"I am a second generation British Asian. My parents decided to raise me in India, where my roots lay. Although I went to some of the best international schools, I grew up struggling with the social stigma attached to being dark - in a country where I was with my ‘own people’.
My parents never made me feel inferior. However, my relatives had plenty of comments, ‘You have become so dark. Stay in the shade. Your sister is fair, your mother is fair. Try this home remedy for fairness. You will not get married. You will not have friends…’ While going through passport control, an immigration officer at a major airport in India looked at me, then at my mum and sister and sneakily asked me, ‘Are you really her daughter? How?!’ Once, my friend’s mother shooed me away from the gate thinking I was a domestic help looking for work. She was embarrassed when she found out I was her daughter’s friend!
I was young but each blow made me think - was this what I was worth? Not once did I give up, though, on nurturing my talents which lay in drama, dance, teaching and photography. I found that I did not have to be fair to be successful, to have a good job, to have loved ones around me, to have amazing friends, to have a life! I thank those who said I did. I grew up to face them, not with anger and argument, but with rational and compassionate conversations problematizing identity, values and beliefs and motivate them.
This even became my Masters degree project in the UK. I also happened to meet my husband there who never saw me for my skin colour but for who I was as he puts it, ‘a beautiful, intelligent, and compassionate human being’.
We are all unique and should be appreciated and celebrated for who we are. We should strive to be more tolerant and sensitive towards one another instead of being colour biased and shallow. Love yourself! ”