I did not hear the hushed whispers and some loud guffaws when Mommy Daddy were not around- the topic was the colour of my skin. A dusky girl in India is doomed for its very difficult to find a suitable groom for her. Imagine, here I was lying in my crib, a day old and they were worried about my marriage. While foreigners love our brown skin, in our own country, there is a lot of prejudice against any skin colour thats not fair. The darker the shade, the more the bias against the person. Both boys and girls are subjected to this, but in the case of girls its more severe.
Its funny that as a kid such things never strike us. When I grew older, I absolutely adored Jamie- he is my friend from Kenya who stays nearby- I found him “the most beautiful person” as I confided in my mom – and thats because he was kind and funny and cared for me. In contrast I hated Fathima who had milky white skin, deep blue eyes, dimples and a slender waist- and thats because she always made me and the other girls and boys feel small, she mocked at us. Though people called her beautiful, for me she was the most ugly person. But as I grew up and read those fairly tales about a beautiful, fair princess and watched movies, overheard conversations around me- a new definition of beauty started evolving in my mind. A definition which destroyed my self confidence, bit by bit for I branded myself as “not beautiful”. Over the years as I grew into a young woman and started reading about how skin colour does not define a person and whats most important is being comfortable in one’s own skin, did I realise the years of harm I had inflicted upon myself.
I started wearing black colour and bright colours like yellow which always attracted me but I hadn’t worn clothes in those colours as people told me ‘you will look more dark’. I realised how beautiful I looked and a part of it came from the inner confidence and self love which I had cultivated. I would like to tell every little girl and boy who is reading this ” Take pride in your colour, your heritage , your identity. There is no other like you. If you change any part of yourself, maybe the new you may fit society’s definition of beauty but you would no longer be “you,” just a caricature of the older you. Would you feel beautiful then?
Linking up with #BlogchatterA2ZChallenge
My theme for the challenge is
“A slice of life through Myra’s eyes” – a fictional tale of growing up and learning some vital lessons about self love, feminism, sisterhood, a working woman and the essence of being a woman in urban India.