Skin colour in India is a very important issue
sjenner13 / Love Matters

'Rejected because my skin is too dark'

By Roli Mahajan Monday, November 11, 2013 - 14:30
“I was way more qualified than he was, but that didn't seem to matter – I was darker than him. People were judging us based on our skin colour,” says Tahini.

A darker skin tone always made life tough for Tahini, but finding a good match got tougher because of it. But despite the prejudice, she eventually did find a prince charming who didn't care about her colour.

Tahini is a 27-year-old civil servant in Lucknow.

I might have good features but I am dark. As a child, I thought it was a layer on my skin that could be removed just like in the fairness cream advertisements. However, no amount of bleaching or Fair & Lovely could make me light.

But I had one thing: brains. I was motivated to clear the civil service examination. I wanted to be independent and beyond ridicule, just in case no guy agreed to marry me because of my dark skin. Now it seems weird that I thought that way – blame it on low self-esteem.

Finding a matchMy parents soon started looking for a match for me. That's when my skin tone became a bigger issue. A few eligible bachelors and their families refused (politely, of course) to set up a meeting as they needed a fair bride.

After quite a few failed attempts at meeting men, who only seemed interested in how I looked or what they would get out of marrying me, one groom-to-be came to my place with his parents. They had heard that my parents were looking for a match for their daughter but hadn't seen my photograph. Bummer!

The 'click'To say that I wasn’t nervous would be a lie. No one likes being rejected especially for something they have no control over. I wanted to tell my parents to forget this morale punching exercise. But my father had told me early on and in very clear terms that he expected me to be married.

Gathering courage, I went out to serve our guests. The guy was good-looking, fair, educated and too good to be true. I somehow felt the click, I mean I liked him and he seemed to like me, or so I thought.

'She's too dark!'After they left, I waited for their response. They called us up within a week and decided to do an informal ceremony to declare us a couple. I was happy.

On the day of the ceremony, I heard some of his relatives murmur, “This doesn’t look like a good match.” Later that day, I got to know they had issues with me being dark.

I was way more qualified than he was but that didn't matter. People were judging us by our skin colour and I was the one falling short on expectations.

My princeI felt deflated. I wondered if I should have expected this from the beginning as it was too good to be true. I didn’t want to enter a household where I wasn’t accepted for who I was, skin tone and all. My father supported me and we went to talk to the guy and his family. We suggested not to go ahead with the wedding.

But guess what, the guy wasn’t a frog but a prince. He said he had liked me and people who complained about my skin tone were not really his family.

Those years seem like a bad dream now. We have been married for four years and we have a baby who's a year-and-a-half old. I am so glad that I didn’t compromise and my prince did come along.

(The person in the photo is not Tahini.)

Tell us Your Story about love, sex, relationships and everything in between. Email Love Matters. Skin colour - does it affect how attractive you are? What do you think about skin colour prejudice? Leave a comment below or on Facebook.

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