I knew before I left home to come to Mumbai that I would be stared at… for many different reasons. I’m actually used to it. When you stand out like a sore thumb for whatever the reason- in this case I’m a minority as a Black chick in India, depending on your audience you learn to deal with it. In the audience of kids, I just smile.
I’ve previously worked in Early Learning programs where kids have literally just entered the country a few days before walking into my playroom and I could tell by the look on their face that they had very few encounters- if any at all, with Black people. They stare. Some stare hard. When I think back to these times…
…I have to laugh cause kids are the most honest humans you’ll ever meet.
Like I said I’m used to it. But I have to admit walking into work (school) the first couple of weeks here reminded me of what it’s like to be an outsider- not that I’ve forgotten…no, not at all. But it was a reminder of one of the marked identifiers that society has come to understand as ‘difference’. The color of skin and everything that comes along with that…culture, hair texture, accent…
Kids stared. I just smiled.
Some people on the street stare. I always keep walking. Most times I smile. Sometimes I stare back to be honest… in a friendly kind of way- if that’s even possible lol.
It does get tiring after a while… being stared at. Lawd! (patois). Geez (English slang).
In India the color of your skin… honestly, it’s a sad story for some… the shade of ‘brown’ really matters to some people. Now it may not be something that the majority of the population cares about, but by virtue of the fact that there are public figures as spokespersons for skin bleaching creams on infomercials… is appalling. Beauty- and yes, the idea of being beautiful, is talked about in the same sentence as bleaching your entire body! I don’t know what percentage of the population bleaches their skin, it could be a very small minority but commercials of this nature are another example of how much we are influenced by others.
On the flip side, the shades of India are beautiful! There are many, many different shades of ‘brownness’ and it’s beautiful.
When I reflect on this, I think about the fact that there are parts of us that make us unique.
When I think of myself, it’s the fact that as a Black person the curl pattern of my hair is very unique and while it could be similar, it is not identical to anyone else on the planet! As much as it is a pain in the arse to comb my hair (I don’t know if I’ll ever ‘figure out’ my natural hair lol), it’s one of the things that is inherently unique about me. I pray some day I can tame it in its natural state, effortlessly. lol
In society there are so many distractions that have nothing to do with how productive we are at home or at work. What we wear, our makeup, our hairstyle, fortune…or lack thereof, the pursuit of materialistic desires is one that never ends.
What are you currently pursuing, that when you really sit down and think about it, it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things? It’s not about not wearing makeup anymore or giving away your riches to the poor. We are all materialistic is some way. It sucks, but it’s truth.
It’s about not doing those things that makes you less productive as a person.