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Last week’s cover story, Doctor, Give Me A Jolie, was thought-provoking, informative and thoroughly interesting. It’s a crazy world in which social media pressures are pushing Indian teens towards drastic image-building measures. Beauty is truth and truth is beauty. No one can deny this. A flat-chested girl may wish that her bust was bigger, but changing that through a cosmetic procedure is at a whole different level of hyper-aesthetic existence. If a teen boy or girl is trolled in social media for their nose, or other body part, their mental health is bound to suffer. But should they give in to the abuse and head out to change themselves? Or is it this online culture of body-shaming that should be corrected! Even parents are giving into such pressures by taking their kids to plastic surgeons as they don’t want their kids to suffer.
In my opinion, Indian teens and parents should approach a specialist only after 18, the standard of adulthood. Human bones, cartilages and skin are changing every minute and second and the growing process slows down only when adulthood is reached.
Teens obsessed with unrealistic standards of beauty that they see in people they emulate and follow on social media, such as Instagram, forget easily that they are going after insatiable hallucinations. It starts with a harmless selfie, but can turn into serious self-obsession.
Ashim Kumar Chakraborty, Guwahati
It is disheartening that many teenagers and adults in our society do not understand the true concept of beauty. They get too influenced by watching social media narcissists and the misleading ads of the cosmetic industry and set unrealistic beauty standards for themselves. Parents should make efforts to imbibe the value of self-acceptance from childhood. Instead of physical beauty, everyone should focus on the inner beauty. Teach the children to accept themselves and nurture the beauty from within. Beauty does not have a particular definition. As they say, it lies in the beholder’s eyes.
Minati Pradhan, Bangalore
Plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery has its advantages and disadvantages, although the disadvantages far outweigh the pros. God has crafted every man and woman in a unique way. That uniqueness should be admired and appreciated, not altered. It is always safe not to go beyond facial or body make-up. Cosmetic surgery can often turn into a misadventure, that can be a nightmare. Cosmetic surgery might be essential for cine actors and actresses and might suit them too, but it’s not a good proposition for commoners. Everyone’s plastic procedures cannot be as successful as Kim Kardashian’s, who must be paying top dollar for them. A bad procedure can take away the beauty you already possess. I am of the opinion that if one disturbs his or her body, the body is bound to disturb or hurt him or her back. Beauty is skin deep and beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. There is no dearth of men or women who like their beloved or spouse to be as they are and not as they are made up through artificial methods.
The progress in this field of reconstruction surgery has pros too. Patients of trauma injuries to the face and other body parts can be helped by such procedures.
M.Y. Shariff, Chennai
Plastic bags, plastic money and plastic bodies; plastic is surely the substance of the century!
Anil S., Pune
I refer to Outlook’s story on the minimum wage rates (Fair Pay For Fair Play, Sep 24). I think India is a large country and is thus beset with large problems. One such problem (of plenty) is its humongous manpower resources. Actually, what would have been an advantage is not, for the people suffer from lack of employability. Thus, a vast portion of the population is exploited by either not being paid adequate remuneration and/or have to work under unacceptable working conditions and for long hours. The government has formulated a minimum age for work as well as other norms, but they aren’t heeded by employers at all. Again, women are shamelessly exploited—they are paid far less than men for the same work. All this needs to change through rigorous enforcement of the law.
Lt Col (Retd) Ranjit Sinha, Pune
This is on the follow-up (Anatomy of a Flood, Sep 10) of Outlook’s cover story on the devastating Kerala floods. The examples of communities coming together for help and succour in this direst time was touching. Otherwise, religious disharmony is at its height in Kerala. We know of enough religious places that propagate hatred. The flood seems to have taught them a lesson. Actually, it’s God’s will—an indication that He wants all to live in peace and harmony.
Vishwanath Dhotre, On E-Mail
This is about Maj Gen Ashok K. Mehta’s column (All Quiet on Talks Front, Oct 1). Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who started his innings by holding out an olive branch to India, has suddenly turned hostile! Consequently, a BSF jawan’s throat was slit along the Jammu border and three policemen were killed in Shopian by the Pakistan army. Then again, it released a series of postage stamps glorifying Burhan Wani, causing India to call off tentative talks between the nations’ foreign ministers in New York on the sidelines of the UN general assembly. An enraged Imran chose to speak with remarkable rudeness then, especially the remarks about “small men occupying big offices”. The fledgling PM of a skeleton democracy could have been more courteous to the premier of the world’s largest democracy. Perhaps Imran believes that winning the hearts and minds of Indians is much the same as winning the World Cup. Fat chance!
Kangayam R. Narasimhan, Chennai
This refers to What The Ten Heads Think (Oct 1). I am not sure if Harvir Singh’s theory of Dalits and OBCs joining together is realistic. Consider the situation in Maharashtra, with Marathas demanding reservations, and the clashes which happened after the Bhima-Koregaon rally. Or Tamil Nadu, where the Dalits, especially in the villages, suffer the most at the hands of castes which are only slightly above them in the Manu ladder. Even in UP, Mayawati would rather avoid the OBCs if you go by the past. There are no straight equations. Ultimately, money and the sops of the day will decide, I suppose.
Krishnan, On E-Mail
Apropos of the interview with Shivraj Singh Chauhan (‘I see no challenge; Congress leaders are daydreaming’, Oct 1), the chief minister’s optimism about a fourth consecutive term in office exposes the feudal mentality of our leaders. While Chauhan claims to have been working hard for the past 13 years, he offers no clarification on what exactly this hard work has been. Working-class people suffer constant stress from harassment by banks regarding loan repayments, and many commit suicide, while corruption and other crimes go on unabated in MP. Many involved in the Vyapam case were murdered or committed suicide. Chauhan boasts of welfare schemes, under the misapprehension that setting up such schemes is hard work. Politicians are elected to manage the affairs of the state with the resources available in the form of taxes and the existing machinery; granting doles forces the recipients to stand as beggars before the condescending kings of the state. Democratic, sustainable progress is achieved only by enabling people to stand on their own.
M.N. Bhartiya, Goa
With reference to The Big Bird On Borrowed Time (Oct 1), with Vijay Mallya coming out with a different unbelievable statement each time with a view to preventing his extradition, the CBI’s decision to file a charge sheet against the bank officials who processed his loan applications is a step in the right direction. As this should pave the way for the main investigation to get to the bottom of things, it won’t be long before it exposes the identities of the vested interests—including politicians—who put pressure on the banks to sanction these loans.
K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad
Bird on a wire Vijay Mallya is balancing it out pretty well for now. At least that is what is reflected from the media coverage of his trial. He looks calm and composed when questioned outside in London. One could say it is so also because of some goodwill he has with the British press. This ‘arrangement’ is broken only when the deliberately provocative TV reporter starts questioning him. Yes, I have seen clips of that doing the rounds on social media. A TV anchor from a famous (although some may say infamous!) Indian news channel tries to feed Mallya the mic, asking him repeatedly when he’ll return to India to face the people (or something to that tune). Mallya can be seen responding with, “First you learn good manners and then ask me questions (or something like that).” It’s quite a show. And yes, Mallya is no angel. But, this news channel’s villainising of him (it’s a thoroughly melodramatic channel, in case you haven’t seen) actually works in his favour because the its attempts to question him appear completely agenda-driven like the rest of its shows. What’s worse is that the reporter dispatched by the Indian channel to London is not even questioning Mallya directly, she is asking questions on the behalf of her loud channel chief, who is sitting in a studio in India and passing judgments!
Ashwini Sahota, Delhi
In the special tourism booklet on Manipur that was distributed along with the Outlookissue dated October 1, 2018, the map of the Northeast state erroneously pointed to Sikkim on the map of India. We regret the inadvertent error. The accompanying picture shows the correct map.
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