“Why I don’t like to discuss my fair skin in front of my daughter”
The obsession that we Indians have towards "fair skin" is something I have been seeing from a very young age
We’re born with it. The obsession that we Indians have towards "fair skin" is something I have been seeing from a very young age.
One school incident is particularly etched in my memory. I was in nursery and we were having selections for a play for our annual day. Clearly all the fair girls of the class were chosen as the play was based on a popular fairytale. I still remember how one of my friends, who had a darker skin colour, was very upset, as she was not selected.
I didn’t understand it then and would sometimes feel very happy that I was so lucky to have fair skin like a princess. What more can you expect from a five-year-old girl?
Itnee gori hai, ladkon kee toh line lag jayegee
But this discussion about my “fair skin” is something that happened almost every day. I can still remember how every other aunty in the neighbourhood would come to my mother and tell her “Itnee gori hai, ladkon kee toh line lag jayegee.” And I was still in school then.
It would happen everywhere. Parties, school functions, gatherings, and weddings—just anyone, some complete strangers, would come out of the blue from somewhere and start talking about my fair skin colour without even batting an eyelid as if it was their birthright.
But the fair skin colour that everyone talked about was not something unusual. We come from the hills and the in the part of the country we belong to, everyone is fair. It's in my genes.
The comments didn’t stop there and followed me wherever I went. In college, my friends told me that every boy would chose me as I was so fair and “humaara toh chance hee nahee hai, thanks to you”.
When I got married, people started telling me and my family that my husband was not as fair. And they would say it casually as if this is something very normal to do and it is perfectly alright to pass "racist" remarks like that.
The comments still haven’t stopped, but now that I am a mother it disturbs me. Just last week I had invited all my friends and their kids for my daughter’s fifth birthday party and we were taking a picture when one of my friends said to me in jest: “Don’t stand next to me. I look dull in front of you.” On hearing this, another one said "yeh toh tubelight hai, jahaan khadee hotee hai roshni ho jaatee hai."
My daughter was standing there and as everybody was laughing she too started giggling. But, I wasn't happy and I decided that this unfair obsession with fair skin that we Indians have has to be stopped and it has to be stopped NOW.
Fair is not lovely in reality
Yes, we have to admit that we Indians love passing remarks on a person's weight, colour and beauty. But what are we trying to teach our kids? That it is totally normal to discuss a person's skin colour in public and unknowingly make fun of others that are not born with it.
I am sorry, but we have to stop passing casual remarks on the colour of the skin of anyone. Just because we're born with a certain skin colour, it doesn't make us superior. We have to teach our children that God has given you this colour and you have to be proud of it, no matter what colour you have. Also, we have to teach our daughters that marriage is not the be all and end all of life and you can have a life without marriage and kids as well.
We have to teach our kids about inner beauty and why it is more important to be beautiful from inside. And more importantly, we have to teach our kids to respect every human being, irrespective of the caste, class and colour of his skin.
So, from now on when someone comes to me and passes any such comment, I'll not stay quiet and stop them that very moment. What about you?
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