Up to class XII, I was of the opinion that I wasn’t good looking enough. At the time I equated beauty with fairness. My mother’s complexion was fairer than mine, so I thought that I was dark or dusky. I was of the opinion that I wasn’t getting to date the girls I would’ve liked to because I was dark and therefore, not good-looking enough. On top of that, the most popular boys in school were the ones who were fair. So I figured that if I wanted to be as popular, I needed to be fair too.
To compensate for my complexion I drove myself to do as much as possible. I did well in studies, tried to cultivate a charming personality and took up extra-curricular activities such as singing. All of this effort was to make up for the fact that I wasn’t fair enough. I joked around, I communicated well, I was jovial and people started liking me. Soon enough, I was popular too – just not because of my complexion.
All of this changed when I went to college. My school was in a small town where fairness was the factor to be considered when judging someone’s looks and attractiveness. But college was in the big city. Everything here was different. Forget fairness, your looks were just one of the many factors that people around you would consider. It opened my eyes and I realized how truly trivial the whole fairness issue is.
Today, when I look back there is one thing I would like to change. Others may say that I don’t have any regrets. I call bullshit. I would love to change my school days. I did well but my motivations were so messed up. I was trying to prove something to someone and now I don’t really care about what people have to say. I made comparisons that were harmful to me and that weren’t even really valid.
Fairness has been an issue in the country for a long time. Women generally bear the brunt of it, but, at least they have the recourse of being able to apply creams and make-up openly to conceal it. Men, on the other hand, can’t do so without having to hide it. There is this attitude that to use such products is unmanly.
When I was in school, I used to apply the fairness cream popular at the time but I was afraid that people would find out I was wearing a cream. Later, fairness creams for men also came into the picture and I started using it. The secrecy, however, continued. I didn’t want people to find out that I was using any kind of a cream.
Today, I have no such issues. My skin is extremely dry and I’m an outdoor kind of person. I like going to beaches and places like that. As such, my skin tends to crack and so I use a moisturizer or even multani mitti to restore its health. I’ve even taken tips on skin care from a colleague of mine who is also dark-skinned.