Indians are obsessed with fairness. And like all generalisations, this one too finds its echo in the North South divide of the country with the Northern citizens considering all South of the Vindyas citizens as dark and somehow to be inferior. Not where one is fair or unfair, but where one is lighter in complexion. It used to be a feminine thing with matrimonial advertisements either proclaiming the fairness of the bride to be seeking a groom or the groom to be specifying his preference for a fair damsel. But now it has become a Unisex thing with India’s top film star Shah Rukh Khan plugging for a miracle cream for men to enhance the man’s fairness.
I have personally never bothered about either worrying about my complexion or the complexion of the lady of current interest. I am what the Northerner will call dark and so was my late wife. That did not stop us from having a grand life together and I know a lot of others too in similar situations as well as one dark and one fair combinations, who too have had normal lives.
So, it does grate me to see both girls and boys trying to change what is normal and I have often expressed my reservation about these whiteners in private to whoever will listen.
So, when in a peculiarly local situation I had to intervene in a matter concerning a youth’s obsession and complex I was looking for an article that I had read many years ago, and as it often happens to me, I found a reference to it in a periodical today which has come in very handy. And, what a title!