May I take your photograph, I ask (always). They pat their hair and ask why?
“Because you are beautiful,” is my reply.
They respond in various ways, some surprised, some shy, some laugh. But I repeat sincerely, “Because you are beautiful.”
I can’t explain with my dreadful Hindi what I would like to add,
“Because your face tells stories, each moment, each year, each sorrow endured, each tragedy overcome, each moment of joy, each bleak, harsh winter and bounteous summer.
Each time you lost and have been lost, each time you have been supported and, in return, have supported those in need.
It’s been hard, so hard, and yet there have been moments you thought your heart would burst.
You are resilient, you are strong, you will have laughed uncontrollably, you may have loved, you may have floundered, but you have survived.
All of this is etched into your face. It sits behind your watery eyes. Your face is your story, and yes, you are beautiful.’