“I am the youngest of my three sisters. I am also the one with the darkest complexion. Even as a child, I could sense, although not understand, the preference given to fairer skin. As a grown-up, I now have the vocabulary to understand and express how society catalogues characteristics into beautiful and ugly, cultured and boorish, and right and wrong. However, as a young girl, all I could do was wonder why I was not born with a fair skin tone. I often approached my mother for answers. Her answers varied from silent ignoring of my questions to telling me I was my father’s girl with his complexion. These answers made me feel smaller. I knew that the complexion based discrimination I saw all around me was wrong, and this knowledge kept digging a deep hole within me.
In the middle of this unsaid but established trend of fair being better, came the Unfair and Lovely Campaign. Watching Nandita Das say, ‘stay unfair, stay beautiful’ was the shot in the arm I needed. I realized how unjust I was being to myself and to others like me. I grew up and realised that beauty is personal. There can be no absolute parameters for it.
I fell in love with myself. I was able to look at myself and smile, and feel confident and happy. Recently, someone mocked my complexion by comparing me to black cloth. I just laughed. It did not matter to me. Had this incident taken place six-seven years ago, I would be teary eyed and badly hurt.“