Thursday, November 06, 2008

Capital Society - Darker than Obama

The Delhi walla's pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls - Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
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Darken than Obama

What does Barack's victory means to dark-skinned Delhi wallas?

[Text and picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

If America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold. After breaking the racial barrier by becoming the first black president of the US, Barack Obama has created ripples from Denver to Dar-es-Salaam to Delhi, a city whose brown-skinned people are obsessed with 'fairness' creams.

Ms Shefali, a 27-year-old communication trainer, who describes herself as having a "wheatish complexion", is thrilled that a "dark-skinned" man has captured the world's imagination. "You see, I'm the only one in my family who is dark," says she. "During childhood, my brother and sister would tease me as a 'black sheep', but now I can always shoot back by humming Obamaaaa."

Art critic Ms Amrapali Basu (name changed on request) is another fan of the "hot and happening" Obama. Owing to her "chocolate brown" complexion, she, too, had her share of childhood trauma.

In her B block Vasant Kunj neighbourhood, children would mock her by repeatedly singing, "Kali kaluti baingan looti." After being named the second prettiest girl in Class IX, a boy confessed that she would have been first if she were fair. Ms Basu is happy with Obama's triumph, but not because of the skin colour. "That trauma ended once I turned 15 and got a sense of self," she says. "Besides, it was also the time when we saw the rise of dusky beauties like Bipasha Basu, Nina Manuel and Kajol."

The 'dusky beauty' wave did not leave an imprint on Ms Shefali, though. The years of teasing had taken their toll. "I have a complex," she admits. "I avoid being friendly with fair-skinned people."

Nizamuddin East socialite Sadia Dehlvi, too, suffered from a childhood complex. "I was short, ugly, buck-toothed and worse, dark," she says. Another problem was her gori mother. "Each time mummy would introduce me to guests, they would say that I didn't look like her," Ms Dehlvi says. It didn't help that her brother also had fair skin. "I grew up fearing that I would never be as beautiful as mother."

Ms Dehlvi was overjoyed when Obama swept the elections. "He is a Democrat, a liberal, a Muslim man's son and he has dark skin."

Ms Shuchita Bagga, manager in a knowledge process outsourcing company, is happy with the Obama phenomenon. But not because she is dark herself. "I don't like fair-skinned guys," she says. "My mom, dad, brother and I are all very fair, so I'm attracted to people with darker skin." However, she rushes to add that her support for Obama was never influenced by his colour.

It is Ms Dehlvi who points what the rise of a dark-skinned man to top leadership in a racially complicated country implies: "Obama's win is a morale boost for the underdog."

7 comments:

The Line of Beauty said...

delhi will never come to terms with dark people...especially the punjus for whom every dark skinned person has to have a gene passed down from south of Vindhyas

Anonymous said...

Black is Back!!!!
The thing I hate most about Indians is their infatuation with being fair!!!!! All your life, in school when growing up, at home among your own family members, people take shots at you for being the darker skin and then there is bollywood to blame, when was the last time a darker toned actress graced the silver screen. Simply put our whole Desi community is going white (errr...). We try to imitate everything the West does, the way they eat, the way they dress up, the kind of movies they like watching, tv shows etc. And even our family values that we so proudly boast of is starting to diminish. Getting back to the article, I think its high time desi we people realize that the color of the skin does not determine the beauty of the person.

Neha said...

Anyone who says that race had nothing to do with who they're supporting is just trying to be politically correct.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I grew up in the southern part of the US as one of the few light skinned North Indians in a sea of darker (than me) skinned Gujaratis. I was constantly made fun of by the Indian kids for being a "dodia," (Gujarati for white), and the Americans never ceased to make fun of me for being an Iraqi (I'm not, I'm Indian). It was always lose lose.

Call me whatever, but when I come to Delhi and see other people of my complexion... it's nice. For a split moment, I don't feel outcasted. In a vague analogy, I hope that's how blacks in American feel about Obama... nice.

Anonymous said...

black obama and dark skinned delhites""" theme itself is not worth writing.

Luc said...

In almost every culture darker skinned people are marginalised. India is perhaps the only country where dark people make jokes about dark people. How often have I seen Punjabis who look like Kapil Dev make kala jokes. Too often to count.

dreamer said...

well,my point is, is it fair to call pale skinned people fair?? :-)

go dusk go!!