April 24, 2012

Shabana ji on the nature of classiness

Ican’t call myself classy, it’s for other people to say that. I can only say that this is what I have seen, this is what I have imbibed, and this is how I am. 
 -- Shabana Azmi

This from an article in Forbes India online, where Shabana ji talks about what makes her - and some of the characters she has played - so gosh darn classy.   She goes on to say:
[Class] has to do with dignity, subtlety, with a layered subtext where much more is expressed because it is hidden. It’s got very little to with wealth and money, and much more to do with an attitude that comes from being comfortable in your own skin.
I have to agree with that, and it's part of why women often seem to get classier with age - comfort in one's own skin often goes hand in hand with maturity.

I am not sure I can agree completely with Shabana ji about this part, though:
But it’s when you’re not doing it for public consumption that counts. Like eating. When I’m by myself and nobody’s watching, do I gobble up my food? Do I eat it elegantly? Do I behave in the same way when there are people for whom I want to put my best foot forward?
I just don't think the table manners I use when I am alone are a particularly relevant measure of my quality as a person.  I'd rather expend energy worrying about how I treat others than about whether I'm a bit of a slob in my pajamas alone at the kitchen table.  Put another way, I only have so much energy to expend on self-improvement, and I don't see anything wrong with conserving that energy for behaviors that actually have a measurable effect on others. 

That quibble aside, there is no doubt that Shabana Azmi does know something about class. 

Have a look at the article - both the mesmerizing pictures I have included here (Shabana ji with Javed sahib, above, and Kaifi sahib, below) are from it. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I think the eating thing was just an off the top of her head illustration of the point that classiness is not an act, something put on just for show.In that light, I agree with what I took her intent to be.

I agree with you about the specific example, though, and am happy to say in context that I always eat desi food with my fingers, wherever I am and whoever can see me! :)