Shalini looked at her image in the mirror. She looked resplendent in the blue saree. The simple accessories and minimal makeup added to the radiance of her dusky skin.
Being born in a social environment where fairness dominates beauty ideals, Shalini had faced the snide remarks about her dark skin, throughout.
“The baby is so dark” was the first remark from her relatives at the time of her birth. This continued through her growing up years. “Who will marry her?”
“Try using that fairness cream that they show on TV, You must do something about your dark skin otherwise you will not get a job.”
At school too, Shalini faced discrimination because of her dark colour. She was a good dancer but was always placed in the last row for performance. “She is too dark, she will spoil the show.”
Shalini’s parents were cautioned that it would be difficult to get her married. Shalini’s mother bought all the cosmetics promoting and promising fairness. She kept exploring the market for skin lightening creams and lotions. Hoardings, print ads, and TV ads, all Kept blaring out the fairness mania.
Shalini meanwhile with an extremely brilliant academic record and excellence in extracurricular activities, moved ahead in life. Her progress graph was always upwards.
Shalini confidently embraced her skin colour just as so many successful women the world over. They did not spend time in applying fairness creams, neither did they spend huge money on beauty treatments.
Fair is beautiful, dark is ugly- this concept of beauty has been deeply ingrained in our culture for ages. Even the dictionary says that “A person or thing that is beautiful has perfection of form, colour etc.” Who decides which is the perfect colour?
We are all bound by a narrow definition of beauty. That definition is passed to the next generation. But has anyone even thought or seen beauty in the sense of warm touch of love, in the deep affection shown by someone or the inner attributes like confidence, compassion sense of humour etc. Why is the superfluous definition of beauty the most widely accepted one?
Shalini buried all the hype about fairness and moved on. She was subjected to taunting, jokes about her dark complexion. She went through a turmoil up to a certain point. But her achievements superseded all the negative banter and her confidence helped her to emerge as a winner amidst the negativity.
The door of the sparking vehicle opened and she stepped out – barely recognisable in her new avatar.
Shalini entered the conference hall with the same confidence and conviction. Many heads turned towards this radiant dark beauty, whom many had dismissed as an ugly duckling.
A standing ovation filled the hall as Shalini received “Woman of the Year Award.”
Shalini’s gentle smile enhanced her beauty as she received the Award.
“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
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