Monday, November 15, 2010

My Rules of life or just everyday Arunlekhaisms - 1

  1. Have empathy for everyone. Everyone.
    [ It makes every bitching session very long winded as you end up switching sides because you feel like you understand the motives and that had you been at their place, you wouldnot have done anything too different]
  2. Don't be ashamed of the truth. Truth will set you free.
    [No matter what we have become and how much society has conditioned us at being average and have homogeneous aspirations. Truth remains the same. However, Any sentence beginning with “According to me” is not the absolute Truth. It is your opinion. Truth is that CO2 is a pollutant.]
    p.s: If you have a low self-esteem, admit it. To yourself. That will help stop you from hating others who seem to have high self-esteem]
  3. Apologize for your mistake.
    [It feels great. And not only for altruistic reasons. Make your apology in clear words and sentences. Say what exactly what you are sorry for. And what you are not sorry for and if you want to dicuss things further, you should. You will feel strong and completely in charge of your own actions.]
    p.s: It's O.K to apologize to yourself if you are the person whom you have let down
  4. Don't make the same mistake twice.
    [You will be embarrassed about all the apologies you will be making to others and mortified about the ones you will be making to yourself. Learn from your mistake and resolve to never repeat them again. Analyze your mistake and learn about yourself from it. Make a note of the patterns and try to change them if you can't live with them]
  5. Listen to yourself.
    [All of us who can afford it, have a prickly soul. We cry and get upset or depressed or alienated. Take time out of the things you have to do, like, study, work, eat and the like and get to know yourself. Check for your instinctive reactions. Don't be alarmed if your natural reactions are very different from that of the societal norms. That is your truth and we can't be ashamed of it. Never let your conscience stay guilty. Never. Never. Do whatever you have to to make amends and then make peace with the situations and promise yourself, to never let your conscience feel like this again.]
  6. Remember in Minute details.
    [In order to learn. You have to remember your life in details. Plus, your life is worthy of being made into a movie or a sitcom at least, wont do you good to forget]

To be continued...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Relatively Dark

I was about 5 when I realised that I was darker than my younger sister. And immediately my 5-year old me deduced that darker probably also meant coarser, uglier.....

I would go around comparing the colour of my skin to that of my mother's and my grandmother's and would still come up with the same answer. I was clearly a brown skinned little girl whereas my sister, my mother, and my grandmother were yellow, cream and almost peach, respectively.

My even fairer mashi would come to visit Kolkata every winter with my rosy-cheeked boy cousins and the four of us would play and have our pictures taken and I stood out as the darkest and I felt almost unclean. I would try to scrub out the 'moila' but I still remained as brown as ever. A day in the sun would turn me coffee-coloured and them red.

Looking back, I saw that I was well-loved, pampered and almost spoilt by my parents and grand-parents. There were never any direct negative comments from them regarding the difference in skin colour. Looking back, I saw that my family tried to never make me feel bad about being dark. My grandmother would sing 'Krishnokoli Aami Taare i boli' to me all the time. 'Kalo ee jogoter aalo,' was a oft-repeated line. There was an anecdote about how the Doctor who delivered me told my mother that she now has a 'Pauroma Shundori' daughter. And then with their faces etched in difficult-to-hide disappointment, my mother or her mother would lament how I then grew darker because of the hot-oil massages they'd given me as an infant. I would then joke, saying good for those encounters with Hot oil, for I was a much healthier kid than my sister, and I rarely caught the sniffles. No, there were never any negative comments.

I was positively taught to consider being dark beautiful. But, sadly, if not for that I would have never known I was dark.

They tried too hard to make me accept myself, whereas, at 5, I had not yet looked at the mirror then and had not had any notion of the beautiful or the not.

With all the love and all positive reinforcements in my childhood, despite them, I grew up feeling ugly and coarse and ungainly (till I was about 11 or 12 when a very dear friend's casual comment about how pretty I am, made me relook in the mirror)

Of course, this is not a linear story. It has circular repurcussions. Since, I was not as good-looking as my sister (it's not only the skin tone – She is prettier), it was again and again said, how I was smart, and how I was such a precocious reader and the like, and my sister grew up believeing she is stupid.

Anyway. One day I grew up, after years of hearing my family debate about whether I was Shyamla or wheatish or just a bit 'moila,' I relooked in the mirror at 11 or 12 and realised what an attractive -looking girl I was and how I was barely even dark. Especially in Hyderabad, my home-city