, sportsmen, photographers, writers, engineers, architects, doctors, a tea shop owner at my place (whose shop is elegantly named, Tea Lounge), a mechanic where I get my bike serviced and many others – all these people worship what they do.
I recently watched the latest Royal Enfield commercial. If ‘Show, don’t tell’ is the golden rule of storytelling, then the ad maker, who made that commercial knows how to tell a story. Here, the story of Royal Enfield. It’s a very simple ad, with no dialogues, no glamour and no big stars. A regular middleclass man gets ready for work in the morning, with a kiss from his little daughter. He then kick-starts his bike – Royal Enfield Bullet 350 – and moves on. The bike itself is not shown from stylish angles. It’s just another bike there, but as the ad continues, with a mellifluous piece of music playing in the background, you’ll realize that the bike symbolizes attitude. The man rides slowly through the narrow lanes of Chennai and reaches his workplace – Royal Enfield factory. At the end, an old man – probably the chairman – stands behind a basic model of Bullet as three words flash on the screen. ‘Handcrafted in Chennai.’
When they say, ‘Handcrafted in Chennai,’ they mean it. The finishing touch, those royal, radium-yellow lines on the fuel tank, is actually painted by a man, and not a machine. It’s not some graphic design either. That’s the signature of Royal Enfield. How he does it can be seen on YouTube. Seeing him paint it, without any kind of ruler or compass, is just fantastic. The only tool he uses is passion.
I experience the same heavenly feeling when I see the mechanic, working on my bike. I ask him to do a simple, regular service, but he doesn’t get satisfied until he breaks my bike into a hundred pieces and checks every part. Sitting in his garage and watching him fix my bike is terrific. His hands and clothes are all greased, his hair all rumpled, his face sweaty because of the scorching heat outside; but he looks immensely calm. He is at peace with himself.
I don’t mean to exaggerate on this, but here’s another fact. Everyday a young boy, who looks my age, comes to pick up the garbage. He’s one of the people appointed by the city municipality. Just like everyone, he’s given a particular area, from where he has to collect the garbage. He comes at about seven or seven-thirty in the morning and shouts ‘Amma’, at the top of his voice. One of us, usually my granny, goes and gives him the garbage bin. He empties it in what looks like a small pushcart and gives the bin back. That’s his job. I’ve seen many guys like him. But unlike others, he doesn’t cringe when the residents don’t answer to him immediately. He always has earphones plugged in, keeps murmuring a song until somebody shows up with the bin. Once it’s done, he moves on, singing to himself. One look at him and you’ll realize that he has no complaints about his job whatsoever. Sometimes, having woken up in a bad mood, I go out to answer his call and see him going about his job. He takes the garbage bin from my hand, all the while murmuring a song. He looks so happy. And looking at him is so inspiring. If this is not beauty, then what is?
***
Some say that watching sunrise/sunset is one of the most beautiful sights on earth. Maybe it’s true. I enjoy it too. It’s certainly beautiful. But once in a while a crazy photographer comes along, stands beside me and starts clicking. Everything changes at that moment. The definition of the word ‘beautiful’ changes for me. Watching that photographer play with his camera, who is trying to make the beautiful sunset more beautiful, is absolutely delightful to me. If indeed the beauty of nature is divine, if it is perfection, then an obsessed, passionate photographer improves upon that perfection – thereby proving that perfection exists in this world. What we can’t see with our naked eyes, is shown splendidly through the eyes of his camera. Showing an already beautiful thing in a more beautiful and innovative way is not easy. That’s creativity, that’s genius … that’s beauty.
One of my friends, who talks about nothing but photography most of the time, is crazy about that art of freezing time. We meet almost everyday and discuss about the most inane things. But when the topic of photography comes up, an unfathomable force takes over him. He just can’t break free from it. And that force is nothing but sheer passion. The glow that comes on his face then, is angelic. It’s similar to the glow I see on Jeffrey Archer’s face when I see and hear him talk about his writing.
***
A very long time back I had an opportunity to watch Rahul Dravid practice in the nets in Chinnaswami Stadium, Bangalore. It was quite early in the morning. Being an ardent fan, I was naturally excited. But when I saw him up close, hitting the balls furiously as they came, he was not Rahul Dravid, the star cricketer. He was a man possessed; a man obsessed; a man crazy about his game. Until then I had only watched him play in real matches. But when I watched him practice, it was totally something else. It was godly. Watching that process of perfecting one’s craft is nothing but beauty of the highest possible order.
Mostly we get to watch and enjoy the end game, but should I get to watch them practice, trying to hone their skills to perfection, it’d be one of the best times of my life. But these things are rare, they are sacred. We don’t usually have that pleasure. A painter painting, a musician composing, an architect planning his building, a scientist experimenting, etc. – all in the privacy of their room, their personal space, untouched and unseen by any external entity.
Of all the people, authors (novelists, mainly) inspire me the most. I’d give anything in the world to watch a great writer working on his manuscript, silently writing and re-writing, editing, in the privacy of his den. I’d just want to sit there and watch him. That would be the best. But then again, it would be witnessing beauty, although I don’t mind it, at the expense of a crime: Sacrilege.
These men and women, these men and women driven by raw passion towards their art, their work, are the people that not only love what they do, but also make love to it. And watching them do it, watching them ensconced in their place of worship and executing their jobs with finesse, is inspiring. This, to me, is real beauty.
************
Copyright © Karthik 2011
P. S. For the question: What does real beauty mean to you?

Comments (8)

wonderful write-up! I found your adoration of your parents so touching and endearing :)

i particularly liked the fact that you've gone beyond the physical dimension - a typical definition of beauty if you ask me.

they say to write well, one must be a thinker. guess you are a proof :)

well written as always..
you have conveyed excellently what beauty means to you..

however, am finding it strange that am not even able to think how I would go about discussion on this topic :D nothing strikes if I wanted to write about it :P

moonbeam,
Thank you. :)
The topic had been pricking my brain ever since I saw it. And this is the only way I could interpret. Glad you liked it. :)

Sundeep,
Thanks. :)
Everyone has his own definition. I'm sure you have yours. :)

Ooooh!! I am applauding out here!! I love the way you've got hold of one main point, and provided several small yet impactful examples around it.

It felt good reading this post, since, some of us tend to miss out on these subtle expressions on a person's face when they are driven by their passion and love to do something, anything.

Loved it :)

That left a smile on face seeing you able to see and feel so much

Nice to see you taking up an essay type topic. Really loved your take. Agree 100% with your views. Though I was aware of this competetion I did not intend to take part. After reading your post I was also inspired to participate. Last year also I was inspired to participate in the IndiMag story contest after reading your entry. Here is my take in case you may like to check out

A passionate man/woman is indeed beautiful...loved the way you put it....exemplifying the beauty of ur passion...writing, that is!! :)
Cheers Karthik....Promoting u..writer!!

Vence,
Thanks a lot, Vence. Glad you agree. :)

The Holy Lama,
Ha. Look who's back.
Long time, eh? Hope you are doing fine. And it left a smile on my face reading your comment.

The Fool,
That's quite a compliment. Thanks, Karthik.

Jaunty,
Long time, Jaunty. :)
Glad you liked it and glad you participated too. Thanks.

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The Negotiator
Malgudi Days
As The Crow Flies
Swami and Friends
The Devil's Alternative
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Godfather
The Seven Minutes
The Prize
Atlas Shrugged
The Fountainhead
If Tomorrow Comes
Digital Fortress
The Chancellor Manuscript
The Bourne Supremacy
The Bourne Identity
The Fist of God
The Fourth Protocol
The Odessa File
The Day of the Jackal


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