finding beauty…

 for families of a certain caste, diamonds are a part of their culture–and my family is one of those families

 they are gifted and worn in celebration of weddings but also in daily life
 they are a woman’s prized possession and are cherished and passed on for generations

 my trips to india have always included looking at my aunt’s and cousin’s jewelry
 this time was no different except that we were seeing the diamonds before they were set and made into anything

 but what captured my attention was not the diamonds themselves but the sea of slum dwellings that was the view from the window of the
 jeweller’s  home

 i was struck by the stark contrast between the diamonds and the slums and yet i found beauty in both

 a few years ago i was lucky enough to see the late Alexander McQueen’s (iconic fashion designer) exhibit, Savage Beauty, at the New York Met–
 it is one  of the most exquisite and mesmerizing exhibits i have ever seen

 his quotes about what inspired him were displayed throughout the exhibit and the one that struck me the most was:

“I think there is beauty in everything…[b]eauty can come from the strangest of places, even the most disgusting of places…[i]find beauty in the grotesque…”

 i found myself thinking about his words as i looked out at the slums and we explored the streets of mumbai today

 i could not help but see the beauty in the slums, the garbage that you cannot escape, the buses, rickshaws and cars that pollute the air,
 the broken down buildings and streets, but mostly the people who are left to find their homes on the streets

 it is not lost on me that all of these things also represent the huge disparity between those of us that have the luxury to look at diamonds and those
 who must sleep on the street and the tragic consequences of this disparity

 but i think (maybe naively) that if we turn away rather than look at and find the beauty in the very things that are hard to look at, we will not care
 and if we do not care, than nothing will ever change