23 years ago this young man wooed me. I ignored him and put him at an arms distance. My mind kept telling me, ‘This cannot be true, there are so many girls here that are fairer than me.’ And fair skin implied beauty, so he really can’t be serious.
This went on for 2 years of campus life. He kept saying he loved me and I kept disbelieving him. He kept saying I was beautiful; and while my heart wanted to believe it, my mind kept telling me that there was an ulterior motive. I was dark skinned, and therefore not beautiful. How could someone call me beautiful without the prefix…? Prefixes like dusky, black beauty…
Compliments in my life have always been in bits and pieces. Moonmoon’s eyes are like durga thakur, but she is dark. Moonmoon has a great figure, but her color… I have been called smart, intellectual, sexy and there was always a but to highlight my dark skin.
‘She is very smart but get her married off soon while age can compensate for her color’
Everyone around my parents was worried that if they did not get me married early on then my chances of marriage were zero. I dreaded marriage and believed that was not an institution for me, as being fair skinned was a pre-requisite for marriage (Here was the catch, though. My father was fair skinned and my mother was dark skinned and theirs was a marriage that was called a love marriage. My mother was a doctor!)
I started dreading the idea of someone coming to see me for an arranged marriage and rejecting me because I was dark skinned. I had made up my mind about not getting married and hiding my fear of rejection behind this attempt of building myself into this successful, intellectual, smart woman who could do anything but get married.
This love story has many dramas to it, including the 2 States angle (in every which way)…but I will leave for another time. After 2 years of campus, and half a year of dating, I finally convinced myself that he was genuine and started calling him my fiancé without an official engagement and found comfort and a newfound confidence in myself.
I am and have always been beautiful without being judged for color. By the end of the 3rd year of courtship, I found myself engaged in the drama of convincing everybody that we were the best for each other for the rest of our lives and we tied the knot. But if it wasn’t for him, I would have never known what true love can be…it was there only in my dreams.
Sushmita Pradhan lives in NJ and works a Realtor