“So, she might be Mr.A’s daughter?” Some lady in her forties (or may be fifties) asked to my aunt looking at me. She definitely didn’t look happy seeing me and her question was more of a pity than of a surprise.
“No,She is Mrs.X’ s daughter” my aunt replied to which this lady’s eyes almost popped out and without any hesitation she asked with an alarming tone “ Is it ?? Then why is she so black??”
Hardly eight or nine years, long long ago had I never known my skin tone was such an issue. Moreover this one incident has set its place deep down in my mind that I even started accumulating thoughts over this bland statement of some lady whom I don’t even know!!
Fast forward to many years ahead, I heard many direct and indirect statements from so many ‘well wishers’ whose sincere intentions was a good life for me (you may read married life or as they say “to get settled”), many bits and pieces of advices on how to improve the skin tone or how to look presentable in front of grooms family or how to take a photograph of mine!!! Never did I muster some strength and courage to snap them off.
People around me were racists, but I didn’t know this word then. I was a kid, an eight year old who loves to play. But sadly, I was growing up in a racist age and today I am living in an even more racist society. Growing up, being a professional and living around professionals also I’ve heard enough about improving my complexion. That gave the most important realization – this is not anything related to ones education or culture or socio economic conditions, its deep rooted in a vast majority of people which needs a real conscious pull off. We reach an age of maturity when we start realizing these are trivial issues, we learn the art of ignoring or snapping nasty comments, we become stronger and bolder and move ahead. But this doesn’t happen as such. Days or Weeks or Months pass by when we indulge in self guilt trying to comprehend over the situation and come out of it.
But how are we preparing this society for our kids? Are we still transferring these age old sickness to them? Are we making this earth a better place for them? I need to shout out a big “NO” as the answer. The majority are striving to be racists and claiming to be secular –the sad irony of our youth. So, what shall I do? My kid who is just three get to hear about this – so what do I do? I am her confidante ,I am her solace ,my words have high impact on her .So that’s my strength – I tell her people are in different colours so much like any other animals or birds or vehicles and everyone are beautiful . I repeat to her – She is intelligent strong and beautiful, I repeat it many times a day or night before we sleep and as soon as we get up. I try to make the feeling strong and concrete in her so that she gets the courage to respond to the racists comments anytime in her life. No one told me these anytime in my life – instead they gave me fair and lovely!!!