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Story Times: Looks don’t matter

Story Times: Looks don’t matter

“I’m 15 now,” Rina circled the date on the calendar of her room with joy. A week earlier, she had invited her school friends to her birthday party and had been preparing for it anxiously.

Finally, the day had arrived and she was excited. Since morning she helped her mother with chores and kept blowing the balloons which were hung around the dining room with other decorative items. The table was also set with many homemade dishes.

“Where is my birthday cake?” asked Rina in an inquisitive tone.

“It will be delivered by the time the guests reach here,” replied her mum.

“And the dress I ordered?”

“It’s in the bag on the sofa. Go and change, the guests will be here any moment.”

Everything was ready and set half an hour before the guests were due. Rina’s school friends and her favourite teachers also reached on time with presents for her.

“Where is Rina, aunty?” asked Asma, one of her classmates.

“She is in her room getting dressed!” replied her mum. But when Rina took a lot of time, her mum went to check on her and there she found Rina crying.

“Why are you crying, dear? Is there any problem?” mum asked anxiously.

There was no response from Rina, yet her wailing continued. After sometime, Rina said, “Mum, didn’t you notice the tailor hasn’t stitched the dress the way I had asked him to? He changed the design! This looks so old-fashioned! I will look very ugly in this dress, all of my friends will make fun of me. I am not coming to the party.”

Rina was often unsatisfied with her appearance. She felt she had very small eyes and, the worst of all, her hair was coarse, rough and fizzy which made it impossible to tame. Therefore, she was never satisfied with her appearance and always took pains to improve her looks.

Her mother felt sorry for what Rina thought of herself. Mum sat down next to Rina and put her arm around her as she explained, “You should be thankful to God that you are blessed with so much. You are healthy and a very nice looking girl. Everyone is different, what you have is uniquely your own. If you feel you have small eyes, think of those who have large, beautiful eyes but no sight in them! Aren’t you better off by being blessed with good eyesight? Cherish the uniqueness you have and the fact that you have no disabilities.

“And you don’t like your hair too? Sweetheart, so many people have curly and fizzy hair. So do you see people crying? This is something natural, all you can do is take care of it properly and style it in a way that suits the texture. Don’t go against nature by trying to straighten the curls, instead adopt styles that are for curly hair and then you will see their natural beauty shinning through.

“Lastly, you know our neighbour Seema. She has a birth defect that makes her limp, yet you see her happy and smiling and making the most of any event. She never feels ashamed of walking with a limp. She is thankful to God for what she has. Her bright personality is more striking than her appearance. A person’s behaviour is remembered for long. We are not judged by what we wear, but by the manners we have. So people will remember you by your behaviour tonight and not by your dress.”

After listening to her mother’s suggestions, Rina became ashamed of what she thought of herself and asked her mother for forgiveness and promised to avoid such negative thinking in future. Rina now quickly got ready for her birthday party and went down with a newfound confidence.

Published in Dawn, Young World, September 10th, 2016

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