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Photo taken at Plitvice National Park, Croatia by Vibhor Dhote Oh! What are these days I have found myself in! The bagpacks I carry n...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

You're Beautiful

"Dark is Beautiful, Fair is Pretty"

“I used to be so fair,” I often find myself complaining looking at my image in the mirror. Indeed I used to be fairer and the polluted city and the scorching sun played its role to turn me a few shades darker. Yet it escapes my mind to burden myself with umbrellas and scarves whenever I go out.

But that’s not the point here, neither my skin-tone nor my looks.

It was when I was a young teenager when one of my seniors in school had quoted, in midst of a discussion about people, that she doesn’t like to touch or talk to people who are darker than her. We (including her) are Indians and skin color does vary here and to find someone darker than you is a cake-walk. But how can you avoid talking to a person just because he is darker than you. Not to forget that even she isn’t the fairest of all and she would easily find people for whom she was darker. How would she feel if they treated her the same way?

I kept quite then; I was, after all, a junior.

Years have passed and that conversation seems fatuous now. I am sure even she must have grown up now to think otherwise.

But it seems like not all people have. We, Indians, seem to be obsessed with skin-tones. When one searches for a bride, her complexion becomes one of the crucial factors in the to-be-groom’s decision making.
I remember one of my neighbours being rejected because she was “too dark” (another woman got rejected for being “too fat” but that’s a different story now to be discussed some other day :-P).

Of course it may be difficult to not at all give importance to looks if it’s the first time you’re meeting someone. Having said that, I am sure when the person you’re meeting opens their mouth and you get to know them, nothing else matters.

But then they seem to have defined beauty: If she’s fair, she’s pretty. And often have men sought fair women and sometimes even women have sought fair men. Not to forget the variety of products sold to turn men and women into their fairer selves.

And then came a campaign, trying to defend the belief that Indians prefer fair women, quoting “dark is beautiful.” I wonder was it really necessary to begin such a campaign to boost up the spirits of dark women while actually confirming the belief that prior to this fair was considered beautiful. But then that may be the truth anyway among some people who find beauty in skin complexions and not in behavior or perceptions.
But I personally will not want to be part of this campaign. I believe giving in to such campaigns would further clarify the blurred fact that we give importance to skin-tones of people; as if nothing else does.

How does it matter if someone is fair or dark? Beauty is from the inside; it is in the eyes of the beholder, it always is. No wonder we find our friends beautiful because we love them. And no matter how fair or dark someone we dislike is, our hearts may not be able to consider them beautiful.

I have seen people being jealous of someone else’s complexion and I have seen people complain how the girl they hate dabs a lot of make-up on her face. And then how does it matter if someone puts excessive make-up and someone doesn’t? It doesn’t define a person’s inside; it just defines someone’s likes or dislikes.


No wonder everyone wants to look good, but what I believe is that you look good when you feel good; and you feel good when you smile. Not the artificial smile when you pose for the camera, but the one that flashes on your face when you see someone you like, when you talk of something good, and when good thoughts are in your mind.