Honestly, I never thought I would ever have write on this topic out of my personal experience. To me, it’s out right crass and hugely demeaning to even think on these lines, leave aside penning down a personal saga. But, see here I am, sitting with an experience, which has rattled me beyond words.
I have two kids, a boy and a girl. According to the shade card of Asian paints, my son is whitish/brownish/dusky. And, my daughter is white/peach/pale/pinkish etc etc. Right from the time my daughter was born, I have been made to feel happy that my daughter is much more fairer than my son, which is like winning an Olympic Gold. “Haye! kitni gori si hai nahi tumhari beti…beta apne papa pe gaya hai nahi..” was a normal discussion by all limits. Even though no one would point it directly, the underline message will always be the color of the skin. I smiled and most of the time shrugged it off. BIGGEST MISTAKE I MADE ! Nib the bud before it blossoms, perhaps something that should have been my foremost stand. Or should I say somewhere I overlooked the impending toofan that was brewing up, and indiscreetly enjoyed a talk that was glorifying my daughter’s beauty under the garb of out rightly crass racism.
In the next couple of years, there have been plenty of occasions where the color of skin was discussed blatantly. I shamelessly participated. My thought was simple – I never judge them on their color, how does it matter what others say. I give them unconditional love ! We never rake up this topic remotely also. It doesn’t run in the family. So,this isn’t a topic that needs a look ! Kuch to log kahenge….kehne do..! MY SECOND BIG MISTAKE ! This went on till one day my son showed up with some visibly disturbing questions. By now he was 9 !
Abhi: Mumma what is your favourite color?
Mumma: Hmm..I love black. You see na I wear black so often. (smile)
Mumma: Your’s is orange and yellow ..right?
Abhi: Ya, but I shouldn’t wear those colors..
Mumma: Why? I just ordered a nice yellow pokemon t-shirt for you.
Abhi: No you cancel that..
Mummy: But, why betu… I thought you would love it.
Abhi: Na…mumma it won’t suit me. He continues… Mamma, because your favourite color is black, is that the reason why God made me black?
Mumma: (jolted )What? Who said all this to you…
Abhi: Gauri aunty was saying yellow will not suit me because I am dark. It will suit Riya because she is fair. And she laughed and said, your mumma loves black, so you got this color.
In a matter of 5 mins my whole world came crashing. Did I hear him right? I mean.. did he just faced a racial abuse, a racist comment for that matter? It took few seconds before the ugly reality sank in. I felt …. well, I am yet to find a word for that !! I couldn’t figure out what and how I should go on explaining a nine year old. I couldn’t figure out what I should do to this Gauri aunty, cut her tongue, or perhaps just kill her !! I fumed ! I couldn’t even fathom what my little boy was going through, I couldn’t look at his innocent face where he was smirking like he always does. But he was shaken, and I was….
Tears rolled down my eyes as I hugged him. I was completely at loss of words, and there was perhaps nothing in this world which was coming to my rescue. I felt like burning myself, so that my skin becomes dark too. I thought senseless, because honestly, nothing made sense to me. Racism… this was criminal !! I crashed in despair, hopelessness and this mere thought made me feel disgusted that I supposedly stay in a upscale locale with so called educated men and women with high morals and ethics. Holy Shit ! This is macabre, this is obnoxious !! You are gambling with a child’s mind. You are giving him a scar that may never heal… OMG what the hell have you done… I screamed in my mind !! Nauseating I felt !
After discussing with my husband, we both spoke at length with our son, and tried our best to make him understand. We still keep moving around it, till we are convinced that he is out of it. Honestly, am still not convinced !
You all are learned parents, but still I want to say, don’t let this happen to your child. Trust me, the pain is beyond words. Don’t make the mistake that I made. Don’t encourage racist talks even just for fun. Call it a quit even if that breeds resentment around you. And, as I said, nib the bud before it blossoms. If there is one person responsible for this fiasco, it’s me ! I didn’t see it coming. Or may be I ignored, knowingly unknowing, I don’t know. Stand for what is wrong and DON’T ALLOW SOMEONE TO JUDGE YOUR KIDS, ATLEAST NOT BY THE COLOR OF THEIR SKIN ! The pain tormenting and the guilt is incomprehensible, to say the least ! ( With moist eyes every single time !)