Those Moment Of Dusk

first_imgI wasn’t hit hard by the reality until the news unfurled like a wildfire; catching attention from people of all races around the globe as it flashed- “Black Lives Matters”.For the first time in years; I sensed an uneasiness and insecurities resurfacing in me which I was concealed under the layers of daily fairness creams, my entire life; just to fit into the society. The obsession of being white to be acceptable in our society; had put pressure on me right from a tender age.I hail from Southern part of India; where the majority of people are dark-skinned unlike the northern part of the country. And giving birth to a fair-skinned baby is not less than winning an Oscar.My first encounter with racism was at the age of 8 when a boy at my school; shouted at me “Kallo” which meant “Black” in Hindi. There wasn’t anything unusual with the word Black; but as a little girl, I got offended, not knowing why. That evening after returning from school, while taking shower I kept on rubbing loofah on my body; thinking maybe it will lighten my skin colour or maybe it’s just the dirt that can be removed if I keep on rubbing loofah. Well, I had to give up this method of turning fair-skinned, because my theory of rubbing loofah on body failed miserably; leaving me bruised.Being called “Black” had already put the first brick of insecurity in me.It wasn’t easy growing up in a class of 40 students; where 99% of kids were light-skinned; making me feel left out. Again Puberty, had its challenges-You know how it feels when a guy you have a crush on; finds you non-existent. Another blow to my already punctured soul. A feeling of not being good enough had now decided to build a foundation in fragile; me.I finally walked out of school with the sigh of relief expecting different atmosphere in college, but to my surprise, the count of opposite sex liking me never went up. I often looked at myself in the mirror assessing my body; I felt flawed. By now I had so much desire in me to be validated and appreciated by people; especially by the opposite sex that I succumbed to the pressure of being white. I started using all the fairness products endorsed by the fairest Bollywood actresses and relentlessly started spending on the beauty products to hide my insecurity. My confident facade didn’t want to give the slightest hint to the world, of how insecure I am from inside; that I was trying every possible way to not show up my true self.Now, I turned 22 and my parents asked me to see this handsome young man for marriage. The boy’s family came to see me a few days before the wedding as part of the tradition. Until then they had only seen my photographs, clicked by the best photographer in our vicinity; who ensured I look like someone who was dipped in a tub of milk. Suddenly, the boy’s mother mumbled to her husband, everything is good about the girl but she is dusky.At that moment I felt that all my education and intelligence were of no use, as once again I’m going to get measured by the barometer of skin colour. The constant sneer from the boy’s mother after marriage about how her son was getting much light-skinned girl and yet he chose me; made me feel undervalued. I started losing my self-confidence but chose to do nothing about it.A year later our daughter was born; when the nurse at the hospital excitedly handed her to me saying “The baby is fair-skinned”.And then few days after the delivery; my husband passed a remark about how ugly, fat and dark I had become and how he has no more desires left for me. Perhaps worst any wife would ever like to hear. My heart which was already bruised and punctured with blow since childhood; the wounds which I sew to keep it running, had finally given up.That day my world changed; it forced me to look inside of me and see my insecurities in a new light. I told myself, I didn’t choose my colour; God made me in the best possible way he could.I started searching on the internet about the influential women around the world; and my eyes fell on images of Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama- women with confidence. I also searched how Indian actresses were undergoing skin lightening treatment just to retain their jobs. Thankfully my job never demanded me to be white-skinned to get the promotion; it was sheer calibre.That day I looked in a mirror and embraced my dusk; with confidence, I said to myself “You are still sexy and beautiful”. The line which I say to myself every morning standing in front of the mirror.One thing I learned from life- More we run from our insecurities; more it haunts and more people try to make us look small. Instead, turn around; embrace the insecurity and own it proudly.last_img read more