Being Women

Self-Love: A Journey of Rediscovery And Finding Beauty Within

Valentine's Day holds a new meaning - celebrating love for herself. From youthful crushes to arranged marriage, true love transcends appearances and is rediscovered in self-love.

Kajal, Compact and College – Quest for romance

Sajna hai Mujhe, But Sajna Ke Liye? This song has an original version and then came the remix when I was in college. And in both, the female lead dolls up to entice her beau. Well, let me be honest. The song and the settings caught my attention too, and as a naïve teenager, I harboured some romantic dreams as well. Of my prince, on a white horse, whose face resembled a combination of Bollywood Khans and Hrithik Roshan. So one of those days, I borrowed kohl and compact powder from a friend, put on a nice dress, and got ready to go to college.

“You going to college dressed like that?” Amma interjected.

What’s wrong, I wondered. She answered as if reading my mind, “Overdressed you are, what’s up with the Kajal and all? Go wash it off. For whom are you dressing up anyway?”

For whom? I had this query posed to me many times in my growing-up years.

Good girls do not dress up!

I belong to a pretty conservative family. Oiled braided hair, simple ironed clothes, no matching accessories, in short – a Plain Jane. That is what I was! All through school and well into college. My parents somehow believed that good girls, from good families, didn’t dress to kill. That would attract boys, who would then flirt, sweep me off my feet, make me fall in love… And a love marriage would ruin the family’s reputation.

Romance and reality

It was as if all men in the world were vying for my attention. Well, it wasn’t at all like that. Love, in the teenage years, in schools and colleges, is more of a crush on a good-looking face, and I have always been… average. Plus, with all those restrictions imposed by my family, on talking to men, wearing trendy outfits, on mingling with the opposite sex, my chances of a high school romance were always meager. Even if a guy showed a little interest, I would wave it off, out of fear of upsetting my parents.

February – A reminder of my love-less life!

February was always a beautiful month. Spring, love, Valentine’s Day…And back in college, Rose Day. I understandably dreaded the Rose Day, because I never won a rose. It wasn’t always kosher, I would have liked some attention too, but the beauty of the soul and stuff hardly helped in my teenage.  So long story short, my love life didn’t take off till the end of college. And then it suddenly did. My parents enrolled me into the arranged marriage arena, there was talk amongst relatives, and in the blink of an eye, I was married.

Beneath the Valentine’s veil

I got married to a good man. Emancipated, supportive, caring and loving. And it was post marriage, that I fell in love and felt loved as well. And the sort of love that was far beyond a crush, vanquished the boundaries of appearance and makeup. I too realized the beauty of Valentine’s Month and Feb 14th, with roses, candlelight dinners, gifts, and surprises. Both of us could appreciate each other for what we were, and not how we looked.

The arrival of my son didn’t exactly kill the romance, but time did. Jobs, his official tours, my stress, kid’s board exams, ageing parents, home loans, squabbles. All these understandably took away the initial excitement and now, 20 years later, here we are, very much in love, but not exactly valentines, or romantic.

And somewhere along the line, I forgot about the most significant person in my life, ME. Health apart, I stopped caring about myself, especially in the appearance department.

For whom? The Biggest question ever!

That was the question again, If your husband likes you the way you are, then why splurge? At 40, I had dark circles, an oily face, thinning hair, very few clothes and accessories, and my vanity bag was devoid of any cosmetics.

It was only last year that I stumbled upon an old and unused silk sari and terracotta jewellery. I wore it to work and surprisingly, received huge appreciation. Colleagues said I looked different for a change, and now we are all humans. Compliments and admiration make everyone happy.

I expected a similar reaction from my spouse, but on the contrary, he remarked, “What’s with all that dressing up? I like you simple, so for whom?”

There it was again, for whom? But for the very first time in my life, I blurted, “For Me!”

From “For Whom?” to “For Me”- The Journey

It’s been many months, but I have realized, that day was when I felt fresh, different, happy, beautiful. For the very first time in my life.  I found that little something called self-love. And tell you what, I am basking in the warmth of loving myself.

When Dressing Up Became About Myself

I might sound vain, but I browse, I shop, for clothes and jewellery. I go out. By myself, or with my lady friends, not exactly waiting for my husband to accompany me.  I enjoy compliments on my dress, accessories, or appearance. I experiment with makeup and hairstyles, I watch tutorials on YouTube.

I am proud to state that I am trying to heal – paying attention to my hair, skin and dark circles.

I am spending time grooming myself, and why not? I am happy, I’m not harming anyone, I’m taking time for myself. I love my husband, but I can’t expect him to behave the way I wish, all the time. I like being complimented once in a while. More than that, I like who I see in the mirror these days, and that’s all that matters. Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and I am so looking forward to treating myself!!

I am doing all Sajna- Sawarna, but not exactly for my Sajna, but for me. Because I am madly in love, with myself.



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