“Be chary about laughing at others, for you never know when you have to eat crow!”
- Anurupa Cinar
Hi, Everyone! Growing up, one thing was very obvious to me that in my community a light colored skin was very coveted. Never was there an instance of where the words “gora/gori” (light-skinned) was not included in any description of beauty!
Skin color is a God-given thing, and always seemed immaterial to me as a consideration for anything, including beauty. Skin-color is also a matter of perspective. Take my skin color for example; I am brown-skinned, light-skinned, or yellow-skinned depending on who is describing me.
Anyway, point of writing this is that I am not in agreement with this fascination with the “light-colored skin.” I have memories of teasing my mother, quite unmercifully, when “gora” or “gori” came into her descriptions.
And yet what did I do when it came to giving a physical description to my Keshu (in my novel Burning for Freedom)?
Before I knew it, I was typing out: light-skinned, tall, muscular . . . ! Not only that, I went whole hog and gave him light-colored hair and light-colored eyes too!!
How I laughed at myself! After all these years of making fun of others for their “gora” obsession, here I was running true to type. And I couldn’t talk myself out of it, either.
Having given Keshu the typical Chitpavan Brahmin coloring, I was happy to find, though, that it was very convenient in developing my plot line. It was a very, very useful for the revolutionary plot and in developing the gay molestation scene as well as well as in a frivolous scene I wrote in the Andaman days that just flowed out of my mind without planning.
That’s my justification and I’m sticking to it!
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