I hate lousy fairness creams and I think they should be banned from the marketplace. My deep – seated resentment against this $300 million dollar industry with its aggressive advertising campaigns does not stem solely from the fact that I am dark and have to put up with people who are forever extolling the merits of “Fair and Lovely” and the use of home – remedies like turmeric. Remedies? No thank you, I don’t have an incurable disease. But the sad truth is that in India, dark skin is akin to a particularly repellent disease.
It seems to me that India’s obsession with colour is a relatively recent phenomenon, as in the good old days Draupadi was the loveliest of them all, and her dusky complexion was compared to a blue lotus. And unlike what happens on commercials where only fair girls bag the groom, this black beauty had five accomplished husbands! What brought about such an unhealthy change in the collective Indian mindset? Perhaps history will provide us with some answers.
It is interesting to note that throughout the chequered history of this country where power switched hands with appalling regularity, the victors were always fairer. The Brahmins were considered the superior caste and not surprisingly they were the fairer ones on account of their Indo – European or Aryan origin. In fact, varna, the term used to describe the four castes means colour in Sanskrit. And then a veritable horde of foreign invaders usurped power from the indigenous peoples and each conqueror was paler than the last one. The British were the last in this colourful line and were literally the fairest of them all. Therefore, it is not surprising that fair skin has connotations of power as well as beauty in India. And it is precisely this mentality that has been so successfully exploited by the cosmetic giants and advertising companies.
Nowadays, fair skin is believed to be a prerequisite for success in every possible department – love, career, and life itself. This is a classic example of logic at its most warped. How on earth is skin – colour related to performance on the job? The situation is so bad that parents grieve if their kids are not white – skinned and slather the wretched sense organ with industrial – strength fairness creams, drag them to seedy salons or quacks in the hope of bringing about a modern day miracle. But therein lies the darkest secret about fairness creams and it is a real zinger – THEY DO NOT WORK!
And that is the bitter truth. Genetics is not just a powerful force of nature it is a proven law unlike the efficacy of fairness creams. At best they serve as a sun block and prevent you from becoming darker as opposed to turning fairer. Let us all spread the news and stop buying those overrated, overpriced, worthless things. So the next time somebody comes up to you and recommends some fairness cream or home remedy, don’t make the mistake I did by showing restraint – just hold up your middle finger and walk away in the opposite direction. And if you espy the dreaded tube in your better half’s cabinet, flush it down the toilet. That is where those products belong, with the crap.