‘White’ Skinned Meenachis

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Srinisha Nair

I just feel that the topic you currently shared Dark Skinned Meenachis is so close to my heart that I would like to say something, my share of it. I am your typical south indian girl, except fairer than most of them. I can tell you, it has never been a bed of roses for me. I’ve been mentally, emotionally, and sexually harassed due to my fair skin colour.

I’ve worked in a few call centres previously for short periods during my semester breaks and it was one of my toughest times. When you’re fair, every freakin attention falls on you. I walk into my office, you have men staring at you from top to bottom and girls giving you that cold stares. I was always pushed, never accepted, no Indian girl was ready to accept me as a friend. There was one time, I was rushing to work so I took a cab to the LRT station. As I got down the cab, I noticed there was an Indian man standing at the walkway towards the LRT station staring at me and I had to pass him.

He was very tall, very big, and very dark. He had a surgical mask on him. I thought to myself “just walk pass him quickly”. I was wearing a pink salwar kameez that day. So I paid the driver and started walking. When I passed by behind him, all of a sudden, he turned around, removed his mask, looks at me and goes like “unekke enna rombhe veleiya irekumne nenepa?” and he spat on my face. Yes, literally spat on my face! I was 19 and a very naive person then. I remember an Indonesian guy pushed that man and shouted at him for spitting on me. I just ran. Ran away from there, up to the LRT station’s washroom. I saw myself in the mirror, his spit and plegm covered my forehead and eyebrows.

I shivered, cried and cried and cried. I just want to tell you, writing this piece of memory now took me lots of courage cause I imagined that moment and it was a nightmare. I wanted to be normal, just like every other girl. I hated being fair. I wanted to burn under the sun and be dark!


There was one time, my friend and I finished our Odissi dance class and went to a restaurant to have lunch. This man, from India, walked to our table and said hello, we did not reply him. He greeted us again and continued by saying ” rendu perum alaga irekinge, aana ninge innum alagu. Naa ingetha hotel eh thangiriken, room 304, free ah irentha vangeleh”. He was referring it to me. My friend was dark, but super gorgeous, and yet he aimed it at me. I swear to you, no girl should ever go through that painful moment. I went red and screamed at him. I’ve never been that angry in my life. I nearly threw my plate at him. The waiter took him out of the shop. I just sat down there and cried.

I can go on with many bad experiences in my life until my recent one where I joined at U mobile as a cust service rep and got bullied and harassed by the Indian boys there since I was fair. Going to work everyday was hell, but I had to because I wanted to save money to pay Lembaga Peperiksaan. I just didn’t want to ask my parents. I did pull through 3 months, with lots of tears and painful moments. I love wearing skirts, I’m a crazy fan of skirts. My aunty stopped me from wearing them saying “un kaale veleiya ireke, naraiya bangla karenenge train le yerevange, venam.” I understood why.

It’s not all bed of roses. I’ve cried myself to sleep many nights. The advantages, we have a few, it’s very easy to get mappilai for girls like us. I’ve got many proposals up till now. Up till a very famous Tan Sri who asked me for his son. How did they describe me? “The white girl at the front of the wedding hall wearing the kerala saree” .My parents were not interested, neither was I, but they were very adamant. I have a pacemaker in my heart, easier to say a battery operates my heart. So when my uncle told them about it, they stopped. It was just the colour that attracted them, they wanted a “perfect” package. Basically what society thinks perfect is…

Another incident happened during my cousin’s wedding, so the rest of the cousins were holding flowers and the paneer for the guests. My cousin is slightly darker than me, but extremely beautiful and we’re best friends. However, the wedding photographer kept following me everywhere I went and only took my pictures at the entrance. I felt like a piece of shit. Immediately my cousin goes like…

“avan enna unaiye suthi suthi varan? en padathela edekeve matengeran? nee veleiya irekere naale thane?”
Why is he only taking pictures of you? Because you’re fair?

 

AWKWARD. SUPER AWKWARD. No, I didnt love the attention, in fact it bugged me so much that I wanted to go home and lock myself in my room. I’ve been called names and bullied and pushed.

But I am great now. I’m building up my self confidence slowly. Just cause you’re fair, doesnt meant you’re perfect, confident and brave. I have more to go in my life I know, but I’m accepting it slowly.

Srinisha Nair