Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Words You Say

 | If the words you spoke appeared on your skin, would you still be beautiful? 
I found this quote, so far shared as an anonymous one on one of my Pinterest browsing days. I can't even begin to express the kind of impact this single line has on me, never leaving my mind; only permitting me to constantly picture myself with all the words I say everyday, on my skin. Would I still be beautiful?  | 

We live in a world that is extremely fast-pacing, with more faces unregistered as we pass by everyday and words that escape us without any filter that we don't really pause to think about the effect we have on another person's thoughts and image of themselves.

   I can't probably explain this better unless I bring my case into the picture. I was (and still probably am) a very loud child in my days of growing up. I spoke to everyone without inhibition, believed that everyone I meet are my friends and that this world is a lovely little place. This optimistic outlook on life was not met on the same terms with everyone. I loved talking with people about anything and everything. I'd ask doubts during classes at the silliest levels if I didn't understand a concept. I didn't think it was a big deal, really. Why else were we in school? Owing to this, I was thus called the 'Doubt-mistress' of my class, not to forget 'Chatterbox'. During extremely boring sessions, my classmates used to nudge me and say, 'Hey! Ask some doubt and pass some time. This is getting really boring'. To that, there have been times when I have obliged and had my own share of fun. It's all very nostalgic when I think about it now.

   While all those happy memories live on, the problem arises when the invisible boundaries are crossed and kids or anyone for that matter, don't realize the impact of what they say. Sometimes people shrug off insults and name-calling with ease on the outside while it would tear them up on the insides. Being branded talkative wasn't something that got under my skin but the lightness with which everything I said was. It was/is hurtful to have people ignore, override and consider what you say to be unimportant without even listening to it. It still hurts me. I have been through it and so do so many other children and adults who in everyday of their life, undergo their own such battles.

   We fail to comprehend the impact our words have on another person's life. Bullying,stereotyping, limitless teasing and condescending attitudes are all a part of this spectrum of failing to grasp this simple working of the world and people. When I look back at my school life, I wonder if my own friends have been passive bullies in a way, forever scarring parts of my memory. I have learnt to live with it and accept the factors of age and maturity with it but it would not be true to say that it doesn't have any impact on me. After all these years, it still does. I believe that I have matured into a different person because of and despite all these occurrences, but who is to say that everyone will get out of the pit of name-calling and being slighted?

  We have no filtering system in our heads, most often. I have had my friends tell me how hurtful it is to be stereotyped on looks, mannerisms and characteristics. A very close friend of mine told me how it gets to her that everyone she meets comments on her physique and not on her lovely character that I personally know of. Gay. (I still don't understand why it grew into an offensive word) Fat. Ugly. Pimpled. Talkative. Duffer. How quick we are to categorize people into slots and call them so in a jiffy! Do we realize that it could potentially create low self-esteem and confidence, depression and other psychological effects for the rest of the other person's life?

  A lot of you may think that you know when you cross the bounds of your 'good-natured' humour. Honestly, most of you might not be aware of the subtle but strong impact your comments and sarcasm creates in your own good friends from work or college. Maybe you could ask them once in a while. Even the strongest of people you think aren't affected by the world's perception of them are at some level,are indeed affected by it. So, before you unleash some laughter for yourself at another person's expense, you could think about it again and see in retrospection, if it might hurt your friend in some manner or the other.

 I tell you all this because I have been subject to much of this and know how it hurts. I have known other strong people in my life very close to me describe how it goes with them. I'm sure you know what I mean. You may be bullying someone else without your own knowledge, creating such a deep impact that hurtful words from decades back still ring loud in their ears, after all this time. But so do the really good words. They stick around from the most random times in your life. Small words create a great impact.

I ask you now to think of all that you say to people on a daily basis. Think. If all of that appeared on your skin, would you still be beautiful?

Beauty is not skin deep.

Next time, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

P.S: Don't confuse all of this with a dogmatic attitude or a person who cannot accept constructive criticism or good-natured humour between friends. There is a huge difference between what I'm talking about and all of this.

Original Artwork by Hemalatha Venkatraman. Copyrighted. Do not reproduce without permission.
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  1. Nice article Hemu..liked the way how you portrayed the minds of people who are affected..and the artwork which conveys the message of your article is superb.

    P.S: If you are interested in passing this art knowledge of yours to next generation of kids, do register yourself and volunteer with NGO, Bhumi. They teach to under privileged kids in many fields of education including arts.
    If you are interested please do check this website:

    1. Hi Bharath,
      Thanks a lot. I have heard about Bhumi's work. They're great. I will most definitely go through it and work with them. :)



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