I am beautiful-Avleen Kaur Lamba

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Illustration by Sagarika Tumkar

I demand textbooks be changed.

Yes I do,
most certainly I do,
and why if you ask, here’s my argument.
Do you remember the chapter on “Opposites”
In your English grammar book?
Well I do.
Vividly.

Beautiful and Ugly.
A fair and slim girl portraying the first one,
while a dark complexioned woman
with pimples and scars being shown as the latter one.
The two pictures along with their descriptions
lay imprint in my mind forever.

I was glad though,
that my forever was the one that ended in high school,
just like teenage love.
I was lucky to have parents who focussed on actions,

who taught me and my sister
that it was not important what we looked like

but what our heart showed in the mirror.

 

So I remember being called fat on that slide in the park

And I remember lecturing some kids on

How important it was to have a beautiful heart

And without checking I proudly announced

That I indeed had the most beautiful heart
Among those weirdly taught kids

 

And then came adolescence.
And I didn’t care to be honest

But then came college

And no matter how much I pretended not to care

I did.

 

And hence came gyms
and diets
and salons
and beauty parlours.
Gyms were supposed to tone down fat
Which could endanger your health

Not to make you look like some pictured model

Diets were supposed to be for those
Who couldn’t reach the gym

Not to starve yourself to a figure that’s in

And beauty parlours?
I have no idea why they exist!
Things which could’ve been called hair removal centers
Were instead named beauty parlours
And I choose to disagree with their definition of beauty

I choose to disagree with this world’s abominable definition of beauty
I don’t beg to differ

I am proud to differ
I can no longer take the never ending line of fairness creams

I can no longer take girls at my college
discuss how fat they’ve got pushing up their arms in the air

making me focus on their 24 inch waists

I can no longer take my dadi asking me
not to wear clothes where I look
three size bigger than I already am.
I can longer take people telling me I can look good
only with a slash of Kohl on my eyes and concealer on my face
Because I am beautiful by all means

And so are you

I’m sorry for sidelining the other section of the society,
the men
The beards, the clean shaven,

The muscles and the biceps

The tall, dark and handsome

The cute one with dimples

 

Today I demand a room for freckles

For pimples and blemishes

For the crooked smile and the small eyes

For hair-wavy curly straight brown black grey or none!
Not because bald is the new sexy,
I demand a room for those forty strands of hair
I don’t feel proud of!
I demand a room for waist sizes
from twenty four to forty four!

From XXS to XXL
I demand a room to be myself
and I demand the same for every creature
breathing on this planet
And until my demands are met

I will continue to write

To pen down verse on every page that will ever be produced

To type down every word threat will induce revolt

From the old typewriter to the new tabs

I will ensure no wall is left in this world
without graffiti screaming about human beauty

So that no little boy or girl sitting on that slide in the park
Has to prove that he or she is beautiful
Aren’t we all beautiful?

You are beautiful

I am beautiful.

A masters in literature student, Avleen is trying to discover herself and the world she lives in, mostly residing in her reveries. She believes love, laughs and poetry can save the human race.

 

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