There are some people who are beautiful, not because they are blessed with attributes of widely-accepted social criteria of beauty, but because they are charming and graceful in their own ways. Many people around us - chaiwallahs, shopkeepers, rickshaw-wallahs etc. - are beautiful. Some narrow-minded people, especially straight men in my experience, find it hard to comprehend such beauty.
Take the case of the chaiwallah across the road from my apartment. Last winter, after a rehearsal, my bandmates and I went down for naastha at the mucchawallah dosawallah who operates across the road from my building, by the side of this chaiwallah. The chaiwallah, a typical Mangalorean man, with classic charms of a man from that region - the smile, the warm expression, the humor, the shyness, and the shine in the eye - was handing us our glasses of cutting chai when I suggested to my bandmates how beautiful/handsome the chaiwallah was and how good looking he must have been when he was younger - not that he is not handsome anymore!
One of my bandmates started laughing - not just laughing, but he was laughing at me and my observation and my judgement - it must be a coincidence that he called me as I was typing this blog post on my phone waiting for my bus. I tried to present my points but I couldn't get it through him. He was obstinant and stubborn, and in my opinion, narrow-minded. I gave up soon and I was left to wondering if and when the beauty of the world will open out to people like him.
The same is true with a lift operator in my new office complex. By his looks and accent, I think he's from Delhi. He has a charming smile, a graceful presence, and exudes warmth. He welcomes me in the morning with a hearfelt 'good morning' and makes polite enquiries about work whenever the occassion suits. Tonight, as I was getting out of the office building with my gorgeous friend AK, I was lucky to catch the same lift that this liftman was operating. There was the usual - a smile, a warm 'good night' and the works.
I thought twice before asking AK if she too thought that he was beautiful. Then I realized that she's a wonderful woman with little pretension. I asked her and she concurred. In the brief conversation that we had, she mentioned another sweet liftman and his 'beauty'. I walked out of the office complex with a smile on my face remembering the conversation with my bandmate. Maybe my friend wil open out to the wonderful world of 'beauty' soon too!