Sunday, November 24, 2013

Beauty and The Best Picture

Everybody wants to live like a celebrity. Anyone who says otherwise is probably lying. We'rein awe of the glamour, we admire the ability to look immaculate at all times, we wish we could be 'someone'. But who has time to work hard to achieve that? I mean, nobody really wants to be a model or actress, because that's too time-consuming and believe it or not, it actually requires talent. All people really want is to enjoy just a little bit of adulation, to be told they look beautiful, to appear as if they're living a glamorous life even if they aren't. And what better way to do this than to put up glamorous, ever so smiling pictures of yourself on social networking websites. Hands on hips, pouts in place, gorgeous dresses and dapper suits- yes, we've all learnt how to pose like a celebrity. And with Photoshop, anybody can be beautiful. Then, the 'Likes' start coming and we all know how they boost one's ego, right? Believe it or not, I'm not entirely against all this. I mean, it's superficial and all, but everybody deserves to feel beautiful sometimes, not just the people with good genes (oh how I hate those lucky few!) and it's all good entertainment.

However, I've noticed that what you look like in Facebook pictures is slowly becoming a deciding factor in how your looks are perceived in real life. People with the better pictures are automatically assumed more desirable. Some girls who are very popular on Facebook sometimes become campus celebrities. People know them before they even join a particular college. Are we slowly forgetting that the virtual world has nothing to do with reality, even when it's just about looks? It's quite possible, because we're slowly blurring the lines between virtual and real.

Now, despite it all being entertaining, I think it's important to remember it's very easy to be deceived. You could be chatting with someone simply because you think they're very attractive by looking at their Facebook pictures. Their attractiveness is the only thing that draws you, whether you admit it or not. Then you see them in person and at first, the image of them hovers in your head, so they look nice. But soon, the image goes away and you feel cheated. But the truth is you haven't been cheated at all. You deceived yourself by letting something virtual (and probably heavily edited) cloud reality.

Now, I would love to use someone as my guinea pig in this post. But that would be mean. So I'll be the guinea pig to demonstrate my point. I was never a very beautiful girl. Yes, it bothers me sometimes, but most of the time it's okay. That didn't mean I couldn't take a nice picture. Here are a few selfies that I have put up on FB:

Now here are some pics which better demonstarte what I really look like (in public. I drew the line at uploading pics taken in my sloppy moments):

Excuse me for not being a very good guinea pig because a) I suffer from natural un-photogenic face conditions 2) I can't show you the differences created by Photoshop, make-up and other cosmetic factors like hair type and color changes because all pictures here are without make-up, un-edited and shot in natural light. However, anybody can notice the difference between the first and second set. While the first set has me in more flattering light (see how in the very first picture the diffused evening sun's light obscures my gigantic nose) and better hair, the second set just has me as I am everyday, no tricks involved. So while the first set would be great for my profile pic collection, the second set may be better off in my computer's pictures folder.

With time everything changes. It's now time to change a saying. They say never fall in love with a person you met at a wedding, because everyone is always at their best at weddings and other social events. Update that to never fall in love with someone you found beautiful on Facebook. You might be in for a big disappointment.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Redeeming the Lost Decade

Some decades are best forgotten. Or at least that’s what they say about the 80s and 90s. This makes me realize one thing- appearances matter. I mean, these two decades were the cradles of some innovations and reforms that we completely take for granted, like satellite and wireless communication and globalization. I mean, if we didn’t have the 80s and 90s, we wouldn’t have cell phones or satellite television or McDonalds. But do we think about all that when we talk about these decades. Not at all. All we can talk about is how horrendous the fashion was, how cheesy the song-and-dance routines were and how unscrupulously Anu Malik ruined music.

That’s because the news clippings and Doordarshan infomercials regarding the good that was being done during the time have long been lost and forgotten. All that remains of the closing chapter of the last century are the movies and songs. And they remind us of not the good, but the bad and ugly (aka frighteningly unflattering and unfashionable).

So is entertainment really play that big a role in how we remember our past? And if it does, how do we redeem a decade that butchered its future reputation with bouffant hairstyles? Well, I don’t know if this is the answer, but I think maybe if we focus on the good parts of the entertainment, memories can be improved. So from today, I start my ‘Redeeming the Lost Decade’ Series. Since I wasn’t around for the 80s, I’ll primarily focus on the 90s. maybe I can get you to reconsider what those years meant to all of us, and why- even if it was for a small period of time- we really cared for them.