Specks of Dust

Specks of dust
Dancing in the moonlight
Not a care in the world

Specks of dust
Full of zeal
Now, it’s their time

They twist and turn
Their petite selves
Beautiful and abstract

Specks of dust
Evaded through the day
Disregarded everywhere

All they needed
Was a little light
To shine

Brown Beauty

We make up a nation of people obsessed with fairness. In 2012, reportedly 233 tonnes of skin-lightening products were bought in India. And the number seems to be on the rise. Being fair is equated to being beautiful. We all do it, even if we do it unknowingly.
We do it as parents, when we comment on how dark someone is in front of our kids. We do it when we tell little kids they’re becoming darker, and laugh at the horrified face they make. They learn from us. We do it as friends when we tell each other how much we’ve tanned, and start spilling out a list of easy home remedies for skin-lightening. We do it when we compliment people on how fair they look. We do it when we make faces at dark skinned people wearing a shade that doesn’t complement their skin tone. We do it when we ask our sons to find a fair-skinned wife. We do it when we don’t shame advertisements that tell us we can only get a good job, or get married if we’re fair. We do it every day.

This is 2015. We have made progress in a lot of fields, this not being one of them. Not long ago, only girls used to bear the brunt of this uncanny obsession. But now, we have gender equality at its best, with the earlier ‘tall dark and handsome’ image being overshadowed by lightening creams for men. And we have ‘progressed’ towards a time when being called dusky, is seen as an insult.

Dusky

I’m going to modify one of my favorite quotes by J.K. Rowling, because it is just as apt here.

“Is ‘dark’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘dark’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me.”

If you’re reading this post, stop telling your kids how fair someone is. Stop putting up matrimonial advertisements looking for a ‘fair’ bride. Stop responding to such advertisements.

If you’re reading this post, stop discussing how dark-skinned someone is. Stop saying how you dream of getting married to a ‘fair, good-looking guy’. Stop telling your friends what they can use to get a fairer skin. Tell them they don’t need to.

If you’re out there, reading this post, just know that you are beautiful. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, brown, black, or even blue (how can I leave out Smurfette?); You are PERFECT, and never let anyone tell you otherwise. Your skin color is not indicative of how smart, kind, generous and pretty you are. Don’t be blinded by silly advertisements. Don’t ever feel you’re not beautiful enough, because you are. You are more than enough. You don’t need a product to look pretty. Wear your confidence. Wear a smile. Be comfortable in your own skin.

Another festival to celebrate patriarchy?

As a child, I was always fascinated by Rakshabandhan, mostly because of the way it was depicted in advertisements and movies; and gifts! Who doesn’t love gifts? Growing up, my views began to change, as I understood the full implication of the festival.

For those of you who don’t know what Rakhabandhan is, I’ll save Google the trouble. It is a Hindu festival which celebrates the brother-sister relationship. This, is a good thing. A relationship as beautiful as this deserves to be celebrated. But, there’s more to it. The sister, by tying a thread, the Rakhi, around her brother’s wrist, expresses her love for him and wishes his well-being, and the brother, in return, vows to protect his sister under all circumstances. Now this is the part I find a little sexist. Before you start feeling aghast and expressing your hatred towards me, think about it.
For the sake of argument, let’s say I have a 3-year-old brother. How is he supposed to protect me? Shouldn’t I be the one vowing to take care of him? Now if I do have an elder brother, am I not capable of taking care of myself? Isn’t this, subconsciously, acceptance of the fact that I need a male figure in my life to take care me? And does the brother really need her sister to tie Rakhi on his wrist to know that she loves him? Isn’t that evident in all little things she does for him? When he hurt himself, and his sister rushed outside, wasn’t she expressing her love? When his sister stood up for him, in front of his parents or friends, wasn’t SHE the one protecting him?
I don’t have a brother, so my younger sister and I tie Rakhi to each other. I really respect this tradition in my family. It acknowledges the fact that as a sister, I can take care of my sister, and my sister is capable of taking care of me. Why isn’t this the norm in all families? Why don’t siblings tie Rakhi to each other to signify that they will BOTH take care of the other under all circumstances?

For a long time, I feared I was the only person who felt this way. But am I really?

Blank Pages

Isn’t it amusing
How a blank page
Holds endless stories
Within its being
The unending possibilities
Widows and orphans
Prose and poetry
Hidden underneath
A blanket of colors
Waiting till someone
Draws one out
And gives it life
As the rest venture
Into new homes
Waiting beneath the surface
To be born
So they can breathe life
Into another being

All the blank pages
With untold words
Dancing beneath the horizon