Saturday, March 1, 2014

In all FAIRness!

“Your parents adopted you, didn’t you know that? That’s the reason you are dark and your sister so fair and beautiful!”

I was about 8 years old, in a boarding school and emotionally scarred by these mean words by fellow mates. Oh! The traumas of childhood bullying! But wait I turned out okay, did well for myself. I look good for someone in the wrong side of forty (make that the right side actually!). But I wasted years being miserable thinking I was ugly because in our country dark is ugly!

What’s with Indians and fairness?

Kaya clinics and Vandana Luthra parlours rack the moolah on this weakness of Indian mind-set.
“Gora-pan panay ke liye log kya kya nahi kartay!”

Why is it considered superior to be fair skinned? An educated upper caste women must be fair! Says who?

In commercials a dark girl is shown being rejected in her job, she fails the interview, looks dejected- almost suicidal. Nobody likes a dark skinned girl! She is advised to start using a particular whiting cream and lo and behold she is transformed into this fair, smart and confident person (curtains billowing in the wind). And she even gets the job, the boy, and that elusive assignment (whatever!). The world falls at her feet!

You poor struggling souls out there, there is no need to break your heads pouring over books preparing for that illusive degree, job-hunting yourselves crazy, just race to the nearest chemist and get a hold of that savvy life-changing cream, that magic portion  and  your life is transformed into a fairy land where nothing is impossible!

The newspaper matrimonial screamed “Fair slim convent educated homely girl” to whoever was interested! I shudder to think the ‘unfair’ fate that descends upon the not so fair, not so slim and not so homely girls of this great motherland!

Hey, let’s sit up take a deep breath and stop that depressing train of thought.

Remove those posters of Katrina Kaifs and Kareena Kapoors from your mental walls (who has them anyway?). We do have our own lovely talented dusky role models in Bollywood like Nandita Das, Bipasha Basu, Frieda Pinto, who carved a niche for themselves in spite of their colour pigment being the wrong shade. Who is asking Chanda Kocchar, Arundhati Roy, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Nina Davuluri their fairness quotient?

Now why can’t it just be a matter of individual choice: to be fair or not to be? And who is to argue with the age old English proverb “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”?

I rest my case in the hands of the fair and unbiased! Judge me for my writing, come on! Be fair!!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Little Moments In Life

It was like night time but it was only 4 in the evening. My daughter and I woke up from our afternoon siesta to nefarious winds blowing from the north and the cacophony of doors and windows banging!

The heavens had burst forth and flooded my little garden

The howling winds whistled through my rooms.

Little pellets of ice glittered on my little one’s palm as she collected them showing them off like new found treasure.

Silence descends, the rain had stopped. We go outside to inspect the damage.

No electricity, no inter- net, no television.

As the evening grew candles came out and in their lovely glow we chatted. Stories of ogres and demons. Giggles and laughter filled the house.

Packets of Bikaneri bhujia and tea passed around.

Suddenly the lights came on.

Dismay on our faces. The storm had passed, the crisis was over, and our little picnic was done.

And tomorrow is Monday.

Sometimes we need these moments in life when darkness brings us closer to the ones we love the most.