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a beautiful mind

Charlotte Rampling says, in ‘rules of engagement’ this weekend past  in the New York Times magazine, that everyone: ‘if you’re ugly, you’re ugly and if you’re beautiful, you’re beautiful. There is no comparison.’ After a certain age, she says, people don’t look at you. They look at youth. You can’t not look, because it’s so beautiful and it’s so sexy. That fades after a certain time, she continues, and that’s quite a difficult thing when it goes.

Why is it difficult when ‘it’ goes? What is this ‘it’ which goes or decides beauty?

I remember being at Sorbonne, and meeting a Beaux Arts student with whom I shared movies, chats, walks etc for the sheer joy of ‘discussion’. For me, as for the many french I met/meet, discussing is a truly beautiful art, and Parisians do it with panache! But before these shared moments, I remember him saying me and other friends from the Law faculty that i had such a ‘beautiful mind’. Without hearing what my voice sounded like! Or if I had any matter when I spoke. My law-school friend asked him” how do you know she has a beautiful mind? What did she say that you decided that?’ and he couldn’t answer intelligently. The few words which sputtered from his avid eyes were  ” I can tell tell.” But what could he tell by only looking at me?

Beauty is indeed in the eyes of the beholder, but it is a shallow beauty that looks no further than the dewy, youthful skin nof the beholden. It doesn’t look beyond the lips or visage or body. Is that why media/academia are always urging muslim women to unveil? Are muslim women then not ‘beautiful’?  Or hindu women who cover the head with the saree?

Sadly, we are taught to judge intelligence by the look. For the french , presence and presentation are everything, and I agree, to a certain extent. But beyond that, there’s is such a beauty. Beauty  NOT dictated by time, and one which becomes more and more beautiful with age. Like good wine.



  1. Surekha says:

    I remember complaining to a friend many years ago about all the looks I would get walking down the street, and my friend said I will complain more the day they stop looking. That day arrived years ago, and I’m used to it now ,I guess. But it does sometimes make me sad that I’m invisible to most people. Oh well , life goes on, and thank goodness for family and friends, who can make me feel beautiful still.

  2. dina says:

    There’s a certain beauty that I think can only be bought with time, one that I’ve seen goes hand in hand with that inexplicable air of security and state of mind that older women grow to finally reach. The ultimate translation of femininity.

    • Dina, i completely agree with you. I think we never stop being beautiful, when a women’s skin gets older with time, so does her maturity, experiences, she grows in to her, with her, and confidence in herself to say and do things that her experience has allow her to do. She does these things with a completely sense of ownership that is simply marvelous.

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