Confessions of a dark-skinned girl3 minute
By Mahasweta Mazumder
India is the land of many deities who were alluded to be of colour including Goddess Kali, Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva. These deities are worshipped with a lot of devotion to the end that many festivals are dedicated to them. However, what doesn't really make sense is why are we Indians then obsessed with fair skin. Ever since my childhood I dreaded going to weddings because I was bombarded with questions like “Why don't you apply malai (i.e. milk based cream) which will help you get a fairer skin ?” or “Why don't you learn some household skills which will help you to get married easily?” or “Do you go out in the sun too much?” and so on. And to add to my woes, I was always being compared to my fair-skinned sister by neighbors. But thankfully my parents were always supportive, and never thought that the color of my skin would prove to be a deterrent in my life.
So I studied hard and completed my MBA and then I was bombarded with another set of questions such as ‘When are you getting married ?” or “Why don’t you apply some besan and milk for fair skin ?”. I somehow dodged such questions posed by my neighbours and relatives until I decided to go through the dreaded process of searching for a partner through ARRANGED MARRIAGE. And that’s when I realised how much the color of your skin matters. The matrimonial website ads, which my parents subscribed to, somehow always mentioned that prospective grooms are looking out for prospective brides who are FAIR.
I laughed it all away until I shortlisted a few candidates and decided to talk to them over the phone. So usually the process was that I would shortlist a few potential grooms and then I spoke to the parents of the groom or the prospective groom himself. I remember one instance where the parent of one of the prospects asked “So what shade of brown are you exactly?”. I was shocked. I just told her that “I would get back to you “as any prospective client would say to a salesperson who has just made a pitch. As if that wasn’t enough I was also told by a prospective groom that since I am a bit brown-skinned, I would have to do all household work to compensate for my color.
And these guys who preferred a fairer skin color were all highly educated, MBA graduates from prestigious institutes. Some were even of the opinion that only color matters and nothing else.
I almost gave up the process of an arranged marriage until I finally met my husband. Thankfully for him, only compatibility and intelligence mattered and that’s all. Now I come to think of it, it might be so difficult for so many girls like me to get the right partner due to the “color bias”.
At this point I can hear a song playing at the back of my mind- “Hum kaale hai to kya hua dilwale hai!”. I think that such phrases communicate that dark skin is always considered a flaw in our society.