Colour me white

The best place to start the story, I guess, would be when I was born. The apple of everyone’s eyes. Loved by all, I am told. Wanted to picked up by all. And thus I grew, happy and loved.

Things took a turn, around the time I started my third grade. I remember because we had moved to Jaipur that year. Come summer vacation we headed home, back to the place my grandparents stayed along with a whole bunch of relatives and family friends. Everyone seemed to gasp when they saw me. The first thing that came out of their mouth was, what happened to her? How did she get so dark?

Somewhere within the year that we moved to Jaipur, the colour of my skin had shifted from milky white with rose colour cheeks to shades darker. And no one who knew us before could get over the fact. Growing up, I heard these questions directed at me over and over again. With each vocalization of the question, my self-esteem moved down a notch. It got to a point that I started dreading our annual summer vacation, I started to hide when someone came home, I was tongue tied in front of people with fair skin, I cut out a whole spectrum of colours in my wardrobe because I thought they made me look darker,  I would secretly place my hand next to Mom’s to see how dark I was, I started doubting the love my parents and relative had for me.

Things changed again as I got into my late teens. The anger, the resentment that I was carrying within started coming out, every time these comments came my way. My response, I think, finally stopped close relatives, in my hearing at least.

I started building my self-confidence one step at a time. I started to forget about the colour of my skin. Love happened. The boost that love gives happened. But such things don’t get left behind, do they? I was a bride of one day. Someone stopped by to wish us happy. Took one look at me, turned and told my SIL..’She is not fair is she? Your brother could have done so much better’. As my SIL rallied for me and D got hopping mad, I felt incapable of uttering a word. The shock of facing an old enemy so unexpectedly is the only reason I can think of.

Life has moved on since. I have moved on since. Acceptance has come with maturity. I can now look at myself objectively when I look at the mirror and see beyond this one aspect. D of course has a lot to do with this. But this time as the old enemy rears its head, my heart shudders. Everywhere we go, we are greeted with comments and questions like ‘Neither D or you are fair, who has Buzz taken after?’..’Oh she has amazing complexion’..’Does someone in either of your families have this skin tone?’. I look around helplessly. I hurt a little bit more, I am scared a little bit more. Because this time it’s not about me, it’s about my little daughter. I can’t help but wonder, what if her skin changes colour just like mine did? What if she has to go through the same thing? I feel so helpless. I don’t want the smile on her face to diminish just because Indians are obsessed with fair skin..I don’t want her to be stuck in the superficial just as I was..I don’t want her to be hurt..period.

My heart feels heavy..I want to protect her..I want to hide her..I want her to look beyond this pettiness to look within..to appreciate the person inside..not the cover..no matter the colour..

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51 thoughts on “Colour me white

  1. You know what my answer wud have been to all those people who keep asking how you became from all fair to kaala: “Yes boss, till yesterday I was bathing/having a shower using cow milk, starting today I am having a shower using cow dung. Do you have any better suggestions?” In the best sarcastic tone I can conjure!

    1. Viswa, I came up with a lot of sarcastic response in time, but when the whole thing started I was a child of 9-10 year and had no clue on how to respond.

      1. dont worry comfy…all izz welll as far as the buzz goes coz she has wonderful parents in you and D to guide her out.

    1. Thanks Ramit. I am sure things will work out..they do..don’t they 🙂
      I think all parents fret about their kids for something or other. This is where I am starting to do my part 🙂

  2. What can I say sweetheart? Reading this post has made me sad… There’s nothing I can think of to say which will make you feel better. Tight hugs…

    But for Buzz, she’s a doll. I cant say for sure what will happen to her skin colour, but she’ll always be a doll 😀
    NO questions there…

    Don’t hide her. If you hide her, she may grow up to think why her own mom hides her. Make her stronger than you.
    I don’t know what else to say, sacchi 😦
    More tight hugs…

    1. Divz hugs always help.. 🙂
      I say, I want to hide her..but I know I will not..
      I just hope by the time she starts to understand things, I have instilled in her to see the beauty in people which has nothing to do with the colour of their skin..And that she has confidence in herself..no matter the colour of her skin..

        1. Yup, that’s how everybody should be..we just need to send the memo to people back home.. 🙂

          PS: I like how you went from Band-Aid on your mouth to showing your teeth in anger.. 😛

          Now get a gavatar..so that you show up just the way you like it.. 🙂

  3. Hmm So there ! I liked the truth that the line said: The Indians are fascinated with the fair skin tone…

    And I’m sure..very very sure Comfy that Buzz is going to be a different human being who will not belong to such lot..after color and all that! reason is simple:She is comfy’s daughter 🙂

    So just chill and I’m sure things will change going forward..our generation and times were pretty different than todays…

    And yes girls nothing better than HUGS !!

    So warm hugs to buzz and super tight hugs to you 🙂

    1. I hope so too..that times are changing..but everytime I come down to India, those Fair and Lovely ads make me think not.. 😦

      Thanks for the super tight hugs 😀 ..love them..and so does Buzz..

  4. hugs comfy….dunno what to say….some people are just plain idiotic…i don’t understand how all these so called grown up and mature adults say such things…don’t they ever think? don’t they realize what is important?…color has nothing to do with what the person is like, that’s the bottomline..

    buzz is a sweetheart, and i’m sure you and D are gonna teach her right…she will definitely develop a mindset which knows better than to worry about skin color and such….she will grow up to be wonderful and no one can bother her with their silly stupid comments…

    hugs!

    1. Thanks T. You as always put my thoughts into perfect words..
      All I can hope is that D and I do a good job teaching Buzz right from wrong..
      Thanks for the hugs.. 🙂

  5. I can imagine how hurt your little heart must have been with all those nasty comments when you were a little girl and how bruised your heart would be when people haven’t changed a bit in all those years and say things about our little angel buzz 😀

    It’s hurting and it’s a sad scenario but since you and D are determined to let buzz learn from the start not to be bothered by such shallow remarks and be able to judge right from wrong, you are already training her for the much needed sea change in the society’s mindset.

    I hope you are already feeling heaps better after venting out all your pain in words.

    Cheer up buddy, thick dark clouds of nasty comments shall soon be blown away giving way to the bright sun of intelligent judgment 😀

    Take care and have a fabulous Sunday 🙂

    Cheers!!

  6. i hope buzz doesnt have to go through such humiliating comments, I am sure you will pull her through the whole thing. A wonderful mom that you are.

    Ignorance is bliss, tell her. Also I think, since you do not stay in India, the torture will be a little less than what you went thro unless you are surrounded by Indians everywhere.

    1. G we are surrounded by a lot of Indians but I am hoping that gets balanced by all the white people around who poor things try all kinds of things to get a tan and always compliment Indians for owr glowing skin 🙂

  7. I had no idea you have a D in your life too!

    That aside, you must instil loads of confidence in your daughter and not attach too much importance to the colour of her skin. As parents you have the power to stress the irrelevance of such comments. And hopefully, by the time Buzz grows up, this will be a changed world.

    1. I am so going to give it my best shot D. I want her to be able to look beyond the colour of her or anyone else’s skin. Keeping my fingers crossed that we can guide her well..

  8. Sad but true 😦
    When my cousin ws born, there ws this old man from the family circle who hd come to see her. I cud nt believe someone can be so insensitive when he said ‘U hv to keep a lot of money to send her away’. All bcoz she ws not ‘fair’. Today she is a national level shuttle player, a Bharatnatyam dance and now, this same person keeps his mouth shut when he comes in front of us!
    This deep-root conditioning that we hv in India abt the skin colour etc.. has to go 😦

    I am so glad to see u r so so strong and ur daughter is blessed to be having u with her. I wish and pray she grows up to be a strong individual who sees beyond and these futile things!

  9. Why is is that all the girls hug you and not me huh?
    Oh by the way, came back to tell you that she’s duskier than me. And I care a shit. People tell me too that I can do better blah blah, so I tell them blah blah F off. What matters is what’s inside.

    So Buzz when you grow up, remember this:

    1. Don’t you dare call me Mama ji. Because I have a thing for dusky girls.
    2. Don’t care a shit for what ‘old retired with nothing to do aunties’ tell you about your skin color.
    3. Go to their houses when they are not looking, remove all Fem from their bleach packs, replace it with Super Glue.
    4. Wait for a chance. And when you see them bleach their faces, rush and push them headlong in to a tub of fresh cut hair from the neighborhood barber shop.
    5. If your momma objects, don’t tell her I gave you this idea.

    We Love you Buzz Bee! And we don’t care if you’re fair or dark, thin or plump, (just plump, not freaking fat like me)

    Hugs Buzz Bee.

    Can’t hug the momma Lol. D will kill me.

  10. D stands for Doll… and ur daughter is a doll..dont let anybody bring her down.. Punch them hard on their face.. if they do…

    I hate these people… i seriouslyy do..

    Hugzzzzz Comfy…like u said…All is well 🙂

  11. WTF?? who are these people? and where do they come from??

    You are a beautiful person. Period. And your kid is going to grow up a wonderful, caring and a kind human being.

    How does a skin color matter anyways??

    1. Exactly..my exact question..where do these people come from..

      I am going to try my best to make Buzz grow up into a good human being..really going to give it my best effort..

  12. This post made me incredibly sad. No one should have to feel this way about anything, ever.

    People suck. They’ll always have something to complain about and will do so without giving a thought to how it might affect someone. People suck in particular because most often their attitude is one of ‘She/He is only a child, what’ll they understand?’. Children are individuals in their own right and they need to be looked after. It’s a social responsibility really!

    I’ve been battling comments about my skinniness for all my life and I’m sick and tired of it. I want to cause physical harm to everyone who thinks it’s okay to comment about my frame.

    Buzz has you looking out for her, she’ll be okay. There’s nothing scarier for pesky people than a protective mother. Kids learn from mothers after all and your repeatedly saying there is nothing wrong with dark skin should help her grow into a confident girl who will conquer everything she sets her sights on 🙂

    ‘Scuse the sermon!

    1. I hate it when people say ‘What does a child understand’. I understood. I was hurt. It affected a lot of my growing up years..

      I agree people have no right to comment on other people physical appearance. Tall, skinny, fat, short, fair, dark. I don’t understand why we are so obsessed with others and not looking within at our flaws.

      Buzz has me, but more than that she’s got her Paa..D does not take any crap laying down 🙂 Buzz has two very strong people to learn from.. 🙂

  13. Don’t hide her, teach her to love the colour of her skin no matter what it turns out. Each one can find something to be unhappy about….weight, pimples, hair on the face, the works.

    And remember hon, no one can make you feel unworthy without your permission.

    love and hugs.

    1. My parents did their best..they were just caught unaware..I will not be..
      I am going to make her strong..

      I was too young to handle all of this when it started..now I don’t let any of it affect me..and I am going to try and make Buzz the same way..

  14. Hi Comfy…was lurky around ur blog for the first time and couldn’t help but comment on this one!

    Took me back to a time when my tiny 6 year old cousin was asked by her 70+ grand aunt – “why is ur mom so fair and u so dark?”

    i must have been a teenager then and i remember for the first time being aware of skin colour and realizing that hell my mom too was fairer than me…and wondering if that was a problem!!!

    My mom did a wonderful job of always assuring me that i had a very nice colour – not fair/not dark and i think i grew up pretty confident…Trust me Buzz is gonna trust ur word in her formative years and thats what’s gonna matter…

    However u could learn k’boxing and try it on the “colour commenters”

    1. I can hold my on now Nuttie..and I plan to teach Buzz the same..

      It’s just sad when people say that to such young kids.. 6 year old in your cousin’s case..how is a 6 year old to react to a comment like that??

      Thanks for stopping by.. 🙂

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