“Do not drink tea, it will make you black like that maid who comes to wash our clothes and clean our home” almost screamed my maternal grandmother as I had expressed to sip a hot cup of tea in the winter morning at an age of ten or eleven. I could not quite make the connection between drinking tea and turning black. So I decided to drink tea secretly from my grandfather’s cup (needless to say I was his pet being the only grandchild) to check if I really do turn black as per my grandmother’s prophecy. Nothing happened after continuous sipping of tea for about a month (summer vacation was on!) But my bad luck did not spare me that easily. Just as I was about to sneak out of my room in the afternoon to play in the roof with my cousins who were standing for me waiting impatiently, I was caught by the Bad Cop, my Mother and she almost had a sunstroke herself in the cool confinement of the room with sky-high ceiling, when she learned about my plans of going out and playing in that bright sunlight of a summer afternoon. She grounded me for 3 days because I laughed out loud when she said I would turn charcoal black if I continue with my afternoon adventures. So while I was grounded, I had as a lot of time at my disposal to think why would I turn charcoal black and even if I do, what differences will that make? I will still be me, the same naughty, nerdy, book worm, ME. But I wondered if I express this philosophy to my Mom chances were high that 3 days of my imprisonment would become 7 days, so for that time being I kept silent, but that incident affected me in a lot of ways.
I grew up eventually, crossed teenage and people always told me that I have taken after my Mom’s fair complexion, I never quite understood was that the parameter I was being weighed in the scale of being an individual with intellect who has her own opinions, can take her own decisions, has her own professional credentials? I mean why we do, have this penchant and a strange obsession with fair skin? Does that make a person beautiful or good looking as per common parlance? NO. Beauty is skin deep, a person who has a beautiful soul and a compassionate mind is beauty personified, be it a man r woman. I truly admire Kangana Ranaut, the firebrand Bollywood actress for taking a strong stand of not endorsing any fairness cream, no one truly needs any fairness cream to indulge in unnatural way of beautification.
We worship Kaali, the ultimate symbol of Shakti and she is dusky, still we look for fair brides whenever we log into matrimonial sites or put an advertisement in newspapers! Shree Krishna had satiny ink blue skin tone and still we look for fair grooms, unless someone like me who is totally engrossed and besotted with the TALL, DARK AND HANDSOME KINDS (read the effect of Mills and Boons)! Why this double-dealing and pretense? Why this sanctimoniousness ? There are people we all have come across in life who are extremely alluring, prepossessing and absolutely gorgeous to look at, they are ravishing, they are dreamy and easy on the eye but when time comes these people (NOT ALL THOUGH) never fail to exhibit their spiteful, rancorous and malignant side of nature, their harmful, venomous side of character hurt others, but yet we go by looks, we go by that SPECIFIC parameter of weighing beauty – FAIR SKIN.
The FMCG companies take full advantage of this medieval mindset and preconceived notion of ours and come up with different brands of fairness cream, lotions, face wash, face powder, foundation and what not!!!! But let me here ask all of you, where is the harm if I am dusky? If I have a skin tone which is not fair, well I am happy with it, I can carry myself with stupendous phlegmatic confidence, I can take on the world with my assertive , sure-fire certitude and conviction, then why do the world have a problem with me being fair or dark? I certainly do not have any issues. I know I am a good soul and that reflects on my personality, a quality enough to make me happy.
Let me come back to you with some more facts and global scene.