They say , time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations.
And it has occurred to me after half a century of observing the alterations, that we as insensitive, undisciplined people, force these alterations, much against the suggestions of the dressmaker.
All people are different. In origin, language, physical, mental, and genetic traits.
All people are curious , and question things. But the answers differ.
There was something in life 40-50 years ago, when as a child, one understood why someone could have a dark complexion, but didn't have a public discourse on it. There were things you paid great attention to at certain ages, and you didn't get obsessed with skin color as a child. Of course as you grew up you noticed tendencies in society, but you were taught never to comment on physical characteristics of people.
Today, we are so blatant about this concept of "fairness" , that it gives "being fair" to someone a bad name, thanks to the unfortunate nomenclature.
The concept of fairness. Nothing to do with bending backwards to be fair to someone. But the unending struggle to appear "fair" to the world. In complexion, and not in spirit.
-And so what do you say to a young girl, swimming her heart off, in a day long swimmathon, among the top so-many, emerging to change clothes in the evening, and encountering mothers of other swimmers, who audibly and to-her-face remark on how "black" she has become, and hurry to rub their kids down with some expensive soap, destroying her joy at having done well....
-And what do you say about a huge group at a picnic, a couple has joined in with their newly adopted slightly wheatish complexioned daughter, and an acquaintance, boasting of amazing education levels in the family, looks at the child, then at the parents, smirks, and asks, "I didn't know you liked the color black !" (The parent is known to have stared at he little girl, looked up, smiled , and said, "Black ? What black?"...)
-And what do you say of some "well meaning" neighbors, who advise someone NOT to send the daughter for water sports, because she will turn dark; this despite they having a non-sporting but extremely intelligent , "fair"ly wheatish daughter....
-and what do you say to prospective nosy ladies who blatantly discuss and describe a girl of marriageable age 'as a wonderful person "except", that she is a bit on the wheatish side....'
Something has to change. It is time.
For a start, ban all fairness advertisements on television. For a television system that turns a blind eye to liquor ads moonlighting as sodas, cds and casettes , and winking about it, you need to be tough.
Go to court against the multinationals . Bring in scientists to define what decides a person's skin color, melanin levels , what is changeable , what is not , etc.
Despite having a ministry to deal with and control this, we do not seem to have a "truth in advertising" clause anywhere.
And so watch and learn, that you can get jobs after 7 days of slathering some cream, twice daily, and forget all the examinations you slogged over and practicals you did in college, and placement interviews you did.
And you also watch as someone endlessly dabs on some cream, and suddenly becomes a heroine instead of an "extra"....
And you watch in even more amazement , as a fellow , earlier snubbed by the village belles, polishes his face with some fairness cream, and gets mobbed on the stairs, exiting his house. Whatever happened, to slogging chaps working in fields, riding tractors, lifting loads and the like ?
Anybody can tell that resultant fair faces on TV are more a product of camera overexposure. This may actually be, for want of a better word, another scam.
Ban these ads. Penalize them for misleading. Investigate the ingredients, and confirm that banned items are not being used.
Realize, that we as a people, were doing perfectly fine beauty wise, even before all the multinationals came in to the country , bringing in makeup items with atrocious costs, and ran ads to make you feel insecure about your looks, filling the coffers of women's magazines with their ads.
Realize , that we as a people , didn't hanker after designer body parts earlier and didn't do too badly with what we had. We were comfortable , more so in mind, and did not go through all the mental trauma, young folks obsessed with looks go through today.
Teach your children, to enjoy a clean face and skin, whether dark or fair. Encourage the use of authentically herbal age old mixtures, that function as antiseptics as well as cleansing agents.
Teach your child, never to make fun of some one's physical characteristics, whether it is shape,size, or color.
Teach your child, that there could be dark minds in fair faces, and fair minds in dark faces, and the latter was to be infinitely preferred. We don't talk about the remaining two options, dark minds in dark faces and fair minds in fair faces, simply because this kind of thinking is the problem we face today.
I've seen brilliant smiles on dark faces, heartfelt laughs on fair faces, and I have seen both intermingling happily. Dark and Light are what we live with day in and day out. Each has its own equal beauty.
And so if you ask me, I think it is really time to change the meaning of "Fair"......
Like I said earlier , time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations.
Maybe, we can , for once , ignore all those catalogues with folks in poses and clotheshorses in action, and listen to what the dressmaker, with its life long experience, has to say......
This goes as an entry to http://facebook.com/sftimetochange (time to change)....