IT’S NOT FAIR: Lopa Saikia

Beauty is more than skin-deep; it is an inner attribute and it is eternal.

TEXT: NAMITA GUPTA

PHOTOGRAPHS: LUCKY MALHOTRA

We live in a country that’s obsessed with fair skin. While millions of people across the world, envy our brown skin and crave for it, we Indians are still basking in the so-called beauty associated with whiteness. It’s bizarre that even in today’s day and age, people are stereotyped based on their skin colour, not only in India, but across Asia and even Africa. #ItsNotFair, a concept close to fashion and lifestyle photographer Lucky Malhotra’s heart, is also something RITZ Magazine stands by with complete conviction.

So, what’s #ItsNotFair all about? “I have seen this discrimination happening around with women specially where they’re made to believe that being fair is of utmost importance. Once when my nine-year-old daughter wanted my permission to attend a birthday party of her classmate and could not recollect who it was by her name, she described her saying the one who is very fair. That line hit me and I asked her if she liked her own complexion? Although she said yes, I kept thinking about this for a while and soon started this campaign with the hashtag #ItsNotFair. Parents and the society are to be blamed as this thought creeps into a child’s mind because of them. If we are all encouraging in teaching our younger generation that taking care of one’s skin is more important than the colour of the complexion, I feel there would probably be no issues and it would help them grow up with confidence. Even the schools should take up this initiative, as I see lot of bullying happening around based on complexion. Even teachers should take this up and not favour students who are fair, giving them prominence in stage performances and breaking their confidence. Also, some North Indians discriminating South Indians is not fair. South Indians are blessed with great skin and they should be proud of it. Judging anyone based on their skin tone is demeaning. Even such matrimonial ads should be banned. Women are not commodities,” shares Lucky Malhotra, award-winning photographer, who has over 15 years of experience shooting for some of the top-notch brands, celebrities, campaigns, designers, hospitality, sports personalities, corporate heads and more.

Lopa Saikia, Founder and Owner, Pawbar Pet Studio, Indiranagar

Your thoughts on being dusky in a country like India where people are obsessed with fair skin: India’s obsession with fair skin is well known and deep – rooted. Colour prejudice is widespread and practiced across the country. I will partly

blame it on our women, because they lack confidence to embrace their skin colour. Since childhood, I never had an encouraging environment since childhood, nevertheless, I made it through! Today, I find that there is awareness in the upper classes of society. But we have a long way to go before it percolates down to every strata of our society.

Concept of itsnotfair, what it means to you and how you took being dusky in your stride: #ItsNotFair is a brilliant concept with an effort to present dark skinned girls in a beautiful manner. It takes intelligence, persistence and hard work to be successful and not the colour of the skin. To many people childhood memories are always cherished! We all talk about and imparting education on giving a child a happy hood! Most of them are lucky but some go through a disturbed upbringing and so have I. I was born to a well-educated – affluent family, but this never assured a happy childhood. I faintly remember, my LKG admission where I was looked down upon and my parents and cousins were sure that I will not make it to the best school in town, not because I was less intelligent, only because I was fat, dark and ugly. But to my good luck I made through. After completing post-graduation, I joined a reputed Pharmaceutical company as an Assistant Manager HR. This was the beginning of my corporate journey where I had my own share of ups and downs but made it through with hard work. When I wanted a break, quitting my job as Sr Manager HR and change in my work life, I decided to do something on my own. That’s when I decided to foray into Pet Grooming and the journey so far has been good. I no longer have to deal with people who judge me by my colour. What matters is that I love myself and am now so much more confident than what I was.