Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Cleanliness is Godliness

Yeah, I know .. the saying goes, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness".

The earliest I learnt this is from THE man in my life, my Dad.  

Through life, slowly but surely, I understood, more through his actions than words ever .. that 'cleanliness, in mind, body (face included) & soul, indeed is Godliness'.

Read on .. unfolding right here, right now, my journey of understanding .. 

Dad's always been a man of discipline, values & clean principles .. come what may.  I have seen him in a very high pressure job, with a family to fend for .. and yet, fearlessly & ethically standing by what he valued as the 'right thing to do'.  Oh wait, I understood this much later in life .. almost past my teens and well into adulthood.

What first caught my attention about Dad being 'clean' is .. his face & that, through his aftershave :)

Dad being an avid Old Spice user, my earliest childhood morning memories are a tie between Mom's garden flowers wafting in their freshness & natural scent and Dad's aftershave lotion.

As a little girl, I was fascinated by his aftershave fragrance. Long before I inherited an allergic gene from Grandpa, during my puberty, that rendered me allergic to (strong) perfumes & fragrances, I used to meticulously observe Dad in the mornings. 

I must have been, like, eight or nine years old, when I asked Dad, unable to hold onto my curiosity anymore, "can I use that?". "That" was his aftershave lotion :-D

Dad, sure, was amused.  Mom was irritated!  But, Dad is a very good communicator & what he imparts .. he imparts indelibly .. for a lifetime.  

Dad then, over many discussions, shared with me what he called, "the art of shaving". To an eight year old girl child! I am Dad's son .. I am also his daughter.  That is how he raised me.  Long before I finally became a woman, I was an unforgettable tomboy!

An already fascinated me became privy to blade angles (yes, that is how sincere Dad is, with imparting any art or science, for that matter), razor attributes (he used to tell me, "this is the most important thing - not every advertised razor is good"), shaving frequency, how men should take care of their facial topography [Dad used to tell me how some develop "potholes" on their cheeks over a medium to long term - that is the language I understood then, so he went that way] and to my delight, how & which aftershave to select .. and to my disappointment, why exactly I can never use his aftershave .. very nearly.

Why "very nearly" you ask? Because, together, we found a way I could use his aftershave.  As I graduated to a two wheel cycle (a lovely bright red bicycle), Dad & I were regulars around Delhi's admirable park circuit. Every residential locality then had a healthy green park.  I struggled with my balancing initially & despite Dad running after me .. I had enough falls and bruises. Guess what Dad applied first onto my bruises? His aftershave .. he maintains, to this day, it is an antiseptic :)

This is how I first learnt the secret behind his well maintained clean face.  Dad is dark complexioned .. one could even classify him as rustic in looks.  His two winning features that have stood out .. since I was like two years old to this day .. his discipline and maintenance of his hair and his face.  I have never seen Dad shabby or with stubble.  Now a senior citizen, he still maintains a head full of hair - though lots sugar than pepper now and a clean face .. with no 'potholes' of course. To this day, his aftershave fascinates me.

That first lesson in cleanliness then extended to a lifetime of watching him weave cleanliness in not just body, but mind and soul.  Unwavering, indelible, unmatched.

At age ten, I once asked him, "don't you get bored that you have to shave? you don't seem to have an option not to?".  Dad retorted, "Does Mom get bored of weeding your favorite garden?".  Enough said.  What until then seemed a burden, at times, to me now seemed an exercise in enabling.  What's a garden full of weeds? What's a face full of hair?

Dad quite admired Cary Grant, someone he & his friends used to call the "God of Shaving".  Until today, I thought it was a title they lovingly conferred on Cary.  

Then, hit Google today, ahead of this post and discovered a shave blog actually titling a post on Cary, "God of Shaving".  Phew! Gals, and we thought only we run beauty and grooming blogs? 

As a grown up literature fan, I have read with interest Noah's story, "The Wart" where Noah is referred to as "Noah stood before a life size mirror and started shaving himself.  It was a sort of ritual he performed religiously every day. Shaving and bathing were preparations for prayer.  And prayer was a starter .."

Dear me, that applies so much to my Dad as well.

I learnt from Dad that "Cleanliness is indeed Godliness, by itself". Be it cleanliness of face & body, of thoughts & mind, or of values & soul.

This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette

Cheers :)