Last week Gerard and I had the honor to represent our state Karnataka in a fashion show, showcasing traditional clothes from different parts of India. Organized by the Indian High Commission, along with the Indian Women's Association and Indian Cultural Association here in Abuja, it was a wonderful evening that truly captured the diversity of the India I know and love.
From our Northernmost State Kashmir to Tamil Nadu in the South, the models did a superb job in showcasing the right costume and accessories. Every model was outfitted uniquely and walked the ramp with confidence and sublime elegance.
The many practices we had, the people I met and the actual event itself culminated into one of those life experiences for me, the kind that leaves you feeling nostalgic and elated. Not only was it an opportunity to acquaint people about the rich culture that India exudes, but it was also an opportunity for me to feel closer to our country. As one of those global nomads who feels distant from and yet yearns for her homeland in equal measure, opportunities such as these helps connect me to my roots and reinforces my Indian identity, one that I often imagine I may be losing.
It was also an opportunity to make many new friends! At practices where we went from confused chaos to composed confidence, we shared laughs, banter and life stories. Talents were uncovered, self doubts eliminated, and together we motivated and energized each other. I saw how confidence can shine through the most unsuspecting personalities with encouragement and the right stimulus. I found that alacrity and zeal, grit and fervor can be infectious. And most importantly I was inspired by the Body positivity that emanated from every single model, male and female.
We can all agree that body shaming has become an epidemic in today's society. All sorts of limitations and constraints are imposed subtly and sometimes not so subtly by society. Too thin, too fat, too dark, not dark enough, not tall enough, oh much too tall...
Yes, society continually defines and endorses the stereotypical image of beauty, but very often we too our our own worst enemy. It's so easy to blame the media, friends, and family for our body blaming, shaming, and naming. But the truth is, very often we put a lot of pressure on ourselves too. Most of us however cannot control what body we have. Some of us have slow metabolisms, while others' are lightning fast. Some of us inherited thicker frames, while others were born petite. Our beauty is not defined by curves, the lack of them or by the color of our skin. We have to believe this. What is important however is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, while loving yourself at the same time.
Each of our models, representing a range of body types were a shining example to the Body Positivity movement and absolutely rocked it. They defined beauty in its truest sense. Each perhaps had their share of problems or insecurities, but all we saw was an appreciation, a sensitivity, a type of confidence and self assurance that radiated magnificent elegance and grace on stage. Beautiful people indeed, each and every one of them.
For my three very impressionable daughters sitting in the audience, the message was loud and clear. Be confident. Own your body. There is no cliched definition of beauty. No matter your body type you are beautiful. I hope they always remember this evening (and not just because they were a little embarrassed to see their parents walk the ramp 😊) and the message they imbibed. I hope that no matter what anyone tells them, they always believe that they are beautiful just the way they are. I hope they always have the confidence to wear what they want, in colors they like and that they stay fit and healthy. Most importantly I hope they always know that it is their fiery heart, their gentle souls and their smiling eyes that will ultimately shape their real beauty; not the shell outside.
And my friends from Namaste Nigeria- Rock on! I hope you continue to walk the ramp of life with the same gutsy confidence you know you are capable of. #LoveYourShape #HonorYourCurves #LoveYourself always!