My shirt stuck to my wet sweaty body for dear life. It was one of those summer s where the clock showed a temperature of 38 °C. I flicked the switch of the ceiling fan and looked up to see the rickety fan making a move… slow yet steady. I grabbed the newspaper and squatted on the floor engrossed in this interesting portal. I scanned the pages briefly for any eye catching headlines and sensing the lack of it, I moved to the classified advertisement column and that s when my wandering pair came across this ”looking for very fair, thin, tall girl for well educated boy 26/6’01” I looked up and stared at my reflection on the cup board mirror. I was greeted by a dark girl with doe eyes and chubby cheeks, not close to the words ”fair” or ”thin” but ya I can be considered ”tall” at 5’5”. I was a typical south- indian female species with a body more on the curvy side, a strong build, and long braided black hair.I thought ”what a hypocrite” and proceeded to read the next advertisement and much to my surprise and disgust all the advertisements said the same damn thing as if they were following a script. I immediately pulled out my ipad from under the coach cushions and goggled ”Indian matrimony advertisement”. After going through them I realized that I would probably not find an Indian guy asking for my hand in marriage anytime in the future, but ya maybe someone who is willing to love a south indian dame, with traditional family values and modern world views.
On further pondering I discovered that this biased opinion was not new to me. Maybe I was just hoping to be ”treated better” in spite of my ”birth defect”.
As a child I was not a fitting image of beauty at school or any of my family get-togethers. Both my classmates and my cousins were fairer and I was often advised to stay indoors when the sun was out or to apply ”fairness enhancing” creams to ”become fairer”. I honestly did not like the idea of staying indoors, I simply dismissed their idea… I m not a vampire guys… I wont be burnt to ashes…. Maybe a shade darker than what I am already and that’s okie I thought…. And I am happy for that decision as I had wonderful childhood with pranks aplenty. As to the fairness creams I did not see the harm in applying them as far as I can continue playing outdoors. 🙂
As a teenager I grew a bit worried about my physique as it was not something I can customize and change to my preference, I cant simply genetically modify myself.. So I wanted to be stronger in mind and soul with a healthy body.. But the ”indian society” could not stop worrying about my future. I started receiving advice from all sorts of aunties in all sorts of function. Without them pointing out I could see that I was a copy of my dad in both physical and mental attributes. My mother on the other hand was fair and so was my sister and so is a lot of other people in the world … so what… It made me increasingly irritated a couple of times when I was gifted ”miracle creams” and whitening powder from my grandparents and my grandmother, for some unknown reason tells me I should stop eating my favorite ”dark” chocolates as that is the culprit for my ‘sorry’ plight. 😮 oh come on I wont get any ‘whiter’ on consuming ‘white’ chocolates … maybe heavier 😉 At school it was worse. There was a bunch of prejudice popular kids in class who subjected me to constant bullying. I was nonchalant about this whole affair which hurt their pride and made their nostrils flair up.
An indian family is not complete without daily soap and the drama ‘always’ (no exceptions) depicts the fair girl as an innocent, pure and chaste woman while her dark counter part is the epitome of evil. And there is an important reason for mother in laws to rope in fair daughter in laws. It is to continue the legacy of giving birth to ‘fair’ baby preferably a ‘boy’.
I thought it was okie as far I was talented and professionally qualified and love my family. But alas I am wrong. It does not matter how complex you are as a person, it just comes down to those 3 words for choosing your life partner, ‘fair, thin, tall’.
From a sun kissed girl 😉