I Hate My Fair Skin, It Makes Me Awkward

Chandni Varma Chandni Varma in Bakkar. Chai. Sutta on 23 April, 2017

I don't need to bring to anyone's notice the debate over fairness creams in the market. I admire actor Abhay Deol for bringing to the forefront this underlying issue.

But I feel rather depressed when only the people with wheatish to dusky skin tone are the ones who stand up and speak for others similar to them. I cannot think of a single fair person in the film fraternity who has stood up against this racism.

I belong to a small middle class family from a small town and have always believed in working hard for everything in life. Let me also state here that I am very fair. Please do not assume that I am trying to boast. You will see the significance later. I work in one of India's biggest Aviation Training Institutes as a Grooming and Aviation Instructor.


Before this I was a cabin crew with one of India's best Airlines and I always feel very proud of having that experience. Why is all this important? As a trainee cabin crew, I had people in my batch from every part of India. Again I was the fairest in my batch. My first trainee flight, I was assigned to a senior cabin crew, one of the prettiest ladies with a beautiful dusky complexion. Of course she was not the first or the last of them. What I am trying to say is what many have said and heard a million times- that skin tone does not define beauty or your character.

I have always been on the opposite side of the fence because of my complexion, I inherited it so I didn't ask for it. Most people around me are not as fair as me and instead of feeling proud of it, I feel very awkward. Not when I am with my family and friends but when I am at a new place.

I have been asked numerous funny questions as to what I do for being so fair, like do I bathe in milk or apply honey, to being safedi ki chamkar and a vampire. I choose to look at the funny side of all this but I wish it was not the skin tone one notices you for but for who you are. Most places I go, I am asked where I am from and if I am an Indian.

My students always ask me as to what they can do for a fairer complexion and my reasoning with them fails miserably because of our conditioning for hundreds of years that fair skin is better and more superior than dusky. 

I do understand this obsession with fair complexion because I have seen how affected the young minds are because of irresponsible advertising that lays stress on these kinds of misconceptions rather than helping shape the young minds to be confident in themselves. But learning starts from our homes, and it is also the parents' responsibility and those around us not to define children and others around us on the basis of their colour.

That is just an illusion and I can't believe some of our very prominent film stars are endorsing these products. If fairness means success and beauty, then our understanding of both these concepts is tragically flawed. 

Nandita das 748111 

I am in my early 30's, however, I love the beauty of simplicity of the older times as compared to the "more is better" concept these days. Shabana Azmi ji, a beautiful and intelligent lady who takes a stand for things that matter in life, Smita Patil, Deepti Naval and in the more recent times Nandita Das to name a few such beauties who are doing amazing work. Their success is not because of their complexion, but because of their hard work. We have to get over this obsession and focus more on our own talents and improving upon our own uniqueness.

Dark skin is not a sign of impurity and low character neither is fair skin a sign of pure and of righteous character. Stop looking at people as things that can be classified according to their colour and start appreciating them as individuals for their abilities. 
Editor's Note:

Share this story to put an end to this debate and to encourage more and more people, regardless of their complexion, to talk about this issue.