A fish needn’t be told how to swim nor a dog be told how to bark or wag its tail. Perhaps, it’s just human beings that need to be told to be ‘Humans’ all the time. From questioning this truth, actually not doing so, I wondered why people misbehave or use hurtful statements when we call ourselves civilized and wiser than other species. When life is all about being happy and treating others exactly how we want them to treat us. So simple! But no, we typically love complicating our lives!
As a child I who grew up in the Naval bases in various part of Coastal India (as my father served the Indian Navy). I met a lot of people from all across our nation. Fascinatingly, we have a lot of people from North India, serving the Armed Forces. Due to their lineage, their skin color is fairer than the skin color of the South Indians. Growing up in the Coastal Indian cities, my brown skin turned dark brown as I enjoyed playing in the hot sun & the sand. Most of my friends addressed me as the ‘Crow’. Habitually, I shrugged off the word and did not bother. Nevertheless, when others too joined in bullying me, one day, I broke down and went right to my Hindi teacher and complained about those boys. He very affectionately, took me to his staff room and asked me a few classic questions, “Do you know the Dohas (Couplets) of Rahimji?” Since Hindi was he only subject that I scored well, I answered in affirmation. “Do you know which ‘God’ is loved and adored by most of us in India?” I said “Lord Krishna”. “Do you know the color of his skin?”He continued. I thought for a while and said Shyam rang (dusky color) so, here I had my answer. That was the last time I ever cried when people passed comments on my complexion, because I was enlightened soul now believing I the fact that I resemble God himself! People often wondered why I never reacted when they gave me weird titles for my dark complexion. During my graduation, I returned from every NCC camps completely charred and it was amusing when people said “the only features that are visible on your face are your teeth and your eye balls”. I smiled and thought, “So what”? Does that in any way reduce my love for life? Does that in any way reduce my talent? Does that in any way make me inferior to anyone? Or does that in any way stop me from creating positive impact on these many people who love me for my work and myself?
It’s time now to change the way advertisements in India promote Fair and Lovely for men and women, encourage songs with lyrics “gori hai kalaiyyan” “gore gore mukhde pe kala kala Chashma”. A star of Bollywood whom everyone epitomizes, makes statements that ‘Fair & Handsome’ is what men should use. Such statements sound very dangerous considering the influence Bollywood celebrities have on youngsters and people in general. With these stars awarded and bestowed with honors regularly, actually believe their hype and opine on just about anything under the Sun. What is even more annoying is that these names are the ambassadors of Indian entertainment industry and many more campaigns. These stars are taken by the advertising companies to be the face for brand campaigns that ride on Indian themes.
Skills, abilities and strengths and potential have nothing to do with the color of a person. To call someone gora(fair) or kala( black) definitely is derogatory and absolutely a racist remark ( internal). When I attended a workshop conducted by a skin care expert in Chennai, a couple of years back I was shocked to see the expressions of my so called friends who rose their eyebrows when ‘the best complexion award’ was given to me. They straight away approached and asked the expert why I was chosen over many others who had fairer skin color. Interestingly, she replied with a smirk “a good complexion is flawless and nourished complexion and not the one which is uneven , dull and ‘white’ in color. Pale skin can never be a great skin unless it is even , flawless and well nourished.”
Today I would like to thank my Hindi teacher for those warm words that awakened me and to all those who love and loved me for just the way I am & I have been .I love my chocolate brown skin and I take pleasure in being Brown and lovely.