Pay day resorted to me heading out to the city side, which is 25 kms from where I stay and work in Kukas to finally get my phone back from the repair shop. Let me not get started on what looters they are and how they not only didn’t do a good job of it but also left some strange pieces of I honestly don’t know what between the screen and the display which I can’t get out!! The buggers used my phone to whatsapp each other, can you believe it?! The nerve of them using my phone as theirs and then not even bothering to delete the evidence. BASTARDS!! I don’t normally swear but today, I’m a little riled up so please, don’t mind!! They made me stay there for an hour as they did something they could’ve done when I called to tell them 2 hours prior that I would be there in an HOUR!! Surprisingly, this is NOT the point of this blog and I realize that I have deviated but no worry, it happens and well, you can kind of understand what mood I was in at the time.
As I was delayed by those imbeciles, I missed my direct bus back and had to catch an auto instead. I paid the guy Rs.200/- to get back to a store close to where I stay and I got down to pick up a few essentials which have been on my ‘to get list’ for quite some time now and well, what being pay day and all, it was the perfect day to GET them. This is where my story begins.
“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I was standing there, looking disheveled as anyone would be after travelling for 50 kms in less than 4 hours and was just getting the store guy’s attention. Okay, backing up here for all those who are trying to understand what kind of a store I’m in. It’s a store when you stand on one side of a counter and tell the store guy what you want and he picks it out for you. Things are on display of course but then, you can’t see them all very clearly so you normally need the sole attention of the store guy to get exactly what you want. Back to the story again; I asked him for cream. I understand now that maybe I should have specified body lotion but then again, I’m not psychic (just psychotic sometimes). The man who has been seeing my face very religiously for the past 2 months as I frequent his shop very regularly asks me, “Fair ‘n’ Lovely du kya?” (Shall I give you some fair and lovely cream?) I had a couple of college kids next to me and I think I heard them snigger. I laughed as I honestly thought he had nothing else and when I didn’t get a responding laugh, I said, “Kuch aur toh hoga, nah?” (You must have something else, no?) The store guy said, “Haan Madame. Ek minute.” and then promptly went and brought out a box of ‘Ponds White Beauty’. (Another fairness skin cream) He dumped it all in front of me and the college boys were staring at me now, waiting for me to react, I guess. What did I do?!
I said, “Pack karalo. Kitna hua, sab kuch milake?” (Pack it and tell me how much I have to pay you)
Why did I buy the damn cream when I don’t use fairness cream? I think I was embarrassed in front of the college kids and well, I must’ve really looked horrible if the store guy also thought that I needed ‘WHITE BEAUTY’ cream no? I came back to my room, promptly switched on the bathroom light and stared at my face in the only mirror I own. I looked tanned, and I needed a visit to the parlour but I don’t think I needed a fairness beauty cream or did I? I thought I was above all this and then, a minute later when I messaged my better half asking whether he thought I was dark, it hit me. That man had GOT TO ME!! A complete stranger had made me reassess my own image of myself and it actually bothered me. It hurt me for some strange reason that I wasn’t strong enough to tell him that I don’t use fairness cream and that I never really had an issue with the color of my skin. It hurt me even more when I scrubbed my face harder than I would’ve done on any other day and it hurt me the most, when I actually took that cream and applied it on my face.
Why did I use it? I used it so that I could tell myself that come a few weeks, I would no more be called a ‘Black Beauty’ but a ‘White Beauty’ instead. Haha!! It was a weak moment!! I know that it shouldn’t have bugged me but I let that man convince me that I needed it. Isn’t that stupid, how we let a complete stranger break us down and trust me I’m ashamed of myself but I also know that I needed to go through with it, for some reason.
Nobody understands how it is to be discriminated because of your colour unless you’re dark and that is the truth. I thought it was only in college and amongst people you know but it’s with everybody these days. I honestly wonder about all those girls out there who are being victimized at home and at school because of their colour and coaxed into trying out any of their products at such a young age. I hope that they realize sooner than later that dark skin is not the end of the world, it just makes us more Dravidian than Aryan… right?
This post didn’t really have a very strong message; I just needed to vent and remind myself of who I really am and probably remind all of those out there who spend more money on polishing your outside surface, leaving your soul unpolished that beauty is not skin deep. If you know anybody who thinks she or he is inferior because of her or his colour, please have the heart to sit them down and explain otherwise. God made us all beautiful… together we honestly are the ‘United Colours of Benetton’! I’ve always loved their advertisements and I’m just glad that I got a chance to post one of them in a post 🙂