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India's obsession with fair skin begs the question, how do dark complexioned people ever get married?
My motherland’s obsession with fair skin continues and even though I am ashamed to admit it I have to be honest and say that I would love to acquire a “Fair and Lovely” (F& L) hue. From the day I was born I have always been made aware of my complexion and ironically it was a blessing in disguise as for some time I gave up on my looks and started to focus on developing a personality.
Once puberty set in my grandmother suddenly gave my mom a wake-up call and that is when “F&L” came into my life. I welcomed it with open arms and rejoiced in its ability to turn me into snow white in a matter of weeks. To be completely fair (pun intended) I did have my mom and a few aunts who swore by my good features and always told me that it would win the day.
People close to me always took comfort in the fact that I was not really dark but reddish and by arming me with “F&L” I was now ready to take on the world. They were not far wrong as it did give me some confidence since I believed that I was inching towards the middle of the fairness spectrum and that now, even I could have an “Attitude” and an “Opinion”.
Finally when it was my turn to jump on the marriage bandwagon there was a lot of hesitation on my family’s side to put down the exact shade of skin colour on the matchmaker diaries/matrimonial sites and the word “wheatish” was decided as a safe bet. After all wheat is an edible item preferred by all Indians and one is likely to get visions of delicious chapattis and with that association the match would be deemed favorable.
Again to be fair (pun very much intended) I did meet a lot of men for whom my “reddish mixed with F&L” hue was not a big deal and I have always for some reason felt grateful towards them. Now when I look back it seems pathetic that I was grateful to people for not judging me on my complexion. Fortunately for me (sorry I cannot shake off the gratefulness) I am now married to a person who discourages me to put any creams to lighten my complexion which to me is a source of never ending joy!
Even with the arrival of the Kajols, Ranis, Malaikas and Bipashas in tinsel town the matrimonial sites are still demanding fair complexioned brides/grooms. The only bright side is that the boys are feeling the heat now with the girls demanding fair grooms as well. My colleague is office who is in search of a comely and homely girl is not ready to compromise on the skin colour of his better half. His argument is that he has a fair complexion and therefore is justified in asking for another person of the same shade. I was tempted to ask if he has narrowed down on the Asian Paints “Shades of White” catalogue but decided to hold my tongue.
So we finally arrive at the million dollar question – Where DO all the poor, dejected and rejected dark complexioned people go??? And suddenly the heavens (or was it hell?) opened up and down came the answer – KAALA MATRIMONY.COM. I can even visualize the advertisement going something like … Are you dark? Do you have difficulties in scoring with the opposite sex because of your melanin infested skin? Stop worrying NOW!! We have the magic mantra, find your soul mate at only 599/ week (yup it’s costly, doesn’t pay being dark) and we will hook you up with the same shade person. Do not attach photos to your profile but instead click on the button to select your exact shade in the catalogue. ♫♫ Aap kaale hai toh kya, hum aapka shaadi zaroor karwaayenge!!!♫♫
*This blogger does not wish to divulge her name and prefers to remain anonymous.
*Photo credit: Cea. (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)
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I huffed, puffed and panted up the hill, taking many rest breaks along the way. My calf muscles pained, my heart protested, and my breathing became heavy at one stage.
“Let’s turn back,” my husband remarked. We stood at the foot of Shravanbelagola – one of the most revered Jain pilgrimage centres. “We will not climb the hill,” he continued.
My husband and I were vacationing in Karnataka. It was the month of May, and even at the early hour of 8 am in the morning, the sun scorched our backs. After visiting Bangalore and Mysore, we had made a planned stop at this holy site in the Southern part of the state en route to Hosur. Even while planning our vacation, my husband was very excited at the prospect of visiting this place and the 18 m high statue of Lord Gometeshwara, considered one of the world’s tallest free-standing monolithic statues.
What we hadn’t bargained for was there would be 1001 granite steps that needed to be climbed to have a close-up view of this colossal magic three thousand feet above sea level on a hilltop. It would be an understatement to term it as an arduous climb.
Every daughter, no matter how old, yearns to come home to her parents' place - ‘Home’ to us is where we were brought up with great care till marriage served us an eviction notice.
Every year Dugga comes home with her children and stays with her parents for ten days. These ten days are filled with fun and festivity. On the tenth day, everyone gathers to feed her sweets and bids her a teary-eyed adieu. ‘Dugga’ is no one but our Goddess Durga whose annual trip to Earth is scheduled in Autumn. She might be a Goddess to all. But to us, she is the next-door girl who returns home to stay with her parents.
When I was a child, I would cry on the day of Dashami (immersion) and ask Ma, “Why can’t she come again?” My mother would always smile back.
I mouthed the same dialogue as a 23-year-old, who was home for Durga Puja. This time, my mother graced me with a reply. “Durga is fortunate to come home at least once. But many have never been home after marriage.”
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