What Is Beauty?

so rare

. . .

Is it soft
– like a rose

tender

– like falling snowflakes

fresh and warm

–  like winter’s sunlight?

. . .

Is it as sweet

as a lollipop?

pure

– like an angel

or bold?

. . .

It is penetrating for sure.

It has an uncanny strength, singularly its own.

. . .

But why is it so rare –

so captivating

and universal

in the way it transports

the heart?

Pitter-patter-pitter-patter

Pitter-patter-pitter-patter

–  so swift

–  so smooth

– so hypnotic.

. . .

Why does it cause frogs to flip

snakes to spit

jackasses to somersault

and men to fly to the moon

even as petites dance on painted toenails?

. . .

Beauty is treasured for sure.

It is its own currency, with a bank of its own.

. . .

But who devised it

and priced it

so high

beyond the reach

of those who know not what it is?

. . .

What is this thing

that engenders such rage

and as much joy as jealousy

in  clowns and queens?

. . .

What is beauty?

That note of water in the cistern.

That scent of jasmine, even honeysuckle.

The silence of a sleeping bird.

The smile of a baby.

Uh! So beautiful!

But what is beauty?

. . .

This question hasn’t quieted since I met with gorgeous Priya Bhola Rathod of DFW Style Daily for an episode of The Journey.

Priya Bhola Rathod

Beautiful, charming, engaging, a delightful host and blushing new bride, Priya shared her journey from LA’s red carpets and the likes of The Wrestler and Slumdog Millionaire (directed by Danny Boyle who also directed 2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremony) to her current role hosting rich video content for DFW Style Daily. 

It was a fun show. Refreshing. Informative. She explained to us the fleeting nature of fashion and the lasting value of style. She told us of how this welcomed on-line magazine provides to its customers on a daily basis – free of charge – the daily needs of style; the how-to’s, the wheres and when, with emerging and established talent and who-is-who in fashion and style. I like it a lot. I discovered there are many ways to look absolutely amazing – pretty much like the most gorgeous models known – without the burden of a heavy price tag or as she puts it to be able to afford amazing style choices on a purse budget. DFW Style Daily is chockfull of value and valuable information.

However, ever since those moments with Priya, I’ve been pricked by the question: what is beauty?

I took a long and winding trek, inquiring of a good many along the way: what is beauty? Why does it evoke such strong feelings of love and happiness, of peace and tranquility, of comfort and a sense of wealth and health?

Beauty – imperishable yet fleeting, it seems – but what is it?

There wasn’t one person I confronted with this question that didn’t smile before stumbling: eyes up, eyes sideways, eyes down, itchy throats, but no sure answer.

Brian, a confident looking graduate of model proportions, smiled, looked me straight in the eye and without a twitch said, “It’s a brilliant question.”

I asked my barber – an Urban hairstylist, Blu, since she was expressing her excitement over the radio show featuring Priya. She said, “It was like that entire program was meant for me. It spoke to me. I made up my mind. I’m going to do what I always wanted to do.” I was excited for Blu. Indeed, she was making the bravest decision of her life. I wished her well. Then I asked her the question. Blu stumbled too as she reconsidered the question from several angles. Finally she said, “You ask hard questions,” then stepped aside from doing my hair, that sharp clipper in her hand, looked me straight, and in a womanly exhale, Uh, added, “Life is beautiful. That’s my final answer.”

But what is beauty?

I was thinking of JoJo – young and beautiful – one of the daughters of one of my sisters. I was thinking of how she took the fight to cancer – boldly and with demonstrable aplomb.  I was thinking how through her smiles her joy and beauty shone throughout her fierce battle. It was as if JoJo was re-instilling in those of us who know her, who feared for her for a while, the joy of now.

I was thinking of how through the many distances she kept showing us – throughout her fight – the rich blessings of freedom-from-worry and the benefits of being present – in joy – in laughter – in love – in peace.

JoJo embodies the very spirit of Miss Aenna (Ah – e´- na) – the Beauty of Amora – one of the protagonists of Little Mango Big Mango Tree by Peter George and Lexi Renee.

I was thinking.

Then, suddenly, without warning, right as she was at the top of her mountain, Jo-Jo danced from the bitter clutch of unseen winds.

She did not leave us empty. As she went, she dropped sparkles of her joy and beauty. As she went, lifted high, as with a song through a cooling breeze, we were all reminded and are being reminded: life is beautiful.

Yet, the question remained.

In Chapter One of Little Mango Big Mango Tree, In The Moonlight, Palu positioned it this way:

“Many girls studied Miss Aenna to decipher what made her so beautiful. Was it her face, or was it her walk? Was it her shape or something in her heart? Was it her eyes? Was it her lips? Was it her voice, how sweetly she sang, or was it in the mystery of her being? Was it what she wore, or was it how she dressed? Was it her hair or how she bore herself? What makes Miss Aenna so very beautiful? That’s what boys and girls were asking?”

What is beauty?

Great poets wrestled with this diamond and left us glittering chips:

” A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

“Truth is beauty; beauty truth.”  John Keats

Perhaps, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! And truth? Isn’t truth beautiful?

I rather liked how the artist Art Magenta captured this certain kind of reaction to beauty:

I can’t believe that an ugly, boring girl like her,
 get hold of such a handsome guy.

Most of us want to look beautiful – handsome – our very best, don’t we? We have a wide array of ways-to-be-beautiful to choose from. For the girls, for example

And for the gents too – J. Hilburn – which, coincidentally is owned by Priya Bhola Rathod’s hubby.

Still, I wrestled with the question: what is beauty?  Then it came to me. Like that!  I got it.

It came to me as I was listening to Priya Bhola Rathod again, as she was discussing her calling and as she was explaining the difference between style and fashion, highlighting the value of personal style and branding, and as she was pointing out the DFW Style Daily unique approach to delivering rich and rewarding content. Something she said suddenly sounded like that note of water in the cistern.

It wasn’t poetic; it is practical. It wasn’t high-brow; it felt like truth. She told it so simply I almost missed it. She said it is about looking good at any price. Aha! Now I know what beauty is. Beauty is looking good at any price.

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