I have always been known as the ‘dusky South Indian girl’ in my school, but to my parents, I was always the ‘prettiest’. When I was a kid, being teased about dark skin was an everyday thing by cool kids in my school. I know a lot of people have gone through the crisis and have overcome it over time. I fall in the same league, my parents have had constant visits to my school for being teased over my skin colour by my so called friends. One of the reasons why I was never a part of the popular league in my school. But what would you do about your own relatives? But, over time I learnt that confidence, being entertaining and honest at heart would make more difference than your skin tone.
One interesting incident
After being emotionally tortured in school over my dusky skin tone (which I now think was never intentional), I was recommended fair and lovely face cream by a family relative which was of absolute waste. Although my dad’s pocket became fair, my face was still remained dusky.
One of the my life changing incident was when I tried on one of the branded facemasks which had a high dose of bleach in it. The first time I applied it, my classmates immediately spotted the difference in my skin tone, and they recommended I apply it another time. And so, I did! And this time, I kept it on a little longer. I thought I had become fair only until I looked into the mirror while taking off the mask. I had burnt my face, and it was now darker than I was ever! My heart sank, I ran to my mother, she panicked, so did my dad. Although, my school exams were just a few months away, I chose to skip school until I went back to my original skin tone. That was clearly a lesson learnt! All I wanted them was my skin tone that I despised a few hours back.
Now to Mr Racist well wisher!
Although I blocked out all the negativity that surrounded me on colourism over the last few years, life always has a way of testing you to check if you still remember the lesson you learnt. That’s when I met a gentleman on a five hour flight recently. He was seated right next to me when he introduced himself to be from South India just as I was. He started off the conversation when we were served breakfast filled with cheese during the flight. Not being a fan of cheese, I skipped the meal, and he suggested I should take it back and at least give it a try. I replied, “Not really a fan of cheese”. He said “That’s a South Indian problem you know! Girls from Kerala eat a lot more spices than cheese. Most girls from the Middle East do it the other way round, which is why they are fair, and you are not”. I looked at him, thinking if I should even reply to that or just go back to my sleep. I chose to ignore him with my pretty little smile (a sarcastic one, though) and went on to ask the cabin crew for my black coffee. To which he decided to pass on his wisdom again! He said, “See, you have asked for a wrong thing, black coffee is also something girls shouldn’t have – it does make them dark you know.”
The second time, I couldn’t let this slip by. So I said “Well, I can’t be any different from the genes I have got from my parents. Dark skin is just a natural part of me, and the people who love me, never wanted me to change. They love me for the way I am. So you don’t have worry about my skin tone nor do you have to love me. Don’t you think beauty is a matter of perception? ”
With an open Question, I left it up to him to think.
He kept mum through the trip as I switched between the channels and then slept through the rest of my trip. Before leaving the flight, I helped him with the luggage and said goodbye. Although he chose to ignore like I ignored his wise words.
Remember ladies and gentlemen, you don’t have to be fair to be pretty nor do you have to dip yourself in a pool of fairness cream to be accepted by the world. You are absolutely beautiful just the way you are. Just be yourself!