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How important is skin colour, really? This engaging story tells you how colour is only skin deep, and it is the beauty within that is the most important.
I am the dusky girl in my family and my family is proud of me. From my childhood the demarcation of colour was never entertained in my family.
But, as I entered into the real world, survival for me became a war every time. Every time I faced it my father’s warmly hug and mother’s cuddle were the only places for my survival.
It started with my elder cousins calling me all sort of nick names because of my colour. A time came when I started running away from them whenever they came home for their summer holidays. Things weren’t better at school either. I still remember one of my friends calling me ‘black spider’ and asked me questions like, “If both of your parents are fair how you could be dark? Are you adopted?”
Finally, one day when these questions disturbed me too much, instead of coming home, I rushed to my father’s laboratory at his hospital and started sobbing hard at the entrance of his laboratory during my return from school. I was in the 3rd standard then. He was doing some observation of a specimen under the microscope but keeping it aside he came to me. Kneeling down, he opened his arms and said, “What happened? Come to me dear.”
I didn’t. Instead I stood still and kept on weeping hard. He stood up and took me on his lap whispering, “Hush! Baba is here, everything is going to be all right, what happened?” After almost ten minutes or more I said, “Baba am I adopted?”
He looked surprised and said, “No.”
Then I asked, “Why then, does my colour not match with you & ma?”
He wrapped me hard and kissed me tight on my forehead saying, “You are the fulfilled wish of mine and your ma’s prayers after almost seven years of meditation. You are precious.”
I released myself from him, “Then why I am dark and you both fair? Even Jeet (my younger brother) is fair. The rest of my cousins are also fair then why not I, why?”
He remained silent for a while and continued, “You should know that before being a human we all are colourless souls. Every soul is unique, so are you. Complexion can never be a boundary for souls whether it be yours or mine we all are colourless.”
I really didn’t understand what he was trying to explain and exclaimed, “What?”
Baba realized that I was confused, “Ok, shall explain to you tomorrow evening. Now go home quick because I think Ma has made ‘kheer’ for you. Rush now or else Jeet shall eat all up.”
Saying so, he knelt down and released me. I kissed him back on his forehead, rubbed my tiny nose on his chest where I could hear his heart beats ‘lub-dub, lub-dub’ and almost forgot all my pain.
I rushed home happily to get my portion of ‘kheer’ which ma had made for us. Next day being Sunday, from evening onward Jeet and I started making plans of what needs to be done in this holiday. That made me forget about being upset all throughout the day.
It was early the following Sunday morning. After having our quick breakfast and short study time Jeet and I started playing. It was around 11 in the morning when Baba returned from town with a newspaper in his hand.
He came and sat on the big arm chair of our veranda said, “Joyeeeee,” he called me, “was there a fight between your watercolours yesterday?”
Jeet and I were busy playing throw ball and were not paying attention. So Baba repeated his question again. This time I stopped playing and trying to catch my breath said, “Nooo, why?”
Baba said, “Aaare it’s in the paper today that there was a fight between the colours of your water colour box. Do you know the reason? Did you see?”
I exclaimed, “Noooo!!!! It can’t be. I had checked the box yesterday night the colours were fine”.
Baba said, “But, how come the paper knows this then? See there is your photo too. Come see”.
Jeet and I ran to Baba to see through the paper and saw that indeed he was speaking the truth. There was a dark coloured girl with short hair wearing a floral frock just like me, exclaiming in surprise at her totally untidy water colour box.
Seeing that, Jeet ran to our study table and within a fraction of second brought my watercolour box. He opened it and said, “Didibhai (elder sister), see the box it totally untidy. All colors have turned black.”
I snatched the box from Jeet’s hand hoping that he was lying, but was astonished to see that the watercolours had merged together and all have turned black. This was my birthday gift given by Ma. Seeing this I started crying.
Ma came from kitchen and said, “Its O.K. darling I shall get you a new one. Now, what can you do when the colours had a fight? But, don’t you want to know why they had a fight?”
Touching my Ma’s hand I said nodding, “Yes. But will you give me a new one, because this isn’t my fault.”
Baba said, “Yes, yes, yes we shall give both of you watercolours. But first come on let us know the reason why they fought. Come, come, come.”
We all brought our stools to sit facing Baba to hear why my watercolours had a fight last night.
Baba read from the newspaper:
Green said, “Guys a question has been lingering these days in my mind.”
Red said, “Ask, we all are friends”.
Green said, “Mmmmm I was thinking who is the superior colour among us all?”
Red laughed and said, “Huh, What is there to be sooo confused about it? Of course I am.”
Green replied, “Oww, owww, owww, Now what makes you think so?”
Before Red could speak, Blue almost yelled in its childlike voice, “Why always you red, and why not me? It’s me.”
Yellow now spoke in its shaky voice and almost stammering, “I I I thin thin think its m m me”.
As this discussion was going on in between the most vibrant watercolours, White spoke from one corner, “Hey no matter how much you all speak; only I know, who the most superior colour among us all is?”
Red almost spilt itself from its accommodation space and said, “Please, Please say na, who is it?”
White gave a mischievous smile and replied, “Of course I am”.
This made Red very angry and throwing herself over White she screamed, “Noooo, it’s me!”
Taken aback by Red’s action Green rushed for White’s help but unluckily she spilled herself over White.
Struggling hard White still screamed, “Get off me you both filthy colours! You are making me dirty. I am the superior one among you all and you can’t deny this”.
Hearing this Green instead of getting off reinforced herself over White and said, “You can’t be. It’s me. I came to save you and you are betraying me now you suffer”.
Yellow too jumped over from her seat and spilled over White saying, “You morons it’s me – I am superior to you all”.
Seeing this battle for superiority Orange, Blue and Grey also joined the race and spilled themselves over White to show their strength and supremacy.
At last White gasped almost suffocating, and said, “See you dumb heads see, see what you have done. You all have mingled yourselves with me and now we look alike that silent Black colour in the corner whom Joyee had adopted. Ahh how much I hate Black!”
Green, Red, Blue and the rest looked at themselves, surprised. But now they couldn’t distinguish among themselves and realized that they all had turned Black too.
During their fight with White they had also fought among themselves and all throughout the box there was no colour except Black.
There was a big silence now in the box. Then breaking the silence Black spoke, “You all don’t like me because I am not as vibrant a colour as you all. You all are beautiful but I am not. But, now I guess we all have understood that we are equal and all should ‘Rise and Shine beyond our Colours’. Because I am the one who have consumed all within me. If I wasn’t there then your beauty couldn’t have been defined. And it’s only after I release you all, the sober White is formed.
Hearing Black’s verdict rest of the colors were left speechless. Then White spoke, “Yes you are right Black! Please forgive us for our mistake”.
The rest of the colours also followed White and asked Black to forgive them. Black smiled and said, “I wasn’t angry with you all but yes, I was upset for keeping me away always. There is nothing to forgive you because in friendship there is no sorry and no thank you.”
White now said in its sweet voice, “Now we all know that it’s not colouring which really matter it’s our deeds and perseverance which exhibits its results at the perfect time which our dear ‘Black Beauty’ has shown to us.”
Black said smiling, “Now, since we all have come to know that it’s deeds that really matter, so try to get cleaned now or else Joyee shall give all a nice wash up.”
Baba stopped and we all looked towards him with astonishment and exclaimed, “Then?”
Baba spoke, “Then, Then Joyee came, opened her box and shouted at the top of her voice, “Oho what happened to you all? See you all have messed yourselves up and now I have to clean you all except, my Black.”
Black giggled and said, “It’s nothing. The rest just now learnt that I am not adopted but instead the bearer and mother of them all. Now they know that we all need to ‘Rise & Shine beyond our Colours’.”
After completing the story Baba spread his arms. Jeet and I rushed to him and Ma said, “So darling you are not adopted but instead the bearer of our family and you both make our family complete.”
Baba quoted, “Because before being colourful humans we all are colourless souls and should try to ‘Rise & Shine beyond one’s Colour’.”
Ma, Jeet and I chorused, “Rise & Shine beyond Colour.”
It has been almost twenty years since this incident took place. As I grew up I came to know that it’s the play of dominant and recessive genes before our birth that determines what our complexion should be. But, still today, somewhere within me the beautiful story of colours fascinates me.
This story had made me realize that complexion is not what really matters. It is your personality and presentation which matters the most. And today I do understand the words of Baba that, “Every soul is unique. Complexion can never be a boundary for souls whether it be yours or mine or of others. We all are colourless souls.”
Image source: skin colour by Shutterstock.
Cancer Stem Cell Researcher , loves to write about various experiences experienced in life. read more...
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Mostly Normal is a book of innocence, longing, filial love, angst and acceptance, encapsulating a gamut of human emotions within its lightweight edifice. The book touches the human heart and will stay with you.
Some books enthral you till the last page, and then there are those that you stop reading after turning a few pages. Some books are a one-time read, while you carry some books with you long after you have read them. Then, once in a while, a book hits you so close to home that you find it difficult to slot into any category.
I will put Priyadeep Kaur’s Mostly Normal (BookSoul Reads, 2022) in this last bracket.
At a little less than hundred pages, Mostly Normal is a testimony of the power of words to inspire, irrespective of their length.
Most women do not get to live their lives the way they want, on their own terms. So why should they be tied down in their old age?
Every morning, while dropping the kids at the bus stop, I find a grandfather waiting with his granddaughter. I see him again when I fetch the kids. This has been the pattern for the last few years.
He is seen actively participating in his granddaughter’s activities, from morning and evening walks to attending her parent-teachers meeting, sending her for extracurricular activities to even planning her birthday party. He is admired by all. He is appreciated for making himself useful in his old age. People rave that the doting grandfather is doing his duty towards his children and grandchildren. The much-admired grandfather is also a widower, having lost his wife years ago to chronic disease. It’s also to be noted that both his son and daughter-in-law are working parents.
Every day, the onlookers appreciate his sense of duty and dedication. They say that this is how the elderly should keep themselves occupied. They should bring up their grandchildren while their children go off to work.
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