Fair Laadli

The moment you switch on the TV, the very first thing that catches your eye is Genelia endorsing Garnier Light or Asin speaking in favor of Fairever. You must have seen one of those ads, in which an otherwise 'ordinary' looking girl gets all the attention from her dream guy, just because she uses a stupid fairness cream? That's the most common concept they use in fairness cream propaganda. Far from making a positive impression on dark skinned people, they serve as a constant reminder of the fact that- hey! You need to be fair enough in order to be good looking!? Most of us, unfortunately don't realize that being fair is not a prerequisite for looking good. I can't blame them actually; it is all because of the constant ranting that they hear from aunties about how important being gori-chitti is, in life! Leave aside aunties, girls who are not so fair face criticism and sarcasm at every point in life- directly and indirectly both.

The other day I was chatting with this friend of mine from college. He started telling me about the girl from his class, he likes. Not so surprisingly, the very first thing that he said was- "Yaar, she is too beautiful! Bilkul gori. As white as snow!" The next day I caught a glimpse of the same girl, who was nothing but average in terms of looks. Okay, I know I can be overly critical at times, but I seriously found her strictly average. Not to forget, had she been a bit on the darker side, she would have resembled Koena Mitra! It is a well established fact that 9/10 Indian men have a fetish for fair skinned girls. Can't deny this. Pick up any matrimonial ad and the first thing you come across is 'girl should be fair', to hell with the girl's profession of course! Funny isn't it? 

Being a bong, I have been in contact with Bengali women more than Punjabi ones. There's this thing that I have noticed about Punjabi aunties (NO OFFENCE). The definition of beauty for them, is being gori-chitti and having a good figure, read good figure as in having a kamra and not a kamar (with lots of flab!). Haven't really understood the reason behind it. Maybe because they want their future daughter in-law to be overactive in the kitchen! The moment they see a not so fat girl, they start off with their kabhi bhi kahi bhi free advice -" Beta desi ghee ke bane paranthe khaya kar aur lassi piya kar! Kitni patli hai!". ...whoops.. I kind of wavered from the main topic of discussion! Got carried away! Perhaps size zero actually gives them a nasty heartburn …!

While surfing channels, I came across this serial on Colours in which the girl's mother covers her face with mud so that her exceptionally beautiful face goes unnoticed! Bizarre, right? In one of her overly melodramatic dialogues, the girl's mother expresses grief over the girl being kaali, and hence not being liked by people! The thing that people fail to realize is that being light skinned is something that is beyond a person's control. It totally depends on what genes he/she inherits. The thing that is in our own hands, is how we shape our lives, how successful and happy we are, in the end!

We are in the mid of 21st century and India is shining! But what about the foolish notions that all of us possess? The caste system has been eradicated (well almost!), but it has left behind a new problem altogether- the ward between fair skinned people and dusky people! We Indians leave no stone unturned in emulating the western society. It may sound stupid, but why do you think people in foreign countries go for sunbath or tanning lotions? Are they crazy? Think for yourselves!

Surabhi Banerjee
MSc Biotechnology and Enterprise
University of Manchester