It’s since childhood that I have been seeing creams (which people buy like mad) that makes girls fair so that it leads to loveliness (Hello “Fair and Lovely”!). Because obviously, for Indians, dark skin is not lovely.
I was once called “wheatish” by a professor in college. That was the first time I had heard that adjective for myself. I thought fair and dark were the terms for skin tones. Now there was wheatish. I was seen by my darker friends with some palpable envy. And I saw some smirk on the faces of the fairer girls. So there I was, somewhere in the middle of the newly discovered beauty scales. I also remember how angry/ hurt/insulted I felt for not being considered fair by the professor. Even though I did not place importance to fairness, but now I realized I subconsciously did.
My dearest friend used to say, as a small wide eyed girl, when we were in fourth standard, that I was so beautiful, and by beautiful she meant that I was fairer than her. She told me how her mother used to apply “ubtan”, which is a homemade turmeric pack or something, to clear her skin. I had innocently asked her, “Your skin is already so clean, why clean it more”?”
By that time I had not realised that fairness is seen as pure and darker skins are meant to be cleaned, made to glow.
Thanks to “Black Lives Matter” movement, light has been shown to the discrimination girls face simply for their skin tones. Here in India too. But still the creams are being sold. Not as “Fair and Lovely” which is explicitly rude and demeaning to Indian women, but as “Glow and Lovely”.
And it is still demeaning. Why can’t we live as our normal selves, why do I need to be Fair/Glowing to feel confident. Or for me to become an air hostess, a model, an actress and even a news anchor? And primarily to be married?
All our self-worth is accumulated on our looks. If a girl by chance is fair, then we start scrutinizing her figure, and start fat shaming or preaching her to clean her body hair, or start smiling more. (For example, I am so criticized for my acne filled skin and for cutting my hair short, and of course for my fat!)
Basically Indian society is stuck on the narrative of girls existing only for pleasing other people’s eyes. Not as individuals, with a mind and sense of humor but with a sense of inferiority about looks.
I look up to Deepika Padukone, Mayawati, Phoolan Devi, Nandita Das, Konkona Sensharma, Smita Patil, Beyonce, Maya Angelo, Michelle Obama, P V Sindhu. These are tremendous forces of nature known by their work, not their skin tones. //It describes them, but does not define them.//
Let’s celebrate our bodies, skins and education and fitness.
Girls, we cannot expect society to change overnight nor the boys to start loving us as dark and fat.
It is on US GIRLS to start appreciating ourselves and our sisters irrespective of looks. And start loving our skin without the use of fairness and skin brightening creams.
“Your skin is not only brown It shines and it tells your story” ~ Beyonce
We never met, we had no cafes or people in common. We didn't touch in passing and I've been everywhere, and did everything. I first saw you when I fell in love with you, or I have loved you for centuries. I don't remember. You came in that night, and you smelled like sea salt. I remained in the shadow of authority, for which I was valid, and then all my flights were canceled. I knew then that wars would be fought over you, and I knew I would participate in them, on both sides. But I didn't know that you were going to tell me that life is short and day's are hard, and you will fall asleep in my arms. Look around, it's the end of the year again, everything is falling apart somehow, I'm falling apart and you're still my canceled flight, You, me and something more than life.
Depression is feeling like you’re drowning in the ocean, gasping for air and no one is around to help you. It’s just a struggle with yourself to see how long you can keep your head above the water. Every day, it consumes you and terrifies you but it’s your reality. While others are trying to thrive, you just want to survive. You try your best to take life day by day, sometimes even hour to hour. Depression is fearing the next day will be just as bad as the day before. Its wondering why everyone around you seems so happy yet you can’t feel anything at all. Depression is questioning every day why you’re still alive. It strips away every ounce of self-worth you have until you seclude yourself from everyone around you. what’s so traumatizing about depression is you know life without depression.You know what happiness feels like even though you haven’t felt it in weeks or even months. You remember having purpose in life, a reason to get out of bed in the morning, but now your brain cannot fathom those same reasons giving your life any purpose. Its feeling like someone’s holding your body and mind captive and you are just suffering waiting to be released. Depression is not talked about, which makes it one of the loneliest feelings in the world. It’s you alone verse a disease that has taken millions of lives. The odds are not in your favor. To anyone fighting this battle, you will be okay. All these days you wake up only to battle with your own mind for 24 hours, one day you will wake up and win that battle. You will feel happiness again. I have faith in you that you will fight long enough to accomplish your future plans. Depression is unbearably strong, but you are stronger. You have the ability to overcome depression, maybe not today or tomorrow, but eventually. You may not see the light at the end of the tunnel right now, but it is bright. If anyone deserves to get there, it’s you. Keep fighting. If you can’t fight anymore, PLEASE Talk to someone.... suicide may seem like an option but it’s not the answer.
Write because it's the only way to let your heart out without actually hurting that one person in your thought. Write because no one can rule over your words because no one knows if your are truly in pain or just writing. Write because after all the horrible things this world offers,writing is the only relief that's left. So write, ink your heart out let's your thought meet the world Let your ideas change the perspective of things. Write because you have the power to change the world with your words.