The beautiful human form

I know it can sound trite — to sing praises to the way a woman looks when visibly pregnant.

And I also know it’s a lie to leave out all the other contrary and complicated stuff that accompanies this experience both for the woman carrying new life and for those around her who live with her or work with her or those out of her sight who worry for her and love her.

But if I were to focus just on that one element of form — and the incredible changes that the woman’s body undergoes to go from being discreetly to visibly pregnant I’d have to say there is nothing that comes close visually in terms of absolute beauty.

I was reminded of this, vividly when I watched the beautiful Vidya Balan enacting a heavily pregnant woman in the film “Kahaani”.

From the time she first comes to view, until nearly the end of the film, she brings alive the beauty and idiosyncracies of being a pregnant woman with a prominent tummy.

The snapshot here from the film should give you a fair idea of what I mean.

You can tell she is totally comfortable in her form, that she glows with an incandescence that is somehow both available for all out there to see and yet is deeply private and unknown to all but herself and that she is determined to waddle with her immense protrusion in a way that commands space and respect even in the most crowded of all cities — Calcutta.

Although the film has been critiqued on various counts, nearly everyone who writes about it is all praise for the work Balan has done in it.

I’m not a film critic and nor am I an actor — but to me it is no small achievement that Balan has been able to take on, so completely and so believably the identity, experience, movements and moods of a pregnant woman who I actually forgot throughout the course of the film that she was only playing a part.

I actually tensed up when I thought she was about to swoon and fall, I worried that she was worrying too much, I wondered where her bloody man had disappeared, and felt grateful the kind policeman was chivalrous enough to be a true friend to her without once making a stupid pass at an absolutely gorgeous (and pregnant) woman.

Cultures and nations differ in the way they respond to such a sight — some are more vivacious and open in greeting pregnant women with warmth, protectiveness and good cheer and some are less so.

But I do think its a pretty universal impulse to feel a bit awe-struck, whether one chooses to give expression to that or not, when one encounters the human form in this state. Life holding life. A mother encapsulating a new person yet to come.