I Am Thin, Dark (And Against Racism.)

Being a skinny and dark complexioned person, I have been getting different types of comments since childhood. I am sure many of you must have read posts relating to this topic. But I have to write about it because I have survived through constant nagging and have got some extra points here about which many of you wouldn’t know. Besides, I must say, this kind of thing is very very common in this part of the country.
People who are stout crave to become slim. What many people don’t know is that, there are thin people who crave to put on some weight. The other day, my sister and I were saying how lucky we were. We could eat anything in any amount and not grow fat. But there are some sadists around me who keep pointing out that I am ‘unfortunate’ to be thin (and dark complexioned). Well, mostly, they are called relatives! So invariably, after every family get together, I reach home dead depressed about how ugly I look. But soon, I am back to being happy about myself again. Hmm… where do I begin?  😛

Let us start with the complexion part;

1. Black cat: The term has an entirely different meaning and I am not a cat. Even my hair doesn’t qualify as black and there is a lot of difference between my skin color and hair color. So the term doesn’t make any sense to me. At school, I used to get it often anyway.

Hey! Thats my name!!

2. Dark=Ugly: At school, children must be educated about racism and how wrong it is. I never had any friends because of my complexion. I was never included in dance teams. I was the last person they wanted in their group activities. I love dancing! On my birthday, if I didn’t have extra chocolates to give to the class bullies, I was called ‘Ugly’ by the entire class. The power of the bully. And disadvantage of being dark colored. Dark=Ugly was the concept.
Image courtesy: Huffington post
3. Farfetched comments: The comment haunts me even now. My family are lot fair complexioned than me. In my 12th class, I showed a family picture to my classmates. I always got the, ‘Why do you alone look dark?’ question. I was made that way. In my family, I am similar to a dark complexioned cousin whose family is fair too. So guess the answer is, we have some extra melanin.
But I was dumbstruck when I was asked, ‘Your family looks like Gods and why do you look like you have been picked up from the dustbin?’ *laughter*. I just smiled. It was very hard.
4. It doesn’t suit her:  My music teacher had got similar color dresses stitched for the entire group. We all wore it and she was looking at each of us. When she saw me, she said, ‘I don’t get it. The dress suits everybody. I don’t know why it doesn’t suit her.’ I avoided all the faces around me.
5. Why do you look like this?: There is one relative of mine who keeps bugging me whenever she sees me. I had made a reference to her in this post. She looks at me like the lowliest of creatures and tells, ‘Why are you like this? Why don’t you eat anything? You and your sister wears the same size clothes? Have you any shame?’ and that goes on.
Really? We are glad we could exchange our wardrobes!It means extra clothes! 😀
6. Choose your colors wisely: I hear this often and think, *I pick the colors I love!*
7. Don’t fly away: Hey! Hold onto a pole. The wind is strong. You may fly away.
*10th century joke. Got anything new?*
8. Can you smile? I can’t see you: Can you get lost? I can’t bear your non-sense.
Image courtesy: cyborganthropology.com

9. I have become dark: Well, fair people who seem a bit tanned tell me this. 😀 What do they expect me to answer?
‘Ohh that’s sad!?’ :O The irony of it!
10. She’s beautiful, but dark: When someone tells me this, about another person, I can’t help but think, *You schmuck! I am dark and I hate when you use ‘but’ before it. Get your racist mind straightened out first.*
11. Invisible treatment: My sister and I walk into a gathering of mom’s colleagues and people come to my sister, ‘Hey! Are you the elder daughter doing CA?’
My sis: ‘Er… no I am the younger one. She is my elder sister.’
‘Oh Hello’, a mere acknowledgement, a nod and I’m deemed invisible. Mom’s friends who know me since I was a child, come, talk to me and treat me as a person. Else, I get this treatment. Well, it is way better than a family gathering. Atleast, I am not criticised based on my looks.

Now for the thin part;

12. Comments on photos: Relatives don’t spare me on FB either. ‘You have to wear longer sleeves so you look a bit fat.’
I don’t want to look fat.

13. You have become thin: The same person sees me every 2 months and says, ‘What happened to you? You have become thin.’ or ‘You have become darker’. Trust me, if every time they saw me, I had grown thinner or darker, I’d be INVISIBLE NOW! 😮
14. Eat this, eat that:
She:Eat curd  *I love it. In fact I have a cup of lassi whenever possible*
She: Eat vegetables *Avial is my favorite dish.*
She: Eat lots of food. 
My mom: She eats a lot.
She: No, she doesn’t.
* You haven’t even seen me eating you dumbhead!*
15. Eat Panchajeeraka gudam:
If you needed stupid treatments for nothing, I’d suggest you to go admit yourself in a mental hospital! I do not want products that promote racism!
16. The marriage proposal (Best for last): My aunt is bent on getting me married and kept searching for dark toned guys. I am not bothered about the complexion. But the fact that she spoke like I didn’t ‘deserve’ fair skinned partner, bothered me. They talk like it is a ‘privilege’ to marry fair skinned guys and I am ‘deprived’ of it.
I asked my mom, ‘Why does she search only for dark skinned guys? what if there is a fair skinned guy who is compatible with my character who doesn’t mind marrying a dark girl?’
The accusing reply the aunt gave was, ‘Well, she isn’t fair. So how can she expect to get a fair guy?’ 
I was dumbstruck listening to this madness. First of all, I wasn’t dying to get married. On top of it, I’m reprimanded for how I look!
I used to get really pissed off and depressed when I heard these comments. I ignored some, I brooded over some, few of them still haunt me. But all the same, I love myself. I grew to learn that there are people who would do anything to be like me. I met people who thought beyond the narrow-minded racist crap. Who told me I looked beautiful when I did. As long as I am away from my relatives, I don’t have to bother much about how I look. Probably, it is the medieval Indian mentality. When fairness creams and ayurvedic products bang the TV screens, what other idea should the TV addicted Indians get?
There is one request I would like to make. Insulting someone at the cost of their looks, may amuse you. They may laugh it off. But at one point or another, it affects them. It brings down their self confidence. Everyone need not get a lift like I did. You don’t have to flatter anyone unnecessarily. But think before passing any kind of racist comments. Even your ‘if’s and ‘but’s could make awry statements.

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  1. Prowling Raven

    I am fair as we Indians would like to speak of it; I even have green-gray eyes. But what about my daughter who has the blackest and mostes (sic) beautiful eyes I have seen. She is fair but darker than her mom — what will happen to her? Will she have to toe Priyanka Chopra’s ads for fair and lovely. Oh what about about some paling of the eyes?
    Very nice blog you have here and this is post I wanted to reblog, but did not did not find the button. If you want to please guest write at my Lectio Divina blog, young lady (I am old compared to you and like being older) , I’d be obliged. You have huge talent. God be with you and you be in the Brahman.

    1. Ranju

      The concern here is not the nosy people. It is to assure people that they are not what others judge them to be. This is the kind of education that must be taught in schools.
      Thank you ‘Prowling Raven’ for reblogging this. You did find the button. Regarding the guest writing, I’ll be drifting on and off through my blog. By the end of this month, my visits would reduce due to exams. Anyhow you could contact me on my mail id here ranjini.s22@gmail.com. We could work it out. 🙂

  2. Prowling Raven

    Reblogged this on Lectio Divina, or daily seeings and commented:
    This is one of the best articles I have read on our best kept national secret — congrats. I am blogging you. Great and incisive going. Thanks for sharing.

  3. kismet

    Just be happy ❤❤❤

  4. Preeti

    I’m sorry that people talk to you that way and I am so glad that you have not let their cruel words get you down..I’m naturally chubby (or so I would like to believe 🙂 ) and have had people make fun of me in different ways my whole life…but I’ve learnt to just ignore it most of the time…was good to read your heart-felt post.

    1. Ranju

      Thanks Preeti. Yes, there are certain things we ought to ignore. Sometimes it is difficult though. But I don’t understand what is there to make fun of chubby cheeks. I feel they are cute. 😀

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  6. pythoroshan

    Wow. This is a hard hitting post. I’m really sorry for all the cruel comments ( too many in there ) that people have thrown around casually under the guise of “meaning well” . You’re absolutely right, of course. They will look only at superficial things like colour and height and weight – key factors like compatibility, culture and personality will be totally ignored by such people..
    Don’t ever allow their words to let you doubt yourself or bring you down. Good Looks will fade away…a good personality is forever.

    1. Ranju

      Aw I wish they were sorry. Thanks for those words. Mostly in life, scars are made by one & healed by others. These experiences encourage me to cause less scars & more healings. I don’t know how succesful I’m in that.
      Anyway thanks for dropping by, reading & sharing your thoughts.

  7. Rakhesh

    Its all from your heart, and you might be having a feel that you just drained of all these words and comments received from the society which was flooded in your mind like a blocked drainage. Here onwards never let your mind to be filled with this kind of rubbishes. Those type of people will always seeing others with their eyes not with their Heart, they will see but not realize. But who bothers? keep on moving in your own way with your activities and your crazy likes then the world will come with you. Cheers!!!
    NB: In the begging of the story you connected racism with self experiences by great narration, but at the end only self experiences!!!

    1. Ranju

      Thanks Rakhesh for reading & for your kind words. I couldn’t call this much of a draining. Because, if it were that, the words would have been more spiteful & abusive. 😉 This post was to drive a point across. I did have my occassional draining mechanisms at home, Thank God!
      I will note the last point for future ref. Thanks for pointing that out. Good day! 🙂

  8. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder

    Just love this post of yours! My father has a complexion which people say like an Englishman…and me and my sister share our complexions with Baba(father). But my mom is dark…and I often heard people saying that she is so fortunate and must have done some good things in earlier life having husband and daughters who are fair-complexioned! …and frankly speaking each time I just wanted to give a tight slap to so called friends and relatives. For my mom is beautiful indeed…but people always tend to discriminate by our skin colours !! How idiotic 🙁
    Just leaving the link of one of my posts on the same topic which I wrote a couple of months back ( generally I don’t like leaving links in this way but can’t help it this time ) Hope you won’t mind 🙂

    1. Ranju

      That is so rude! I have heard such comments here too. when I go for marriages, if the bride is fair and the groom is dark, they say he is lucky to have a fair girl. And vice versa. I mean, had he been fair, would it make a difference apart from the skin color? People and their narrow mindedness.
      I’ll read your post def Maniparna 🙂 Thanks for your time. Do visit again.

  9. dilip

    Beautiful article and an eyeopener. Fortunately I have never ever been conscious of anyone’s colour of the skin. What I find most beautiful are the values a person possesses

    1. Ranju

      Thank you Dilip. 🙂 I’m glad that you think that way. Welcome to my blog. I’ll visit your blog during the weekend 🙂

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