Tag Archives: intuition

The Venus Flytrap: Beauty & Outer Beauty


One of the truest signs I know of a person being untrustworthy is if, after being introduced to someone who they are aware has caused you or another immense pain, they comment on their perceived physical attractiveness. It does not speak well of someone’s character if everything they know about a person and what they have done can fly out of their hearts and heads because their presence so easily dazes them. How can they see anything else, being aware of their nature? What follows for me is that sinking feeling: like has spoken to like, and I’d witnessed a warning.

What are you wired to see first: inner beauty or its lack, or the façade? Even when meeting someone new, you can re-wire yourself so that aura, body language, and above all else the subtle changes in your own energy and emotion are the lenses through which you see. Both an open heart and bitter experience are great co-teachers. But we must keep getting refresher courses in things like this. They don’t call being deeply perceptive as having “second sight” for no reason.

Before you trust a person, do you check that you can trust your instincts? Two friends of mine recently encountered someone I have been fortunate not to have to engage with directly yet, but whose manipulations are well-known to everyone but the person they are with. One was simply unable to extend a handshake even out of habit, no matter how awkward it looked. The other found herself unable to make eye contact with that person, despite their wide grin and eager expression. Politeness and courtesy are the next level of honing that instinct – when you’re able to match façade with façade without absorbing or being influenced by toxicity. Save the winter wonderland approach for the ones who know what they did to you; offer the cordialities to the ones who don’t know that you know what they did to others.

Even the strong allure of initial sexual attraction can be upended when one’s antenna is working. I recently hung out with someone whose good looks had left me slack-jawed on our first meeting. In the interim, however, I’d learned over personal messages and social media that his political beliefs – i.e. an extension of his conscience and values – were highly suspect. I stared at him across the table and wondered why I found him so very lacklustre-looking all of a sudden when I’d gawked over his calf eyelashes and brawny shoulders earlier. I was thankful to have seen past all that prettiness to the actual person, quickly.

But what is inner beauty, anyway? A bit of a misnomer, I think. Why isn’t it “beauty” and “outer beauty” instead? Imagine a value system that isn’t based on one (the inner) being the flip side, or the redeemer of, the other (the outer). So beauty then is judged on who one is, based on what they do, their effect on other people, what connecting with them feels like, and what looking into (or not being able to look into!) their eyes reveals. When you look at someone, do you see the whole picture?

An edited version appeared in The New Indian Express on May 25th 2017. “The Venus Flytrap” appears on Thursdays in Chennai’s City Express supplement.

The Venus Flytrap: An Undelivered Message


“Sometime during the course of the year, when the time is nigh and right, you’ll receive a message.” A week into 2016, this intriguing email arrived in my inbox. It was from a friend who is a diviner, but what she offered was not a prophecy. I was among those handpicked for “a very special experiment”, a safekeeping of notes to ourselves. My message would come from no mystery other than my own desire to speak to myself. Its dispatch date was not to be of my choosing.

This is what I told her to keep safe for me, in those early days of a year that started just as unhappily as it continued: “You did the right thing. You picked the right path. You really did.”

It’s not that I was at any particular crossroads at the time. In many ways, it was a strange message to send myself, and not at all what I needed for what I could see of the year to come. I had known at the outset that mine was to be a year of patience, not of radical decisions. Even the good things that were to happen would not come from anything other than long, hard work.

Here’s what I can say with hindsight: such a vague message could come only from someone out of touch with her intuition.

And I was.

The months unrolled; less like a red carpet and more like apples from a broken carton, slipshod and mostly beyond grasping. I spent most of them waiting. I waited for my manuscripts to be turned into proofs and then to be turned into books. I waited to get away and then to get back home. I waited for things to be over with. I waited to feel better. I waited for the other shoe to drop.

And all along, at the back of my mind, as the year grew longer and my ability to tap into my own heart dimmed more and more, I waited for the validation of that stored message. No crossroad I encountered asked of me anything other than the intuitive, yet I struggled with giving myself permission.

The message never came.

Did my friend abandon her project, or did the right moment for that message simply not arrive? I haven’t asked her; instead, I’ve pondered the second question. With or without design, the non-appearance of that time capsule dispatch was probably more valuable to me than its actual content. Especially in the closing few weeks of the last year, when I began to wonder what had happened to it, and so began to have to contemplate the message itself.

After all, if it was only something I was telling myself, why did I require another person to deliver it, or to remind me of it? Perhaps this deceptively simple realisation, rather than the empty validation of a self-doubting message, was what I had truly needed.

What would your message to yourself be, if you too embarked on such an introspection? I’m eschewing a time capsule for a more everyday message: trust yourself, trust yourself, trust yourself. Let’s just hope that I’ll listen.

An edited version appeared in The New Indian Express on January 5th 2017. “The Venus Flytrap” appears on Thursdays in Chennai’s City Express supplement.