Sometimes, Indians here become particular about skin colour when it comes to marriage, specifically arranged marriage – fair skin is preferred. And, this preference is especially true in Indian women. Dark skinned Indian women have it tough when it comes to matchmaking. Some Indian guys, when searching for their significant other, be like, “Takkera Tamanna maari irukkanum. Segheppa Samantha maari irukkanum.” Neengeh kalyanam panna ponnu theduringgela illeh Kodambakkam le padam edukka oru heroine eh theduringgela?
The quest to make one fair skinned begins in the womb itself. If ultrasound scan reveals that the gender of the fetus is female, that’s it; mothers, grandmothers, aunties and every other elderly Indian ladies would push and fret. They will make the expecting mother drink saffron and almond infused milk and gorge on foods like butter, ghee and coloured vegetables and fruits. Some Indian women swear that taking iron pills when pregnant will result in the fetus being born with a dark hued skin. What if the mother is anemic? Oru 4 tube Fair & Lovely cream ulle vitta after consuming iron pills would cancel the darkening effect I suppose. Rightfully, the focus should be on the baby being born healthy, not fair skinned.
More often than not, it is not the potential groom’s biggest concern about the skin colour of their potential bride. This is especially true in educated Indian guys. They don’t give much emphasis on skin colour. They know that it is better to have a brainy and capable wife rather than a fair skinned wife. It is the Indian guys’ mothers who zoom into skin colour when searching for wives for their sons. I have witnessed this in my family; trust me, it is pretty ugly.
Some dark skinned Indian guys say they want a fair wife so that their kids would be born with the more favourable skin colour. Aiyo, kadavule.. SPM Biology fail ah anneh? Skin colour is determined by genes. My sister-in-law is dusky and my brother is fair. Their only son has the looks of my brother and the skin colour of his mother. My mother has tried everything to reverse the skin colour of my nephew. She scrubbed him with kasthoori manjal, ground fenugreek and green beans but nothing worked. I have heard my mother lament many times when bathing and dressing her grandson,”Yellame unakku sariya than da irukku, niram thavure.” I always notice the hurt in my sister-in-law’s eyes everytime she hears her mother-in-law passing such comments. It is genes and no amount of kasthoori manjal scrub is going to reverse dark skin in anyone. I know dark skinned Chindians. GENES.
Dark skinned Indian women are always shamed in many ways. Relatives would notice even the slightest skin tone change in dark skinned Indian women and gush, “You have been staying indoors haven’t you? No wonder you look better.” Looking better is proportioned as being fairer. In many, many cases, dark skinned Indian women are sidelined when it comes to being bridesmaids aka tholli ponnu. The worst thing that a relative or even a parent can tell dark skinned Indian women is to settle for a less than perfect man on the tacit understanding of their less than perfect colour.
One of dark skinned Indian women pouring her heart out
This is an actual email by my beautiful dark skinned cousin sister which she sent to me:
Lately I'm so stressed with relatives and people who always comment on my skin color. I was born this way. What can I do? I have never been sad for all these comments but they really stress me up lately. I'm growing older and I'm not married. I was rejected time and time again because of my dark skin. Some of the people who come to ponnu paakeraning me had the audacity to tell me to to use turmeric powder and consider bleaching my skin if I am to get married. I am so angry sis! Once an aunty said, "Do you know that the groom is fairer than you?" What does that supposed to mean? Did she mean that I better accept him just because he is fairer than me? That I should be considered lucky to have a fair skinned guy who sacrificed his life to accept a dark skinned woman like me as his wife? What a logic????? Even last week, a so called proposal happened. That guy's mum didn't want to talk and avoided us, just because I'm not fair, the meeting has been arranged in a wedding of their relation and we had to go there. My mum had told every one, "My daughter is not fair," but still they insisted her for a meet up. At the end of the day, they rejected me for skin color, I don't understand all this shit. You know something, most rejected me by saying ' I'm short' , 'I'm not modern', 'not fair' and not wealthy. No one ever asked if I could take care of their parents, siblings or even him as a wife. These people failed to analysis me if I'm a kind person or rich in good values. Never took attempt to communicate with me in order to know me better. All they wanted was being fair, fair and fair but failed to understand the meaning of inner beauty! Poor people who think that only being fair and beautiful as in fair carries value to family, At times, I just hate those people, how much they hurting me. I'm helpless sometimes coz of family members and relatives who rather tell me to try to get fair or accept a school dropout as my husband. You know that I did MA and is going to do PhD soon. I just nod my head at whatever they say because I just don't wanna be rude and create enemies.
The above is true for some dark skinned Indian guys too but it’s is not so entrenched like it is for dark skinned Indian women. The phrase, ‘tall, dark and handsome;, extends that veracity. And, in Tamil movies, dark skinned male actors have created a niche for them. From Rajini to Thanush, their dark skin colour is not made a big deal. There are very few dark skinned actresses in the Indian movie industry. A song which glorifies the dark skin colour of Indian men is incorporated in the movie Vetri Kodi kattu.
Often times Indians tend to confuse love with skin colour. I have seen, in every Indian wedding, it is almost compulsory that one, especially elderly Indian ladies to stop and stare at the bride and groom, rate them according to the fairness of their skin and then pass comments on how fair/dark they are and then wonder how they ended up with each other. The wonder gets deeper especially if the bride is darker than the groom. I have heard a particularly scathing comment from a lady in a wedding; the bride was very dark compared to the groom. The lady said out aloud,”Enna vasiyam pannalo teriyile, ipdi oru karuppana ponnuku chekke chevenu maapley.”
Dark skinned Indian women don’t want pity. Marrying a dark Indian woman does not mean the guy is giving her vaalkai pichai. Like my cousins sister, dark skinned Indian women have potential just like any other differently coloured women. Focus on their potential, not their skin colour unless you want a bunga dedap. Dark skinned Indian women are worth so much more than their skin colour.