This blog is all about me, my views. The only room until today for anyone to express themselves is in the comments section. But here is an exception.
A dear friend and one of the finest people in the tech circles that I move around in is Mr Vivek K & here is a gem from V!
My experiments with Colors.
Life ain’t fair. Neither am I. On numerous occasions in the past 23 years, I have reminded myself of this statement. I am 23 years old. I have lived in Jaipur,Delhi,Mumbai and Pune. I belong to a middle class family. I am studying pure sciences. I am working in technology startup. I have a great social circle. I am also a LEO. And yes, I have a “fairly” dark complexion. The last line adds a pinch of black to the entire picture. I say it form my experiences, that the world has 2 kinds of people – The Dark one’s (like me)– and the not so dark one’s.- This includes the whites (all shades), the browns, wheatish, and my lighter shades. It’s a different world altogether when looked from the eyes of a black skinned person. I will share some of my experiences – some good, some bad.
Considering that my grandfather is no more, I am probably the darkest soul in my family – both Paternal and Maternal, when it comes to color. I studied in 4 schools- Adarsh Vidya Mandir – Sirohi, St Paul School – Sirohi, Seedling Public School – Jaipur and Maheshwari Public School, Jaipur – and without fail I was the darkest student in all the classes. So the TAG – blacky came naturally to me. I have collected some very funny names all this while. Here are some of my favorites – Invisible After Sunlight (IAS), Kallu (klue,callu,klu), Kalia (I wish I was born in the Pre Sholay Era), Nigger, Nigero, Nigga, African, kalz, kalua. Lara and Black Mamba are the latest addition to the list.
It was probably in 3rd standard I had my last fight with a guy who was 10 may be 15 “shades lighter than me” regarding one of those above names. I had almost killed him. I gave up after that. I realized that I was no hulk who could beat them all or Abraham Lincoln/Nelson Mandela who could not teach the world a lesson about Racism. I decided to give up – Give up on every single remark ever made about my complexion. (The world complexion sounds very “Britsh but – The place where I belong to, people like calling it Color. It sounds even better in when called “Rang”. )
I don’t know if I should blame my color – or the color of the fairer breed or the era when I was a student or Sholay or may be the city where I lived – I could never gather the confidence to go on stage. The only memory I have of going on stage was for a fancy dress competition where I was dressed as a joker – yes they painted me all white. The only time I ever went on stage after that was on my 16th Birthday because all the birthday boys (I did my +2 from a boys school) were given a Birthday Card on stage.
Along with my color came the limited range of colors I could choose to pick my clothes. 3 shades of blue, 2 shades of green and anything that is Grey, yes that’s all you would find in my cup board. For me the color palette was always limited to Grey- Green-Blue. I always use to wonder why the costume designer in Telgu Films got orange shirts and red pants designed – Was he genuinely serious? Or did we miss the humor?
At this point I would like to introduce my family. Since I am the darkest one in my family, the entire family tried every possible fairness cream – Fair and Lovely, Garnier, Ponds, The_Cream_From_Dubai, even Amway. By the time I reached 8th standard, I revolted. Then came the desi products – Besan, Multani Mitti. But as you can see, nothing literally nothing seemed to work on me. My family gave up against God’s wish of maintaining my dark color. Though the odd phone calls and advice about the_new_cream_of_vaseline come in till date. I could sense that their concern for my skin getting a shade or two lighter was absolutely valid – They probably believed that even if hell would break loose no “fair” bride would accept a black groom. At the age of 13 there is very little that I could do. I retained my stand. Actually, I had no options.
By this time I had my first crush in school. It took me over 10 years to confess it to her. Back in 8th, I had assumed that black guys are destined to die single. Who in this world would fall for a black guy leave apart marrying him? My faith in my assumption was so strong that the thought of talking to the girl never crossed my mind. Though the circle I hanged out with had a lot of girls but I believe they were all friends with me because they thought I was “too safe”. Around the same time a cousin of mine introduced me to Sidney Sheldon. I picked up on reading. After reading 3 of those novels and confirming with my cousin I had assured myself that the jargon – Tall Dark and Handsome was a valid term and had no sarcasm attached. Though I continued to be skeptical about its validity in city I was living.
I was academically superior than a lot of my batch mates – probably that was the reason people did have some respect for me. Or wait it might have been pity also – You never know. As my school came to an end – thanks to everything around me – events, people, friends and family and my color – I had developed a shell around myself . The world I lived in had very few people – handpicked people who never thought twice before talking to a black guy. My color and not my potential had decided limits for me.
Life moved on but my color did not. Probably I was enjoying being black – it added an element of distinctness to me. I could be identified with ease in a crowd. While this feature at times can be quiet helpful, it can prove to be detrimental at times. For instance in a class of 150 students – the professor would be able to recall your face distinctly and can ask you awkward questions during the exam -” I didn’t see you after the first week of the semester, where have you been ?” For most of my friends, I invented “Black Humor”. Now I believe that I did. With college almost coming to an end, I don’t think I have to take more of this. I want to believe that my color is behind me but something inside tells me that the worst is yet to come. I have always had these questions intriguing me –
Why is black equivalent to being dangerous/bad/ugly ?
Why would they sit next to the white guy on the bus even if seat next to me is empty ?
Is having a dark complexion such a taboo ?
What is it with the fair skin that attracts all of you ?
Why do people frown when they see me with a fairer girl ?
Why can’t you love the dusky girl in your class but keep stating at bipasha basu’s wallpaper ?
By the way, the date on my computer screen is 15th Aug. Are we really free ?
We live in a country obsessed with Fair Color. The fairness and beauty product market as trends have it is close to 2500 CRORES. These are times when Sharukh Khan wants to get fairer by using fair and handsome, John Abraham needs Garnier Fairness Cream to impress a dusky beauty and Shahid Kapoor spends one minute on his Fairness. (CAN YOU BEAT THAT – ONE ENTIRE MINUTE !! ). We also live in times when every girl in the US wants to meet the tall, dark and handsome OLD Spice Man. Quiet an interesting era -isn’t it ?