No space for vanity

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I needed a bunch of photographs for some official work recently and happened to get two sets done from two different studios. One set was a faithful enough picture, with me staring rather self-consciously into the camera. The other studio airbrushed the final product presenting a new, very much improved, me. In fact when I went to pick up the photographs the man at the counter took a long time rummaging in his desk after asking me twice over, ‘Aapki hi hain na?’ (You’re sure they’re yours?). When he finally handed them to me, I thought I looked nice, way nicer than I’d ever look in real life.
The dark circles had been done away with, the blemishes all smoothed over and the skin was glowing. I sat comparing the two sets of pictures. The vain me was quite happy while the sane me remained amused. 
The son sauntered past, picked up the other one – the non air brushed one – then proclaimed, 
“You look prettier in this one.” 
“Not possible,” said I, “Look at this other one – you’ll see the difference.”
“Yeah but then in this one you look like some auntie, you don’t look ‘you’ at all.”
Which was such a valid point that the vain me threw up her hands and walked off in a huff while the sane me nodded in agreement. There really is nothing better than a tween son to keep you rooted in reality. Sigh! So I shall continue to wear my blemishes and my dark circles and the extra layers of fat too and I shall try to do so gladly because they make me ‘me’.
And I’ll try my hardest to not get envious of the yummy mummy’s because if God one day in his infinite kindness did decide to make me all beautiful, the kids would disown me.
Oh and you, you layers of fat, if you’re listening, nope I’m not giving up the fight. I’m going to keep on trying to get rid of you – just not by airbrushing – when it happens it shall be the real deal.
Picture credit: Pixabay
Linking up with Nabanita’s Mommy Talks 

And also with Mel at  Microblog Mondays.
Edited to add: This post got me the featured blogger badge at Mackenzie’s at Reflections from Me.

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35 thoughts on “No space for vanity

  • March 15, 2017 at 5:27 am
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    That's so sweet and he is so honest! Hate such pictures, right? And it is heartwarming to know that our dear ones love the way we are. 🙂

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  • March 13, 2017 at 11:20 am
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    This post reminds me of the incidence where I had gone to the passport office for passport renewal with nice-looking set of photos (now I get it, they must have been airbrushed without my knowledge). But they could not be used since the officials clicked their own photo with the camera on their desk. I will not tell you how was that photo, only that it is stuck to my passport for another 10 years. I hope not to travel overseas in the next 9 years (1 year has already passed) lest the immigration desk faints having to look at that. On regular days, however, I still look beautiful with all the bulging fat and flared palazzos, and chicken pox marks on my face coupled with a pimple or two here and there. "Mummy, you are sooo cute" is what I get despite this.

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    • March 14, 2017 at 5:04 am
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      Ha ha those passport pictures are always atrocious. Don't take it to heart. Normally the airbrushing is subtle so we barely notice it. Only sometimes it is so very obvious. It's wonderful that our kids still think we're the prettiest.

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  • March 12, 2017 at 10:21 pm
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    Hi lovely, just popping back to let you know that I have chosen this as my favourite post of the week for #mg! Congratulations! You will be featured on my Monday #mg link up this week xx

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    • March 13, 2017 at 4:48 am
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      Yay thank you MG. This is such an honour.

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  • March 12, 2017 at 3:57 pm
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    Beautifully penned .. can totally relate. I feel the same when photographers edit my pics- I tell them keep my flaws it's okay!

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    • March 13, 2017 at 4:48 am
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      Photographers can be so clueless – trying to improve on something that's naturally pretty. Thanks for dropping by Ananya.

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  • March 12, 2017 at 12:41 pm
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    When I turned 50 recently I had a big chat with my teens about how I felt at this age which of course included my looks. I moaned about certain things I wish I could change but both said you don't look old, you just look like you, our mum and that is how we like it! Sometimes, just sometimes, teenagers get it right. #mg

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    • March 13, 2017 at 4:46 am
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      Yeah and those are the times that make everything – the troubles, the stress, everything seem worth it. I hope you gave them a huge hug.

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    • March 13, 2017 at 4:45 am
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      If only the whole world looked at us like our loved ones do we'd all be sorted.

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  • March 9, 2017 at 6:51 am
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    Children are there to maintain our real selves and they surely can bring out the best and the worst in the parents!

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    • March 13, 2017 at 4:44 am
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      Absolutely true Deepak. I never knew I had such a range of emotion till I had them.

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  • March 9, 2017 at 6:22 am
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    That was such a sweet post, Tulika! I loved your son's response and also the 'vain-you's' response! Our true beauty lies in our wrinkles and our blemishes, true, but, our vanity seldom allows us to live with those blemishes and wrinkles, no? How we fight to get rid of these, which actually are our identities! Guess, we need some more growing up to do before we realise how truly beautiful we all are!
    Loved the post, girl!

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    • March 13, 2017 at 4:43 am
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      That's there of course but vanities aren't all bad. Mine pushes me to stop being lazy and make an effort to present the best of me.

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  • March 8, 2017 at 4:52 pm
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    Children are so unconditional in their love, eh? Enjoy, Tulika! Show me the photos, no?

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  • March 7, 2017 at 8:59 pm
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    I did read similar encounters before, one on Shailaja's blog , and another I recall the story "With the photograher" from school!

    All the three, including yours, were amusing, and brings home the reality.

    Your kid seems to be very sensible too!

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  • March 7, 2017 at 7:22 pm
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    So my "vain me" story is that my head shot is old and my hair has gone grey. But I keep using my old head shot because (1) I don't want to pay to have a new one retaken and (2) the new one would have the grey hair 🙂

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    • March 13, 2017 at 4:40 am
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      Heh.. I'd do that too except I keep running out of photographs.

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  • March 7, 2017 at 11:00 am
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    So sweet, honesty is one thing I love in children. They speak out everything they feel irrespective of time or place. my younger son is a terror to many people around us, he is so very honest that you need to take care before even planning to go anywhere near him

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    • March 13, 2017 at 4:39 am
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      Ha ha I know what you mean – too much honesty can be harmful to the ego!!

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  • March 7, 2017 at 9:01 am
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    Hahaha! You're funny! And I do hope they give me a kid just like your tween son, when I apply for adoption! Kids really know how to teach you to accept and love yourself as you are, don't they?

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    • March 13, 2017 at 4:39 am
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      Ooh be careful what you wish for Chicky. Jokes aside – sons are so no nonsense it's good to have them around.

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  • March 7, 2017 at 5:21 am
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    I know! Kids have the penchant of keeping you rooted and loving you just the way you are. Accept your imperfections! And have you noticed how they are the first ones who compliment you. You know l love dressing up in a sari. Three males then line up to swoon. It is such a beautiful feeling. Even my mil's eyes light up. There is something about that garment that makes every woman look lovely.

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    • March 7, 2017 at 5:36 am
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      How very sweet is that! It' been ages since I tried a sari and to think once upon a time I wore is regularly to work!! I need to get to work on those blouses.

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  • March 6, 2017 at 5:12 pm
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    How sweet! Children are honest and true that we are who we are along with our imperfections. What a lovely post.

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    • March 7, 2017 at 5:35 am
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      Thanks Parul. They're a little too honest for comfort :-).

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  • March 6, 2017 at 12:57 pm
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    Ha ha how sweet! You do recall my post on the perfect photograph, yes? Looks like the air brush phenomenon is quite rampant across studios! And I love you the way you are. Please don't change 🙂

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    • March 7, 2017 at 5:35 am
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      Oh yes – that's the first thing I remembered when I saw my picture. Actually, I wouldn't mind a few strokes of airbrushing!

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  • March 6, 2017 at 11:16 am
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    See, he finds you prettier in the picture where you look like 'You'!
    My husband would tease me sometimes, 'Arrey, ye kitni achchhi picture aayi hai. Lagta hi nahin ki tum ho!!':D

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    • March 7, 2017 at 5:33 am
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      Seriously – our families will never let us climb the proverbial chane ka jhaad.

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  • March 6, 2017 at 6:14 am
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    That was so sweet. In the most unassuming of ways, he told you the truth and what really matters. These days I have no time to take care of myself which my sister keeps reminding me to do. But then they also tell me that they are used to me being this way and they love it too.

    Thanks for joining, Tulika 🙂

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    • March 7, 2017 at 5:33 am
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      You should listen to your sister – just like I listen to mine. They're the best advisors. Despite this post I think moms do need to pay more attention to themselves, specially because looking better makes them happier moms.

      Reply

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