Nation on the March

Nation on the March
Nation on the March

Dec 4, 2009

Are our looks ( read 'bottoms') more precious than our lives ?.. (Body beautiful-III)

“ Animals do not admire each other. 
A horse does not admire its companion.” 
Blaise Pascal ( 17th Century)

Last Friday, we were at a friend’s place when we inquired about one common friend and his well-being. “His wife has come out safely – after great efforts and huge expenses - from post operative complications after a routine surgical procedure was carried out”. I was amazed to learn that she, in her early fifties had opted for liposuction (fat removal) and some not-so-uncommon surgery for intestines. But the complications took the wind out of them, and after spending three million rupees (which is about 20 times the cost of an average cardiac by-pass surgery in the same town), she cheated on the death god and – survived.  Believe me , this happened within a 100 km - radius of where I live!  It was a great relief to learn that all is well that ends well and I look forward to meeting that friend next week and to share his pain and fatigue.

Barely reconciled from this, I read with dismay that ex-Miss Argentina died this week when the cosmetic surgery to tone up her bottoms back-fired (no pun intended). (Source:

Perfection Search: Cosmetic Surgery Death

December 1, 2009 by Marijke Durning, RN  

Another woman has died, as have women before her, after undergoing plastic surgery.  When will this madness stop? Other women haven’t died, but have had to live with disfiguring complications from surgeries that have gone wrong or were done by uncertified people.

This time, it’s Solange Magnano, mother to 7-year-old twins and Miss Argentina in 1994. She died this past Sunday from complications arising during a gluteoplasty. She wanted a nicer backside, so she went for a “bum lift,” but she never had a chance to show off her new body. Her death follows the deaths of other women, including celebrities who died after cosmetic surgery. Most recently, Donda West, mother to Kanye West, died during such a procedure. In Canada, Micheline Charest, co-founder of the Cinar animation house, died at age 51, while having a face lift and breast enlargement.

What People Forget

Cosmetic surgery has long been thought of as a simple, risk-free procedure, but all surgery has risk, be it the seemingly simple injection of Botox to a full reshaping of the body (breast, butt, face, etc). These risks include scarring, reactions to anesthetic, blood clots, clots to the lungs (pulmonary embolism), even death, like what happened to Ms Magnano.

Other complications are particular to cosmetic procedures. 

They include:

  • An accumulation of clear fluid beneath the incision (seroma), which may need to be drained
  • A collection of blood beneath the closed incision (hematoma), which may have to be removed
  • Skin breakdown — a separation from healthy skin caused by poor blood circulation, particularly if you smoke
  • Bleeding requiring a transfusion
  • Infection at the site of surgery, which may require additional surgery and lead to bigger scars            (source:

Plastic surgery has its place. There are people every day who are born with severe disfigurements or become disfigured because of accidents or illness. Plastic surgery can help a person breathe properly again or look “presentable,” so he or she can go out in public without being stared at. Plastic surgery can help heal a person and good plastic surgeons change lives. But cosmetic surgery to firm up a butt, to lift breasts, to try to achieve the perfect body, is it worth leaving behind your children – to have them go motherless?

About six months ago one more report below, titled “Cosmetic Surgery Slashed Ten Years Off Her Age”  was published  :  ( . Now, in light of the complications reported recently, it would perhaps make a different reading:

Ann Ford was so ashamed of her wrinkles that she pretending to be four years older than her real age and even went through an early retirement instead of revealing her real age to her colleagues. Now, at 57 years, and after spending 15,000 pounds on cosmetic surgery, Ann Ford looks years younger than she had been.

According to Ann, she had always had wrinkles and the doctor whom she saw when she was 39 actually mistook her for someone a decade older. What worse for Ann was that she had worked at an old people’s home for sometime where she looked older than some of the senior citizens. After having to retire from the garden centre where she worked because of her innocent lies about her age, Ann tried desperately to hide her wrinkles with make-up. When even this did not help she finally went to a clinic where she spent thousands on cosmetic surgery.

An upper facelift, brow lift, cheek implants, removal of excess skin around the eyes and pinning her ears back, Ann now looks years younger and quite beautiful. After getting a lower facelift and a chemical peel to enhance her skin, Ann proudly reveals her husband feels he now has a younger wife. Guess money does buy you love!

Things have always been like this . two incidents come to the mind:

  1. Whilst staring at a statue of Cleopatra, Mark Antony became transfixed by his lover's beauty. He was on his way to the decisive battle of Actium but lingered on, amazed with the sculptor's perfection, & thus lost the battle.
    • In his  book Pensées (literally, "thoughts") Blaise Pascal, the renowned 17th century philosopher and mathematician. remarks "Cleopatra's nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed"  Ironically, what he means is that, had her nose been smaller, she would have lacked the dominance and strength of character which, in the physiognomy of the seventeenth century (or, indeed, the nineteenth century), a large nose symbolized. It is a salutary reminder that the aesthetics of beauty change over time and place. 
    • (Pascal as a physicist was concerned chiefly with the pressures of liquids and gasses. In 1644 (aged 21) he first read the work of Torricelli (pupil of Galileo) on the barometer.

The great India Sage Ashtavakra and equally great King Janak had a meeting
where something unique happened. Osho beautifully narrates it
  1. “ When Ashtavakra was twelve years old, Janak hosted a huge debating conference. Janak was an emperor, and he invited the pundits of the whole country to debate on the scriptures. He had one thousand cows placed at the palace gate and had the horns of the cows plated with gold and decorated with jewels. He proclaimed, ”Whoever is victorious, shall take possession of these cows.”

    It was a great debate. Ashtavakra’s father also participated. As dusk was falling, the message came to Ashtavakra that his father was losing. He had already defeated all the others, but he was about to be defeated by a pundit named Vandin. Receiving this message Ashtavakra went to the palace. The hall was decorated. The debate was in its final stage and the decisive moment was fast approaching. His father’s defeat was a complete forgone conclusion – he was on the very edge of defeat.

    The pundits saw Ashtavakra as he entered the royal court. They were all learned scholars. His body was bent and deformed in eight places ( hence the name Ashta+vakra ) : he had just to move and anyone would start laughing. His very movement was a laughing matter. The whole meeting broke into laughter. Ashtavakra also roared with laughter. Janak asked, ”Everyone else is laughing. I can understand why they laugh, but why did you laugh, my son?” 

    Ashtavakra said, ”I am laughing because truth is being decided in this conference of butchers” – the man must have been extraordinary. ”What are all these skinners doing here?”

    A deep silence fell over the meeting. Butchers? Skinners? The king asked, ”What do you mean?”

    Ashtavakra said, ”It is simple and straightforward: They only see skin, they don’t see me. It is difficult to find a man more pure and simple than me, but they don’t see this; they see a bent and deformed body. They are skinners, they judge by the skin. Your Majesty, in the curve of a temple is the sky curved? When a pot is smashed, is the sky smashed? The sky is beyond change. My body is twisted, but I am not. Look at the one within. You can’t find anything more straight and pure.”

( Note :  Ashtavakra had body deformities at eight places ( hence the name Ashta=eight +Vakra=curved) . Janaka was called Janaka Videha. (Videha = “without a body” . Although a king, he had entirely forgotten that he was a body; he felt that he was a spirit all the time. )

With this  very enlightening story, just for  today I need to   close this post  but  the craze for “ size zero” and “body repair garages”  thoughts keep churning the mind. They compel  me to bring them up next !