Jun 30, 2014

You are not your skin-color!

Black Dolls, White Dolls : Every Doll Is Beautiful

We often confine beauty to outer appearances, especially complexion. Here is one of my post originally published on Women's Web, that talks about why each one of us is beautiful in our own way, and we must love ourselves!

Last week, when I went to buy a doll for my daughter, one thing that caught my attention was that all the dolls were fair skinned! It left me with a question that has haunted me numerous times. What is it with the colour of the skin that overpowers one’s heart like gold or conscience as clear as water? Why this bias in our society that lets us knowingly or subconsciously make a judgement or opinion about a person with dark skin-tone?

The desire to have a ‘gori bahu’ (fair-skinned daughter-in-law) is not uncommon. How many times have we heard in our families “you know, Malati (XYZ) is so beautiful, she is fair” ? How many times have we found ourselves appreciating someone’s beauty just because of their fair skin colour? We are all a part of this system, the scale does not matter. 
How many times have we found ourselves appreciating someone's beauty just because of their fair skin colour?
 Then there comes the media! Media – isn’t it supposed to be the mirror of society and at the same time, aid in enlightening the community about its evils and fallacies? Look at our age-old and famous Fair and Lovely cream. It is the leading skin-whitening cream for women in India. Back in 2007, its television advertisements were stopped owing to their propagating the message “white is beautiful”.
Before the ads were stopped, how many innocent hearts were influenced? How many dreams to become fairer and more successful, shattered? Can we give a thought – why did this happen and is this over now? The reasons are simple – our beliefs, thought-process, peer-pressure, inferiority complex and many similar ones. Just imagine, how pathetic and heart-wrenching  would it feel to be uncomfortable in your skin!
How pathetic and heart-wrenching would it feel to be uncomfortable in your skin!
One of the most surprising facts I learnt living outside India, now for almost 10 years, is that black is not always beautiful everywhere. Yes, you read it right!
Clark couple (Kenneth Clark and Mamie Clark) were psychologists of African-American origin. They are famous for their “Dolls experiment”. This was conducted in the 1940s to study how black children felt about their race, esp. their colour. They started with two white and two brown dolls. Children were asked questions like which is a doll they would like to play with/a doll which is nice/which is a bad doll.
It was found that a majority of children rejected the dark (black or brown) doll. When they were asked which was a doll that was like them, the children chose the rejected dolls. Some didn’t answer or just left the room. How traumatic! Such low self-esteem in children; where will it take them? Will they ever be able to get out of this thought-process?
Today, we are dealing with inhumane behaviour towards girls. There are no answers about safety. We have to start changing our attitude towards a lot of things – be it physical strength of women or their mental power. We have to start with self-love.
Love thyself. These are a few points which we, as women, cannot miss:
  • You are not your skin colour or the fat you have on your skeleton! You are not born for the body. The body is the chariot and your soul, the charioteer. Be guided to success and happiness.
  • Accept yourself for what you are and what you can achieve with your hard-work, knowledge, and passion.
  • Charity begins at home and change starts with self. Do not wait till society changes its perception about you. Question- do you like yourself? If not, why? What is it that you have yet to achieve that will make you feel confident? Who stops you? Break the shackles of your mind and liberate yourself !
  • Do not copy. God made you original, why to try to be like someone else?
  • Be kind and peaceful. These are virtues that will make you strong to tackle any battle life throws at you.

Jun 28, 2014


एक दिन जब ढूँढ़ना चाहोगे मुझे 
उस दिन जब नहीं मिलूँगी मैं 
अपनी मेज़ पर काम करते,
या रसोई में सब्जी काटते 
या फिर बिस्तर की तह भी ठीक करते ना मिल पाऊँ। 

नहीं मिल पाऊँ जब दीनों-दुनिया की
खातिर मुस्कुराते-बात करते 
या फिर दौड़ते-भागते इस काया को 
चुस्त रखने की आस में,
नहीं मिल पाऊँ जब हमारे घर के 
कोने-कोने में,
मोहल्ले के पार्क में बच्चों को 
खेलती देख भी जब ना मिलूँ। 

उस दिन समझ जाना 
मेरा सर्वस्व अब नहीं रहा तुम्हारे नाम का 
मैं डूब गयी कतरा-कतरा अपने 
उसमें जिसे चाहा मैंने रूह से

उस दिन समझ जाना 
पा लिया मैंने स्वयं को 
मैं विलीन हो गयी अपने शब्दों में!

Image Courtesy: (Google) Underwater painting by Californian artist Erika Craig

Jun 26, 2014

Where do I belong?

Do I belong
In your arms
In the solace of my being?

Hard to answer
Easy at first may seem,
Outside the window
The trees stand naked
I wonder if they knew
The greens gonna betray them?

Life's a jungle
Dense, dark and cold
You don't stand unique
For life to rain dark clouds on
I wonder every now & then
I ask a valid question?

Harsh to predict
How innocuous that may look,
In the lines of her hand
She scratches a name
I wonder if she knew
The henna colors-on or the future bleeds?

Where do I belong?
Immaterial, trivial senseless-
A question it may seem
Itched in the numerous moments
Your name & my being
Aren't they one?

Endless trials to find
The answer
Yet standing empty-handed
With a heart hollow of love
I decide to take matters
In my custody and I leave with a note-
"I quit!"

Image Courtesy: Google Images
This poem was originally published in my article on Women's Web, 'When a Note Ends a Marriage', which can be read here- http://www.womensweb.in/2014/05/end-a-marriage/