Anupam has been in teaching for ten years, giving life training along with language training. She believes in the collective consciousness.
I Wish They Could See My Heart's Reflection
I am as dark as the dark cloud or carbon,
With black moles dissolved in my dusky skin,
I lost my hair while fighting with deadly cancer,
I am too skinny to be considered as a great figure;
Since the first season of my life, I tried to be humane
Behaving in the same way as was asked in lessons,
I learnt to be kind and generous filled with compassion,
And devoted every season to the needy companion.
I was shocked to notice my peers’ weird reaction
Who ignored my demeanour cursing my complexion,
They could see the ebony skin but not the glory within
Judging me with my extraneous looks but not my action.
I spent my life’s summer serving the ones in prison,
Trying to be their beacon light I stepped into autumn,
Still, to many fellow men, my black identity is in suspicion,
As to them, the mirror gives them my heart’s reflection.
A Story of Epiphany
Since my childhood, I have been trained the synonym of beauty as fair complexion. The advertisements of various cosmetics to get the fairer skin, the demand of the fair girls to get married, the critical comments for the ones having a dark complexion and finding the fair skin ruling on majority made me and many others like me believe that Fair is better.
I got various critical comments from my relatives, friends and even teachers.
"She is quite fair but not as much as ___________"
"She looks beautiful but could be better if she applies __________."
"With this face, she can be accepted by a few but not by everyone."
"She is better than her ________. She can get an easy approval for her marriage but what about _____________"
These words have got into my head to such an extent that a weird situation happened with me. I was staying with my husband in a remote area. He used to visit us only on Sundays. Rest of the days I had to spend managing our residence and my little daughter. We had a maid there who was as black as coal. I used to get scared with her in the beginning. I didn't let my little daughter go near her.
She spoke a very different language than us and we communicated in the sign language on various occasions. One day a child from the neighbour came to our place and gave a hard toffee to my daughter who was just ten months old. I didn't see him doing this as I was in the kitchen asking the maid to help me in cooking.
I came into the room and found that the little girl was not able to speak and it was clear that she had choked something. I asked that boy but he denied. I got panicked and didn't know what to do. I had never gone out all alone, didn't know about any doctor, I just started to cry like a helpless lady. That maid came and saw the thing, she went into the kitchen and got a glass of water. She gave water to the baby. Dumbfaced I kept on looking at the scene. Within one breath the little girl had the whole glass of water and soon vomited out which brought that choked chocolate out of her throat.
That was the day I was filled with love, respect and gratitude for that dark lady. I could see her real beauty in that. And since that, I never became a barrier in the relation of her and my little daughter. They became such good friends that talked for long hours and I couldn't understand the language of either of them.
Marley Dias: Isn't She Gorgeous?
An Inspiration for Many
I forgot the distinction of racial discrimination since the day I got a great lesson of love and affection. But I didn't know how to talk about that in the society where all the fairies, goblins and prince and princess are said to be of fair in complexion.
Then I got an inspiration from a ten-year-old girl who brought a sensation on twitter with her #1000BlackGirlsBooks in the year 2015. From her, I learnt that just a motive is required and the path is followed on its own. She had raised this question in public why there are no stories with black protagonists. She requested the people to start writing stories and novels with a black protagonist and then rest is history. More than thousands of stories were written and reported on that forum.
© 2020 Anupam Mitu