Filmstars should be ASHAMED of promoting fairness creams
Shah Rukh Khan, John Abraham, Surya, Preity Zinta and Priyanka Chopra are all cheating youngsters by endorsing skin-lightening products, says A Ganesh Nadar. Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh
It seems that the fairness industry is worth two billion US dollars per year in Asia alone and the anti-aging industry half a billion dollars. It is just catching on. As we have the youngest population in the world, its obvious why this industry's time hasn't really come -- yet.
Let us start with the birth of a baby. My wife has this bad habit of examining babies' ears. She says, "All babies look fair when they are born, the real complexion can be seen by looking at the ears." This gives new meaning to the term 'all ears'.
If the baby is fair, my wife never comments, but if the baby is dark she always sympathises with the mother. It doesn't matter that she herself is dark, her mother is dark and I am sure most of her ancestors were equally dark.
'My wife is very proud that our daughter is slim, tall and fair'
In the days of arranged marriages, my dad told me about my future wife. "Our family has ten kids and her family has nine. She has grown up in a big family, so she will easily adjust in ours." That was his criteria for choosing a bride; he did not look for slim, tall and fair. The marriage has lasted 28 years and we are still going strong.
My wife is very proud that our daughter is slim, tall and fair. So she's suitable for the thousands of ads that appear in the Sunday papers, but she would not have gained my father's approval -- she has grown up alone.
My daughter also spends a lot of her money on fairness creams. She does not heed my advice that all chemicals damage the skin. I have also assured her that as Dravidians we are supposed to be dark. The fairness obsession is a hangover from our colonial mentality, when we thought the white man superior because he was the ruling class.
'I am very dark and very proud of it'
I am very dark and very proud of it. It has made me unforgettable. I have met people after decades and they remember me because in a white-dominated society I am totally black. And with the fairer sex it's a total hit, they are all tender and loving. How can you be rude to a black man?
Then this selling of anti-aging creams. "My husband loves me since I started using this particular cream, as I look younger." What utter crap! I love my wife because she has aged along with me. Growing old together has its own charm. Why should my wife look younger everyday? In fact if she bought that outrageously priced cream which costs Rs 150 for ten grams, I would love her a lot less for the dent in my purse.
'With the opposite sex, age wins every time'
And with the opposite sex, age wins every time. You can say the most obnoxious things and get away with them. What would get a younger man a tight slap gets a humorous smile when a grey old man does it.
Let me give you an example. I blew a kiss at a younger colleague in the office. She smiled and returned it with a twinkle in her eye. A younger colleague imitated my actions, much against my advice. Her reaction: "You are overworked and underpaid! You need psychiatric care which you cannot afford! Why don't you take an appointment and I will pay the bill!" The poor guy still hasn't recovered five years later. Now he doesn't blow kisses anywhere. He is waiting to grow old.
'It doesn't help if you are young and fair, but not available to a friend when he needs you most'
The first impression is not always the best one. Your looks may help you grab a little attention at first. After that, it's what you are that matters. How you react to people. How you deal with a problem. How you behave in an emergency. All of it goes a long way in making friends and influencing people.
It doesn't matter if you are dark or old and it doesn't help if you are young and fair, but not available to a friend when he needs you most. A wife is needed like a minister when she advises you, a mother when she feeds you and a seductress when she is in bed with you. Who cares if she is fair and young? Dark, old and loving wins every time.
'The king of them all is an old, dark, balding Rajinikanth'
Shah Rukh Khan, John Abraham, Surya, Preity Zinta, Priyanka Chopra should be ashamed of themselves for cheating the young people in this country by promoting fairness creams. Let them remember that the king of them all, the badshah acknowledged by none other than Amitabh Bachchan, is not a young and fair hero but an old, dark, balding Rajinikanth.
So throw away those creams, don't fall for those stupid ads. Remember that beauty is not skin deep. It's much more. It's who you are that is really important, not how you look.
Fairness and youth are fine when they're natural. In the same manner, dark and old are also fine as a natural progression. So let that grey hair grow, let that dark skin glow and the people who really matter will love you as you are and not what a damn cream makes of you.