Each time Navarathri approaches I take a quick walk into my childhood holidays, going to Belmaar my mother’s village. I remember Paramadodappa my granduncle wearing a thong and working in the field alongside his farmhands, he would work and lead them. Evenings he would play cards by the light of the kerosene lamp smoking a bidi and sipping jaggery coffee.
His younger brother that is my biologic grandfather was never comfortable with nudity, and my grandmother was almost prudish about it. Somehow this question of nudity kind of intrigued me.
As I was recovered from my burns since it was 40% I had to come to terms with a scared body, and an inability to wear clothes. Though it- was very embarrassing for me to be in that state I could understand why people went to nudist camp.
For most of us it is probably difficult to remember the last time we were comfortably naked for a period of time longer than 20 mnts or so. Many of us are only naked as we shower or bathe. We are reluctant to take that moment to feel the air against our bodies. This is something we are conditioned to culturally. Though our traditional culture did allow it.
Early days in Goa the comfort that women had in wearing minimum clothes was quite embarrassing to me, until I understood that the rural women all over India were semi clad, and it was not poverty or lack of modesty(sic) but absolute horse sense since the heat called for it. Being in that state since childhood they are comfortable with their bodies and do not require an anorexic model frame.
Cultural call here was not flaunting the body but just being comfortable in it. About thirty years ago it was an unselfconscious nudity. A lack of vanity in people who were comfortable with their naked bodies. Seemingly without concern for they appear. Hiding imperfections be it cellulite of wrinkle are all accepted with equilibrium. That kind of acceptance would amazing I know that, I don’t wear shorts and bra and walk around my house because if I pass a mirror it is the end of my day. There is nothing rarer or more beautiful in today’s world than being unapologetically ourselves, comfortable in our perfect imperfections. That would the true essence of beauty.
The concept of Digambara also makes so much of sense, because it talks of self acceptance, in the natural state,as part of nature.
Yet we tend to look at nudity as exhibitionism. Just Google quotes on nudity it is so terribly judgemental and prudish. That’s sad, how plastic and artificial life has become. It is harder and harder to find something… natural … something real…,”real love, real friends, real body parts.”
Probably one could try being naked for 20mnts, each day? Maybe sleep naked during the summer instead to turning the air conditioner on could awaken a feeling of contentment, freedom and self-love. I do not have the courage to do so… but the experiment would be interesting.