Growing up with grandparents, I must say is something everyone must have the luxury of experiencing. It’s a 24×7 learning experience with them around. You learn why they think in a certain way, why they do things in only that particular manner and why almost everything you do, say or even think is not right in their rule book.
I’ve had the pleasure of living with my grandparents, both maternal and fraternal for a generous time and I can safely say that even though they belong to the same school of thought, each one is a different person altogether with varied views on the same topic.
I wont get into details about each of them and their perspectives, but there’s one thing that’s been on my mind for a long time. Something that distinctively puts forth the generation gap that we so often talk about.
As South Indians, you’re least expected to be fair skinned, and by any chance if you are with a lighter skin tone, you’re surely mistaken for someone from elsewhere. Highly atypically, literally everyone in our immediate family is fair skinned; in fact, some can easily be mistaken for a nonnative.
Since I was a little girl, I used to be told to not touch this, not to eat that, not to play here, not to go there, only fearing the fact that I might grow to end up with darker skin or play with kids who aren’t fair skinned. My granny, like most hypochondriacs, is constantly worrying about being fair skinned and call it unfortunate or whatever, she even thinks fair skinned people should mingle with the same types, marry the light skin, have light skinned babies so on and so forth…
Now in normal terms one would call this racism, but can you call one of your own a racist? Yeah exactly. But then I see this new cult that’s catch up pace amongst most of us thanks to the idiot box that makes you feel like shit with every advertisement wanting you to break the rules of basic biology and become fairer. And then I just have to ask, if I’m not fair skinned does that mean I’m less of a human or someone with a smaller brain?; Someone who doesn’t deserve the same respect and luxuries as say someone with whiter skin? Our historic obsession with colour is so contagious we don’t spare harmless cats either.
I recently watched the Oscar nominated 12 Years a Slave and after, I sat up all night reading about slavery and apartheid and believe you me, I’ve had sleepless nights ever since. You might think I’m exaggerating, but absolutely nothing about being woken up in middle of the night to be brutally raped by your owner/master and pretend like nothing happened the next morning only because you’re black, can be pleasing.
We talk about racism openly today; you even read about people getting sued for making racist remarks, and to be honest, the world we live in is quite predatory where anyone seems provoked to break boundaries to cause discomfort to another. Quite the opposite of Live and Let Live right?
Why I mentioned growing up with grandparents in a write up about being discriminating; you learn from your seniors throughout your growing years, be it your parents, older siblings, college seniors or professors and something as sensitive as this can evolve into brutal behaviour.
I’m no preacher, I’m no Gandhi. But may be you don’t need to be one to know that you’re no different than another human. Oh well! May be I am. Why? What why? I’m fairer than you, can’t you see?