I had a new experience with the infamous fair skin fixation that has taken the whole country in its wing. I have blogged previously about how being fair is still considered a big deal in our society. So much so, that unknowingly, we are breeding kids with the same mindset. A little conversation with my super cute little niece made me realize the impact that things around can have on small kids and in more instances than one, grows in them with their age.
Last week we had our niece at home for some days. Let’s rechristen her as “Cutie” here. She is just 5 but speaks gallons and is the naughtiest child I have ever encountered. She is way too smart and active for her age, much to the dismay of her mother. Many times she is a spoilsport and a great hindrance in the gossiping sessions between her mom and me. We have to take care about what we speak and act, because she generally apes us some other day and leaves us embarrassed and in fits of laughter.
During one such conversation with the sister in law, I came to know that even at such a young age the Cutie is partial to complexions. Apparently, she desists the ones with dark complexions. So much that she doesn’t even make friends with them. She plays and is cordial with a maid who is wheatish but does not even acknowledge the one who is dark! The sister in law was petrified and didn’t know how to make her understand. She couldn’t even figure out about how did such a mindset got placed in her head at such a young age. She started associating negativity with the dark complexion, just as our fairness cream advertisers do!
I was appalled at her biasness, how much ever tiny she is! Now this is something, I wanted her to get rid of from her brain and thought to give a try to shift her focus from complexions. I am not really great at reciting conversations, but this one was amusing nonetheless. It goes something like this:
Me: Baby you like milk or chocolate?
She: *rolling eyes*What sort of question is this? Who likes Milk?? It is something mom forces me to have. I Love Chocolates. Have any?
Me: Oh! I thought you like milk more, so God has given you that color.
She: *confused* Means?
Me : Means God gives different colors to different people according to their likes. I love chocolate so He has given me dairy milk color, Radha Bai (the maid) loves dark chocolate, so He has given her Bournville Color and your Mom loves milk so she has that color.
She: But my friend says, fair people are lucky and pretty than the darker ones. I did not know about this chocolate thing.
Me: Who told so? Next time anyone says something like this, tell her that even the God you pray (Shri Krishna) is very beautiful inspite of being a darker shade. And perhaps chocolate is His favorite too!!!
She thoughtfully considers my theory. After sometime she comes and rubs her cheeks with mine. I ask her what she is up to.
She: I hate milk. Please give me some of your chocolate color. Please please. I promise to be good. I promise to play with Radha Bai even. May be only then mommy will stop forcing me to have milk and give me chocolates instead!
On this, the house bursts outs laughing, and sis-in-law is in a happier space. She nods gratefully, with the hope that Cutie believes this theory atleast until the time she understands more about complexions and also that Dark is Beautiful.