“You stupid girl, running around underneath the sun isn’t going to help you get married! It’s already bad that you’re so dark. A troubled future will be all that you will gain from such carelessness”, Abhignata’s grandmother bellowed as her hyperactive, sweaty granddaughter slammed a guy, declared him the thief, and sprinted away happily.
Above the din, the faint voice of a daughter-in-law being reprimanded could be discerned. “Who’s ever going to want to marry that girl of yours, Pallavi? Leave her alone a little longer, and she’ll become a walking crow!” Pallavi, perplexed and worried about her child, tried to shift her attention to the vegetables she was slicing.
The next day, at school, our protagonist was bounding across the grounds again-as usual- and soon she was engulfed by a crowd of students flocking around her. An on-looking teacher angrily beckoned her. “Abhi, you’re as restless as a boy! Stop cooking yourself under the sun all the time! You’re already-…..“. Her teacher abruptly paused, a look of embarrassment clouding her stern features. Abhignata stared at the tiny rocks in front of her left foot, and didn’t say a word. Emotion sharpened her teacher’s voice as she gathered herself and continued, “It’s for the best. I’m just looking out for you, dear.”
Her entire grade was excited when they reached 10th grade, because one of them would be made school captain. The doubts and whispers were momentarily put out when the selections were over and the choice declared, before they resumed again. “Abhignata was extremely close, but she ended up becoming the Vice-Captain. Well, a good leader needs to look good if they want to be looked up to, right?” They convinced themselves to shrug off their guilt using their flawed belief system, not bothering about its effects.
Though people were careful to ensure that none of this actually went through Abhignata’s ears, she already understood the bigotry of the decision. She pretended to smile at the people who kept congratulating her, a pitying look on their faces. Even though she was far from being lonely, an inkling of loneliness had crept into her, slowly coming to life, smudging her world. Yet from this smudginess, this haziness, something finally became clear to Abhignata- that she was tired of hiding her fairness cream-stridden face from others, because she was afraid it would affect others’ perception of her.
So, our brave little girl decided she didn’t want to be the rock that broke down a bit more each time a wave lashed out at her- she was going to be the ocean itself, powerful and restless and proud of its restlessness. And of that meant harnessing her inner Bahubali to make the impossible possible, so be it. She would give others something else to find fault, but surely not her complexion. Something which when improved will only make her a better person with intact SELF CONFIDENCE.