What are we? ~ Ravneet Sangha

India is a bundle, call it a huge fire ass bundle in a hurry to embrace all that is there in the world. We are a young, dynamic country that has been unleashed with its complete potential to the world, and then we have an ugly side where the old are not being looked after, the younger generation has forgotten its values, the ethics that made it. Yes, we all doth protest too much but all of us are guilty. Words that were our identities, keywords like ethics, moral values, compassion, empathy, tolerance for others seem to be lost in Webster’s. You know the compulsory Wren and Martin we all had to carry; the iconic red one; sadly like all things its become a pdf.

I wonder when did all things get so hurried. Stand at the bus stand, everyone, each one of us is glued to the screen. It’s like as if there is an hour there enticing all of us to its whims. There is no regard to what is happening around you… You could be standing next to a cow grazing away to infinity, next to garbage but you’d be Snapchatting yourself with new filters oblivious to the old person standing next to you; to whom you could extend a helping hand. We’ve become a nation so obsessed about ourselves, the image projected that everything is catered to that image, we have influencers now, the new age gurus, social, religious, the personal trainers who guide us and mould us. You know how much the pressure is now on the next generation. How to be, how to look, how to embrace yourself, to be the new you, to accept, to find self-love to sculpt, contour, chisel, highlight, bronze.

The list goes on forever. I was at the store buying essentials and two ladies were trying to find the right body powder to slather on their arms to conceal the tan. I was eavesdropping, it was so intriguing that they wanted to cover their arms with a luminescent body powder to conceal and look fair.

This obsession isn’t going away any time soon.

We all desire to look beautiful and appealing, I agree but when this obsession grows beyond reason than its a problem. Men and women, children everyone gets sucked into this. I have young girls who come in the evening for classes and they will ask me after class; whether there was any tube available for them to become fairer.They all wanted to be white and not understanding that they all were beautiful in their skin.

Colonial hangover, obsession with being fair and white is what makes all of them always try new things to look fairer. Is it our media, is it the YouTube explosion that will tell you of thousands of ways to be white using products. No one asks for a dark-skinned bride, they all want a fair one.

We had guests over from the USA, and I had sent some vegetables over and she said how come albino brinjals? She said we were taking the fairness complex a bit too far!

The largest rising sector which is flourishing is cosmetology. WE are a nation in a hurry to embrace being white, trying to get rid of the pigment that makes us. Every day, I hear and read about Botox fillers, jaw augmentation, cheeks being made sharp, the colour being lightened and faces, stomachs, breasts, hips, everything being brought under the scalpel to look perfect.

This affliction is a disease. It is sad that every day I try to make my girls stronger and confident to face the world but I fail every day as they all want to be as fair as Alia or Kareena and look like them. They say, Ma’am, you don’t know how much we are teased for our colour and also for our caste.

How does one fight all this? You want me to worry about the climate or the weather or politics, they are still worried that they aren’t good enough. And all thanks to the stigma attached to the colour. Even when Krishna was dark, it still hasn’t changed centuries of stigma caused by segregation of colour.

When God doesn’t instil confidence, as we are mere mortals, the battle continues.