“I mean look at her color. She is so dark. And, she will face a lot of issues while getting married. She might not get a good husband also.”
“But she is very good at her studies. She will definitely become a big officer. I don’t think we need to be so worried about her color.”
“Savita, what you saying? We stay in India where for marriage –
Ladki Ka Rang Aur Ghar Ka Dhan Hi Dekha Jaata Hai! Aur Kuch Nahin”
My aunt left but her thoughts on my skin color and therefore the slim chances of getting a groom were seeded strongly in my mom’s head. She was so scared that she got sleepless nights over my skin tone.
And, then one day she decided that no matter what, she would turn my story around. She would turn me from Kali Kaluti (dark) to Gori Chitti (fair). She wanted to change my destiny by changing my color.
Here’s what all my mom made me tried to turn me from “Kali Kaluti” into “Gorri Chitti”
1. Whatever I used to eat earlier was supposed to be applied on my face now
Doesn’t matter if it is Lemon, Honey, Cinnamon, Papaya, Egg, Tomato, Besan, Milk, Banana or anything else that can be considered as food – it needs to be applied on the face.
During this journey, my mother learned more recipes for the face packs than the actual dishes that could be cooked out of these items.
2. Use Any Items That Have The Word “Fair” or “White” in their name
The list included Multiple Fairness Creams & Fairness Soaps
And, Uncountless Fairness Facewash
3. How can we forget the heroic green plants who sacrificed their lives for my fair skin
Even when I didn’t believe in the concept of fairness, I let my mother do everything that she wanted to do to turn me into whatever she wanted me to. I loved her so much that I didn’t want to hurt her.
My struggle with being ‘Kali-Kalooti’
Over time I started believing in what my mother was saying. During all social gatherings, my aunts would tell my mom that no one will marry me and my parents should be prepared for a hefty dowry if they wanted to see me married.
They would keep bothering my mom to make me fair. Example of Kajol (actress) would be given multiple times that how she had gone from ‘extremely dark’ in Baazigar to ‘fair’ in DDLJ.
All these discussions made me feel so under-confident that by Class-9, I was not able to interact with any boys or girls. I was always scared that if I talk to anyone, they’ll call me names and it was all my fault.
But what I realized
The problem being intelligent is that you see all the problems in your life through the lens of science.
So, when my mom was introducing fair & lovely to me, my science book was introducing to me the fundamental reason why I was wheatish – the whole story about genes, chromosomes, and DNA.
Science told me that color was just the result of some random permutation and combination of my genes that no one can control.
I could definitely share what motivated me to fight back but it will not help you. There is no single way of overcoming “Not good enough” feeling. Everyone needs to find their own path. You have to find your own hero, and more often than not, that hero is you.
Because even though you can’t control your color, you can still control who you are!
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