A few days back, I posted on my instagram account about how I was stuck at work when I should have been out basking in the not-so-common hot London sun and enjoying those picture perfect blue skies. Little did I know this will be a long summer of sunny, sunnier, sunniest days without any rain for straight 7 weeks (so far)! Am not complaining but would have liked a shower for an hour or so every 4-5 days..lol! Although with the unexpected extensive sun I have definitely added some more brown to my already brown self.

These days if you call someone brown, black or white, you risk being labelled a racist but that’s definitely not my intention here. Coming from a country with a genetic predisposition to brown genes what else can I expect to be but brown! Sadly, we are a nation fixated with ‘gora rang’ (fair complexion) and this issue plagues our society like a disease! A society where mothers make their daughters apply a highly unsafe concoction of whitening creams which will not only make them gora but fulfil their supposedly biggest aspiration in life: Shadi (getting married)! It doesn’t matter if a female is clever, witty, artistic, professional or just plain normal etc. NO!! All of this becomes secondary if, God forbid, you are blessed with a sanwala rang (tanned complexion). The nosy desi aunties and their not-so-gora Prince Charmings all prefer Gora rang! I myself, though being on the fairer side but with a tendency to tan very easily, once had one such Aunty casually say to me “University ja ka tumhara gora rang kam hogaya he ghar baitho saaf hojaega” and this when I was working my ass off studying for a Computer Science degree at one of the best Engineering universities! I so wish I had told her “Rang to gora ho na ho I don’t care but aap k kalay dead dimagh pe bara afsos hua” LOL!! Humorous as it may sound, the fact is this mentality has caused and still causing unwanted stress to the female (and sometimes male) population of Pakistan where otherwise healthy, attractive, competent women are looked at with pity when their rishtay walas don’t come in throngs and more often than not their lack of gora rang is blamed for this (or being fat/thin/short tall height…but that’s a topic to be covererd in another blog post). Some take this to another level altogether. If due to some reason the Desi good-for-nothing Prince Charmings do marry a less gori lerki than they would have liked, they subtly and sometimes not subtly subject her to emotional abuse for being the cause of the future generations sanwala rang! I am not joking, I personally know someone who went through it just because she wasn’t a gori chitti. Throughout her pregnancy, she had to listen to her husband say ‘what will happen agr the baby-to-be-born has daba hua rang like you’. Can you imagine the torture that poor woman had to face for something which was not even in her control and something that was not even a problem!

The saddest part is, people say such senseless things in front of little kids and many a times even compare kids of the same household as to who is fairer than the other. They don’t realise the damage this can do to those impressionable minds. Its about time we get rid of this menace and tell such people off, politely and sometimes impolitely, then and there as to how wrong it is without worrying about being labelled badtameez. Funnily its them who are being insensitive and rude and more often than not people defending themselves or their kids are labelled as one.

As mothers we can change the way future generations think, so if we start not worrying about our kids getting tanned when out playing in the sun (with sunblock on for health reasons) and just let them be happy and comfortable in their own skin, they will, at the very least, won’t feel bad and will hopefully own their Brownness like a boss and and own their skin colour with pride!

And to end this post on a less intense note, have fun looking at my awesome Zebra feet from last summer and try saying Zehra’s Zebra feet ..lol