Ephemeral Beauty: The Tale of Miss N

Student Support and Counseling

I was thrilled, when I saw her in my class for the first time. A small girl, hardly in her teens, with cute curly hair and deep blue eyes and oval-shaped face like Roman mythological goddess. Let me introduce her as Miss. N, a student of a reputed school. She was quite sharp and intelligent, and that I could make out in my first class. This batch was an outstanding batch with many good students (I will talk about them in my column later on.). In spite of so many good students, Miss N remained the cynosure of all simply because of her grace and more particularly for the two beautiful dark blue eyes.

I am not an expert of human psychology, but that never prevented me from airing my views on deep complex human behaviour. My views in many cases would appear very iconoclastic, challenging many established so-called social norms and beliefs. My views about religion is “it is opium” I am more convinced by Charbark than Manusmriti. To me, marriage neither has any moral nor any rationality, and in that respect, I will always be in the line of French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre. In spite of all modern views, I believe that the attraction towards opposite sex, at tender age, is a mere infatuation; A mere congenital aberration. I used to say in my class, in various occasion, that “if you want to fly like a falcon, you have to leave behind these butterflies”. How far I had been able to convince them? Not sure, but never gave up.

Miss N was always seen roaming with one particular boy of my class. I can’t remember exactly who had objected to them for their intimacy, to which the boy had said could leave everything other than her. Miss N was in the ‘DISCONTINUE’ list and the boy somehow managed to evade; but didn’t get into IIT.

Ten years after Vikas and I went to attend one of our student’s marriage ceremony. It was in C.H. Area, where I stay. It was a winter evening. Vikas parked his car near my house and then walked slowly, where the party was scheduled. As soon as we reached, we were greeted by our old students who were also invited. After spending some time with them, we were taken inside the main hall where the new couple was greeting the guests. It is there I came to know that the bride is none other than Miss N’s sister. She was as beautiful as her sister; a commerce graduate from Delhi. After exchanging a few words, we came out of the hall and walked towards lawn. It was Vikas who told me “Do you recognize her?” pointing his index to one sickly looking lady, standing alone at one corner of the lawn, and brooding in a pensive mood. She was wearing a long white coat hanging up to her knee, and a polished white shoe that reminds the era of colonial fashion. Her eyes became dark and gone deep inside, while her grace and charm had completely withered. “She is Miss N” Vikas told. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was absolutely shocking. Sourav Panjwani, our old student, was standing next to me. I asked him, “Do you know what happened to her”. He was in her batch at school as well as in Prerna, so I thought could throw some light on it, but could say nothing.” How ephemeral beauty is!, I murmured. “What did you say?” Sourav asked curiously. I repeated my sentence. After the dinner we came out, and started walking. It was a cold winter night and almost all the streets wore a deserted look. Soon we reached near my house, exchanged a few words and then departed.

One summer afternoon in 2019, I was reading a biography of Van Gogh and his painting. Suddenly one of his oil painting, titled “girl in white” captured my attention. This was about a young girl, in a white long coat, standing lonely in a green field. I found striking resemblance with Miss N that I saw last time in the party. I re-looked at the painting, which is appreciated by large number of admirers. The artist had a typical style, which at the first sight will not appeal you, but slowly and slowly you will be drawn into it and will find its aesthetic beauty. I have no hesitation today to admit that I was wrong that evening. Beauty is not ephemeral. Confucius has very correctly said “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it’.

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