What is in the colour?

How many of you have been abused or ridiculed by your own family, friends and society because you are not “fair”? Well, any one outside of Indian society may not even be able to understand what this means like my therapist friend who could not just comprehend why my parents were concerned how they were going to get me married or why I felt inferior to my numerous cousins who had fairer skins.

I was in my early thirties when I started working through my huge emotional baggage I had been carrying from my childhood with an English therapist who was also my friend. One of my main issues used to be my inferiority complex about my skin colour. I had just moved to UK from India then.

I had had my fair share of experiences to “justify” my issue ranging from being called ‘the dark one’ by my aunts to having told that I could not be considered as a romantic interest because I was dark. Because of this repeated patterns, I strongly believed that having a darker skin means being ugly. I’m sure many of our little girls in India are being conditioned to feel this way even today by our mass media that glorifies fair skin and corporates that promote fairness creams.

Now, I am able to laugh at comments in facebook such as ‘even though you are dark, you are beautiful’. I only have sympathy for people who are conditioned to think that fair skin is superior.

Nirmala Raju

Well, how did I get here? The pivotal point was my therapist friend not being able to even understand my problem. She repeatedly asked me whether my problem was having comparatively fairer skin or darker (Apparently I had brown skin according to her which could be interpreted either way). She pointed me to people choosing to get tanned to have darker skins. Something opened up for me for sure. It gave me a new perspective that values vary from person to person and place to place but I am the same. How people value me is not my problem any more. It is just their interesting point of view.

Having said that the transformation did not happen overnight. I must acknowledge the contribution of the western society that embraced me without judgement that lead me to relax into who I really am. Perhaps, I was blessed with such sweet colleagues and friends in the UK who made me feel valued as a person and no one ever discriminated me because of my colour – not even a single time.

It is totally interesting to now see that how another culture rescued me from the inferiority complex created by my own society. Wicked, right?

Hey, If anyone thinks you are inferior, they are just seeing through their smoked glass… there is nothing wrong with you. You are absolutely unique and the universe is not complete with out you, as Osho says :-)


– Nirmala Raju (Nila)