Dear daughter,

I will never have felt so happy in my life than I will when u come into this world. I will be so grateful to God for giving me this little bundle of joy that is you.

But daughter, I cannot let go of the hard truth that you are after all a girl. And I know that because the family you will be born into wanted me to have your sex determined when you were in my womb. It didn’t matter to me and I was happy that you were a girl. But I cannot say that about the rest of the family. They were hoping for a son but its okay. They will learn to love you as time passes by. You are a big responsibility, daughter. But don’t worry, I will teach you everything you need to know.

You should remember this daughter that bringing you into this world is a generous gesture by your family. You will live a life and you will learn your duties. You need to learn because you will need it for your future. If you see your brothers playing in the garden, it doesn’t mean you can run and play with them. You will learn to sweep and dust. You will learn to cook and clean.

We will provide you education and let you have the freedom of speaking your mind and writing your thoughts. In this country it is a blessing for a girl, so consider yourself lucky. As you grow up you will have your own needs and wants. But you have to put yourself after your brothers. Their needs come first. That’s the tradition that is followed and u must learn it too.

The clothes you wear and the way you present yourself matter a lot. You cannot wear short clothes and definitely not wear makeup on a regular day. Because here, the length of your clothes IS a measure of your character. Speaking of which, you cannot move around with boys or talk to them in private. It is like giving them an open invitation to molest you or take wrong advantages. And if that happened the society will look down on our family which is not acceptable. More importantly you will not get a groom. Nobody will want your hand in marriage because your ethics and your respect are now in question. And evidently, you will become a burden to our family.

Once married, you will have to live your life according to your husband and his family. Their wellbeing will be your number one priority from then on. There may be times when your views don’t match with that of your husbands’ but learn to hold your tongue. Remember that you are here to take care of his house in the day and warm his bed in the night. And voicing your opinions and complaining is not good for your relationship. When you have children your responsibilities will double. And you might find it difficult but don’t whine. Learn to laugh through the tough times. You were designed for this. Therefore the saying goes, ‘A bride should arrive her home in her palanquin and leave it in her coffin’.

And if your daughter is lucky enough to arrive in this world, do teach her these important teachings for her future.



What is this fallacious concept of relating beauty and desirability with a woman’s complexion? Fair people are considered beautiful and more attractive, of course in terms of physical appearance only. They are easily tolerated by the Indian society which takes major pride in its cultures and traditions. While on the other hand it has a dark and unseen side which we dark people encounter every now and then.

In the land of the biggest democracy where at the judicial level men and women are treated equal, we at the subordinate levels discriminate between women of different colour. Caste, creed, race are and have almost always been existent in the big picture. Gender has now become another tree of trouble in the garden of democracy. We are a developing nation. And we are only still developing since the past thirty five to forty years because we differentiate.

This stagnant deformity in the minds of some people who believe that colour of skin counts when a girl should grow up, or when she meets someone, or when someone visits the house and if she should get married, is simply reprehensible.

The unreasonable belief that light skinned people will bring goodwill or better son-in-laws is a stupid and disheartening theory.

I, myself am on the darker side. And I have been told that I’m dark. And that’s okay you would think. But I am told that in an almost derogatory manner. Like the genes in my DNA screwed up or something. Or just that I am not as pretty as my other “fair skinned” and slightly more likeable siblings.

So when someone close to you, or rather respectable to you (because close is a slightly exaggerated term) tells you or your set of silly relatives about how dark skinned you are in front of you, it creates an awkward situation. You cannot fight back with someone older than you. On the other hand you’re always learning how to stand up and fight for what you think and believe is right.

And when a situation such as this presents itself, you are confused because you don’t know whether to respect that person who made the remark or to stand up and speak your mind right then and there. Or maybe that’s just in India. Here, we are taught never to counter reply to our elders even if what they said is false, condemnable, unreasonable and awry. We are taught to agree to their words because they are elder to us and they by default are always right about what they say.

We are taught since the time we are able to stand on our legs to bend down and take their blessings even when they might not want to bless us because we are “dark-skinned”. We are taught that our culture and traditions are richer than any other. We are made to believe in superstitions no matter how misguided they are at times.

I have not been so conscious all this while but there comes a time when I will draw a line and tell myself that enough is enough. I may be dark. But I am beautiful. Beautiful, on the inside. I am loving, caring and affectionate towards the people who matter to me.

And for all the people out there like me who feel victimized by this unfair treatment of your semblance I would just say, you are all wonderful, beautiful people. The society may have disregard for your complexion but its nothing. Just a cluster of people with mindless, untenable theories that don’t make sense. Remember just how lucky you are that God chose to make you so special and wonderful because there is a world out there which has more to offer and you just have to believe in it.

–         Tejaswini Kabadi