“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder” – when Shakespeare wrote this, we don’t know to which beauty he was referring; was it physical, mental, or the beauty of the soul? People have their standard of beauty and they judge everything and everyone they come across according to these standards. For some, physical beauty is more important than the beauty of the soul and character. People think that a fair complexion, tall height, and leanness are the epitome of beauty whether people with these attributes are rude, cruel, or inconsiderate to the feelings and emotions of others.
I believe in these lines from one of the poems of Keats:
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness, but still will keep…”
I am a believer in the beauty of the soul because even though the person may not be present amongst us or in the world, their impression is an everlasting one that can be a source of change in the lives of those who come in contact with that person.
In this article, I am going to mention a few such personalities who are very dear and near to me, no matter whether they were or are the epitome of physical beauty but they are more beautiful from the inside; emitting serenity, humbleness, and contentment in every walk of life.
So, let us start with my great grandmothers i.e. my mother’s paternal grandmother (dadi) and maternal grandmother (nani). Both these ladies were not formally educated but their thirst for knowledge and education was insatiable. They would read anything available in Urdu whether it was a piece of newspaper, a page of a magazine, or any such thing. It resulted in all their children and grandchildren receiving higher education and entering professional lives. They never forced my mother to follow any Islamic injunctions but simply told her that this is what Islam teaches us and we are rewarded for practicing it.
One example is that my mother’s paternal grandmother i.e. her dadi told her that if you hide the weakness of someone, Allah will hide yours on the Day of Judgment. It stayed with my mother and she continues to try to follow it. One day while reading Quran, my mother came across this and her belief in this has become stronger.
My mother never saw her grandmothers mistreat any servant and maid working in their house and this automatically became a part of my mother’s behavior. They did not gossip and as a result, my mother does not gossip; rather, she absolutely dislikes it and keeps away from gossip mongers. They never interfered in anyone’s lives either, letting their daughters and daughters-in-law live as they wanted to. May Allah bless them for their good deeds and good things which my mother learned from them.
After these two great ladies, two other people whom I consider beautiful are my mother’s maternal uncle (mamoo) and paternal uncle (chacha) – two great people associated with the field of education. Both of them were extremely soft-spoken, quite refined, and cultured, and I never saw or heard them talk in a loud voice or lose their temper. My great uncle/mamoo was one of the first people to obtain a Ph.D. in education, as a result of which he headed and taught in all those educational institutions in Karachi where teachers’ training took place. He was a pioneer in special education and the Department of Education at the University of Karachi. Whenever I come across his students, the great respect they show for him and the words they use are awe-inspiring. He not only provided help to his students in their studies, but many depended on him financially as well. He never expected that whatever he gave would be returned. There is a lot that I can still write, but I must proceed to let you know about my mother’s paternal uncle (chacha); another soft-spoken person. Although he belonged to the army where he served in the education corps, one could never believe after meeting him to be an army personnel. He was a great disciplinarian who never wasted time or words. He always showered my mother and us with love and kindness. May Allah provide both of them the highest place in Jannat-ul-Firdous. My mother lost both of them recently and misses them very much.
Another person whom I hold in great respect is another uncle of my mother, her khalu, who is more of a friend to my parents than an uncle. A wonderful soul who has always shown great kindness to me and my family.
There are some more people in my life whom I consider beautiful; one of them was my father’s friend – another soft-spoken, caring, and considerate person who showered us with love and attention, gave my parents a lot of respect, and was supportive of them and encouraged them in their endeavors. Among my mother’s friends, I can count six or seven people who have always been there for her and on whom, at times, she has poured her pain and suffering but never heard them utter a negative remark. They always stood by her and supported her in whatever manner they could; be it a financial problem or just a need for a shoulder to cry upon. Never discouraging or pitiful, they were rather sympathetic in a positive way. I am so happy for my mother to have had such beautiful friends in her life and for me to have known them. I pray for their well-being. Money or status never came in the way of their friendship.
Another lady for whom I have great esteem and reverence was my headmistress; a soft-spoken lady who was extremely knowledgeable and never raised her voice on students or staff. Due to this characteristic, everyone respected her very much.
My mother, who worked with her as a teacher, told me that the staff did not dare to say “No” to anything she wanted them to do, no matter how much work they had to finish, as she had always been supportive of them. She always listened to their complaints and gripes but was never unfairly authoritative.
The presence of these people in my life and that of my family can be compared to different flowers in a bouquet. Each one of them, having a distinct personality and character, touched and enriched our lives differently and made our lives more beautiful with their presence.
If I keep writing about these beautiful people who have touched my life and that of my family and have enriched our lives with their presence, it will make this article take the shape of a novella. I have tried to be concise in mentioning a few lovely, beautiful people; although, I could have also included my friends, teachers, grandparents, and parents.
I have excluded my parents even though I am greatly indebted to these two great people who have raised me to be who I am today and whose presence has made my life better in every possible manner. I am thankful to them for being my parents and doing their best for me and I believe they are truly beautiful people no matter if they have weaknesses and faults.
My love, prayers, and respect go to all the beautiful people in my life and in that of my family who have touched our lives and made them beautiful in their way. May Allah bless them with His bounties and mercy, and keep them safe from all ills and evil. With this prayer, I am going to end my article.
Faiza Zameer is an in-house writer at Perspective.
Find her on Instagram @faizazameer001