It doesn’t matter, it’s just colour

It doesn’t matter, it’s just colour

Photo for representational purpose only

Shailza Sharma

The leaning of Indians, especially young ones, to lush strawberry-blonde colour is an open secret. It gets easily revealed when you run an eye across the customised choice of words printed in the matrimonial section in a newspaper — ‘A beautiful, fair, educated girl looking for an alliance’, or ‘suitable match for a very fair & handsome boy’, to name a few.

I inherited my dark skin tone from my mother, and today, I proudly retain this ‘dusky’ liking. Things, however, have not always been the way they stand now. Born into a joint family as the fourth girl in a row, my unexpected arrival was a strong reason to raise the hackles of the patriarchal establishments, and adding to their detestation was my dark colour. My mother was the only one who would shower infinite love on me, caring little for the family sulk. It was during my adolescence that I surreptitiously harboured the seeds of inferiority for not being as fair as my coeval siblings and peers. That inner craving for an aesthetical makeover to achieve a peach skin made me go on an unprecedented shopping spree. I started splurging a fortune on exotic cosmetics guaranteeing fairytale facial features, whiter than white.

Reaching youth, especially ‘marriageable’ years, the situation worsened, when a new longing leapt to mind — to get a ravishing blonde better half. Devoting considerable effort to look eye-catching, I would spend hours preening myself in my bedroom mirror, lathering my face generously with a wide array of beauty creams and applying all kinds of face packs to cleanse and improve the grade of the shade, but all in vain. Luckily, the partner I got had by far a fairer complexion, and yet he gave a positive nod to me, based purely upon my educational credentials, ending my fear of being rejected for my dark appearance.

Lightning never strikes twice in the same place, yet exceptions can’t be ruled out. Being expectant with my first child, scores of rustic advices began pouring in to ensure my baby inherited a skin tone from the father’s side. Thankfully, my deeply ingrained insecurity was eventually eliminated during my pregnancy days after listening to the enlightening sermon of a guru on the diluting principles of perception of Indians. Casting light on the explicit side-effects of British colonisation, he held all gullible Indians liable for the degeneration in their thoughts, taking a liking to their tyrannical English rulers, and a blind emulation of their ways, including language, deportment and fair skin. Getting rid of the prejudiced beliefs, I decided to move on as the complexion and landscape of my thoughts changed for the better.

A few months on, the Almighty graced my lap with a lovely daughter, and when the obviously hackneyed question started doing the rounds again, about where the baby’s colour came from, my answer would be the same, to one and all, in a stoical tone — complexion doesn’t really matter!

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