Hello woman, are you fair, wheatish or dark?

“Do not wear purple. It makes you look dark,” so they told me.

But today, purple is my favorite color.

The above two lines sum up my journey.

Chocolate, caramel, honey, cinnamon, and wheat! I am not stating the ice-cream flavors, but shades of brown skins that prevail in India.

And I am wheatish or maybe somewhere in between honey and wheatish!

Wheatish, in India, refers to the people who are not fair. The word ‘fair’ is not be confused with righteousness, but fair in this context alludes to the skin tone that is multiple shades lighter than wheatish.

Shadeism or colorism, whatever name you give to this prejudice, it does not matter. The important fact is India’s obsession with fairness though not new is still quite prevalent. Parents and relatives of the girls with dark complexion are often consumed with the anxiety of finding a suitable groom, and inadvertently transfer their insecurities to the child.  The girl gets humiliated every time the society favors the light skinned.

No one deserves to get hurt for their color. No one! Period.
The big companies feed off these deep-rooted insecurities and blatantly promote their skin whitening products. They even rope in big celebrities who endorse the idea that becoming light skinned brings success in life!

We all know how superficial these claims are? Granted that because of the deep ingrained fundamental that ‘fair is beautiful,’ the light skinned people are favored by the unintelligent, but promoting the concept that fair skin alone can get you success is preposterous.

Get over it people!

The Matrimonial advertisements in the Indian newspapers further aggrandize the fair color. A typical ad for ‘brides wanted’ reads, ‘Wanted a fair, slim, beautiful and convent educated girl for our son.’ Any sane person would know that for a marriage to be successful you need a connection at the emotional level and not at the skin gradient level.

Bollywood Cinema that prefers to star milky white complexion women does little to abate this unfair bias towards white complexion.

I do see the light at the end of the tunnel, though, with movements like ‘Dark is beautiful’ (http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/india-obsessed-white-skin-actress-article-1.1498783). There is a gradual shift in the mentality, and the new generations are not deeply prejudiced by the skin color driven beauty meter. But something that has been part of the society for decades would take years to change, and cliché as it may sound, ‘the change begins with us.’

This month of March is especial!  Women’s history month, Woman’s day all fall in March. What better way to celebrate than to appreciate the beauty in each one of us-

' I am beautiful NOT like YOU... I am beautiful like ME.'

(This was posted by one of my friends on social media, and it strikes a perfect chord with this article.)

Photo credit: Sidpicky via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: Rajesh_India via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND



Men and Women are wired differently

Men are from Mars…errr I mean from monosyllable planet! Isn’t it why when I talk to my hubby, the responses are more often than not, “Nothing”, “Yes”, “No”, “Good”, “Great”, “Okay” “Wow”. On some lucky days, I can get out of him, ““May be”. At times I want to shake him to get few sentences out of him, just like we do it to the shaker when the salt clumps inside. On most days my hubby is clumped with words (key word here is…with me).

So, okay he can get away with saying few words! But how fair it is that he can pack his suitcase in less than 10 minutes, while I need couple of hours? And after putting in more time, I end up with a big suitcase with small sized clothes, and him with a little suitcase with large size ones!

Packing time and suitcase size seem like a small fry when I bring the topic of purses– these things need to be carried everywhere. My hubby can easily slide his wallet in his pant’s pocket, while for me I carry a purse with hairbrush, wipes, lipstick, sanitizer, rubber elastics/hair clips, cell phone, bandaids, mints, emergency snacks, a small water bottle, and most importantly cards and cash. The only place my bag would slide is from my already overworked shoulder!

Now lets talk about shopping! When he goes for grocery shopping, he sticks to the list, and is back home in 30 minutes. That’s understandable and efficient…sort of!  And before I leave for shopping, I prepare a list and more often than not I forget to take it with me.
Once in the mall, I pause to appreciate the lovely bouquets that are put together (it is disrespectful not to appreciate beauty!), and then who can miss the items on manager’s special. What if I need something from the sales, and that item did not make it to my list. So, I check out the sales, and then I remember that we are almost out of toothpaste and it was not on my list. So, I go to the toiletries aisle to pick the toothpaste and then I see kids toothbrushes on sale. “I better take few of the toothbrushes as kids would soon need new ones.” So, I am back from my grocery shopping, with little over double the items on my list, and it takes me couple of hours.

5 minutesWhen hubby and I go out together, obviously I take longer to get ready, as time to get ready is directly proportional to the length of hair and the number of clothes in the closet. And I am the one who has to apply the eye liner and lipstick, do my hair and yadi yada yada!

So now with the facts clearly stated, you my friends, would have a better vision that men in general have a time advantage over us. We women need more time to get ready for party, pack for traveling and even do the shopping. It is not because women have bad time management skills, it is simply because we are wired for multi tasking, so each of our tasks is ingrained with sub tasks. So for any given task, I end up taking a long road that touches more coordinates and thus longer time. That’s precisely the reason when I say I am going to bed, it involves 10 sub tasks-

Check if the doors are closed  ->  Brew a night tea -> Quick cleaning of the mess  on way to the bedroom-> Shut the lights -> Check on the kids -> Call my mom- > Go to bed and sleep.

But when my hubby says he is going to bed. Before I hear the complete sentence I hear him snore! I envy him for such focus, but I understand that the difference is because our brains are wired differently.

Then there are times when we have a fight, and tensions run high. We both have a melt down, but I am so ready to talk about the horrific event soon after, and he needs more time to discuss it rationally. So we settle our differences after some time.  But while waiting to resolve, I end up finishing the chocolate cake in the fridge and even the jamoca almond fudge in our freezer. Good thing, we finally have it all sorted out, but now I have extra 5000 calories inside me, and I am glum again for I have to get rid of those calories.

And then there are days when I get trapped into mood swings, some totally not in my control, where as my hubby’s emotional graph is mostly a straight line. Then in order to lift up my mood and connect socially, I go out….shopping! I might just flip through different aisles and racks and not buy anything, but there is something about the shopping trip that I begin to feel better…well almost! Until I try a skirt in my usual size, and it feels snug and I have to reluctantly go for a bigger size. The entire drive home, I justify in my mind that it is really not the extra pounds on me but it is how companies have started making clothes with smaller sizes. Finally, I am home with elated mood and find my hubby who is equally delighted seated in front of the TV and computer …the entire day. (For the records, I don’t envy him for this.;-))

By the same token, how difficult can it be for my hubby to find out I am upset. When I say, “I am fine!”, that’s a first indication that “I am not fine”. It is simple, ain’t it? Okay, I get it that it can be confusing at times….but after few times he should get it. When he does get it, he asks me “What’s wrong?”, and I say “Nothing”. Then he leaves me alone. “Nothing” to me is a conversation starter and it means “Something”. When I tell him later that he should have approached me and not left me in doldrums. He says that I should spell it clearly what I want, else he would do what he thinks is right. But if I tell him what I want, he would be doing stuff because I asked him to do, and not because he wants to do it for me. Right?

He says I am complicated. Huh! He does not get a simple mind of a woman!

Photo credit: Abhishek Jacob via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Brett Jordan via Foter.com / CC BY