Archive: October 2013

Profile photo of Anita Ayela How beautiful is ‘Beauty’?!!

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I would say, “Miss America 2014 is Ms. Nina Davuluri, “…and the Indian Idol is Anjana Padmanabh”, “The Master chef for season three is Ripudaman Handa” in the same breath. For me all these are just reality shows, which I enjoy watching.

I agree unabashedly that beauty pageant shows for me are as entertaining as the film award shows, as in both we celebrate glamour and entertainment in its full form. I have watched these shows since childhood and they have never affected me in any way as a child. Neither did I ever think of going into movies nor did I ever think of ‘how-to-be-recognized’ for beauty! For me, as a child, they were just another type of competition with an iota of entertainment.

Just as there are reality shows for singing, dancing, showing different talents, so are these beauty pageants. There is nothing great about it, but then, it is reassurance of a young girl’s beauty by the world. Young women enter the beauty pageant expecting to change their bodies, and to emerge as good human beings. Winning a beauty pageant is a recognition and confirmation of the self-assessed beauty of the participants. They follow diets, exercise rigorously and groom themselves in all ways possible to become not only more beautiful but become a ‘beauty with brains’!

Reading about Miss America, Ms. Nina Davaluri, a Telugu girl, born to a traditional Indian family settled in the US, an important thing struck me! Her parents and grandparents are highly educated and are in respectable jobs. Nina has been a good student through school and wishes to become a Doctor one day like everyone else in her family. She has learnt Indian classical dance keeping the Indian tradition intact. So for people like her, winning a beauty pageant is just another achievement giving her an opportunity to showcase her talents and brains, along with her physical beauty!

If a kid has a good voice, we tend to put her/him in singing lessons, and if the kid has interest in dance, we put her/him in a dance school to polish their talents. So also, if a young girl is beautiful, and has groomed herself well, some parents think of beauty pageants. After all, a parent always wants their kid to reach heights, earn name and fame in a rightful way. I don’t feel that that is wrong in any way. But, yes, if the parent, right from the kid’s childhood, encourages the girl’s beauty and tells her that she is born to win a beauty pageant, then that is wrong. It totally depends on us as parents to explain to the kids about every walk of life. What our kids become or want to become depends on how we bring them up and what kind of culture we instill in them.

If we put aside the beauty being personified in these pageants, the instant recognition of the individual, and of course, the grand prize money, there is another important side to it. Beauty pageants, like film stars, are always in a position to do charity work and do fund-raising for the society for different causes. Along with their brains and beauty, comes a responsibility to the society they are living in for which they are bound if not forever, at least for one year from the day they wear the crown.

Giving back to the society in the guise of a beauty pageant is fair enough as long as it doesn’t affect the individual’s life in a negative way. Think of it as another form of competition, and so shall it remain! As long as they don’t harm the society by luring all youngsters into it, it is ‘beautiful’ enough!

Profile photo of Anita Ayela My ‘Booker Prize’!(Guest Blog)

A letter of Appreciation!

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I know that ‘Guest Blogs’ are a rarity in Personal blogs! But when this reader approached me and wanted to write a few words about this blog site and another, I was overwhelmed! Hope none of my friends think that I am boasting or showing off… it is just a thank you to my well wisher, the reader whose feedback has boosted my confidence in my writing ability! I feel as if I have won the ‘Booker Prize’ for my writings!

I need to say a few words about this review writer- he is doing his Bachelor’s In Civil Engineering, 3rd semester now.He is basically from Bhopal (MP),India and likes to listen to music and read good articles/blogs. And here is his encouraging review:

Hie My name is Md. Adil and I’m from India.

I read all the blogs on the website www.lifeintheusa.org and I’m quite amazed to see the work done by Ms. Anita Ayela.

With the permission of the author, I wanted to write a guest blog or rather my review of her writings instead of comments on her posts.

Even though she has been living in United States since 12 years she has not forgotten the Indian ethics, culture and the moral values which an Indian has.

Her blogs are based on factual description and daily events which is good. The blog which I loved the most was “Cyber Addiction” in which she stressed on how the kids are getting addicted to the Internet and gadgets which is true and closes the blog with words:

 “Well, come to think of it, can we blame the kids enough if we are reading this on a blog or e-magazine,on the laptop too and not in a physical book? What say guys?!”  … Which is quite ironic and true too…..

But apart from these blogs, I also read some fiction written by her in form of short stories here: 

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She is a creative writer I must say, “The President’s Life” and “Goodbye” are really one of the awesome stories I have ever read.

Another side of the coin which I didn’t expect from her was poetry. “A Mother’s Concern” and “Wedding Bells” are a true piece of art.

 What to say now, she has mastered the most efficient fields of writing i.e. factual description, fiction and poetry. Even though she is a teacher by profession, she has done a great job in the field of writing.

Last but not the least I want to say that she is great writer and will definitely go a long way! 

Thank You 

Regards

Md. Adil

Thank you so much Adil! You made my day! 🙂

Profile photo of Anita Ayela Leftovers!!

You want mine, then buy it !

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Yesterday I went with a friend to drop off her old clothes and other stuff at ‘Just Between Friends’. I thought it was a donation store like Goodwill, but I was wrong. It was a place where they sell your old stuff for you, keep a percentage of the money and give the rest to you.

I was a little disturbed to see that even newborn baby clothes are being sold there. America is not a poor country, period. The Pontiacs, the BMWs and the Lexus cars outside this place was proof enough! But I wonder why they use used clothes when they can afford to buy good stuff at discounted prices as there is a sale somewhere or the other throughout the year in the US. This very concept of buying used clothes disturbs me as a mom, though it may be labeled as re-cycling by the Americans. Whenever I see garage sales for clothes, this disturbed feeling comes back to me again and again!

I can understand if toys or books are used again, but definitely not clothes. Whenever I go to the donation boxes to drop off old clothes or toys, I stand and think for a moment, “Am I doing the right thing?” I feel that I am giving a chance to those people to resell my used stuff. Back in India, when we donate something, we know that those go to the natural calamities’ victims or to the poor people and are not for sale!

It is true that branded clothes are very expensive, but who wants branded clothes for little kids?!! Even branded clothes can be got at clearance sales which all shops thrive on. I see some of the kids, in the schools I sub for, wear faded shirts and old pants and that too at the beginning of the school year. And the schools I am talking about are the private schools where the tuition is a hefty sum. When the parents can afford the fees, shouldn’t they be able to afford good clothes for their kids? And if they are not able to afford it, then public schools are no less in education, discipline or grooming of the kid. Well, of course, every parent has their priorities and decisions, so I leave it at that.

When we were kids, our clothes were not even passed down to the close cousins, in the fear that they or their parents would be offended. Passing down was only prevalent in the house among siblings. As I don’t have a sister, my clothes were limited and never lasted enough to be passed down. My brothers shared their clothes, and passed them down to each other too. I did that with my kids but only with the perfectly good clothes that could actually be passed down.

Passing down is one thing, buying used clothes is another. Now, how much hygiene is there in that, is a debatable question and so is best avoided. Of course, the clothes that I saw put up for sale in Just between friends place were cleaned and were in good condition. But the fact remains that they were used by some kid in some other family and now if you buy it, your kid would be using somebody else’s ‘left over’.

In India, leftover food and used clothes are given only to the poor people and that too as a donation. The concept of buying used clothes is a taboo or rather, is not heard of. Leave alone clothes, even furniture is not bought second hand by even middle class family. We buy it only if they can afford it. We believe in ‘Save money, live better’ the Wal-Mart way, rather than ‘Casual Luxury’ the Abercrombie way!

Every country has a different way of operating, I suppose. Every country’s people think differently, I believe. Being an Indian is being pampered I think, as we live life king size, a big king or a small king, is immaterial- dignity is what matters! This holds good for Indians in the US too!