A few days ago, we received this narrative – a blog penned by Jita Susan Jacob. Jita shares from her life what she had to go through as a child and talks on a sensitive subject.
Jita Susan Jacob, an engineer by qualification, works in Bengaluru. She initially started dabbling in poetry writing in first grade due to her mother’s encouragement. Her parents are settled in Trivandrum, Kerala.
Her mother, Jolly Susan Jacob, holds a Master of Arts in Philosophy. As the family had migrated to Saudi Arabia in the early eighties, her mother quit her job and chose to be a home maker owing to lack of day care facilities. She is actively engaged in church activities, has a flair for interior design, is a wonderful cook and is ever ready to help people.
Not Fair But Lovely
“ I was a naughty and talkative child, who could never be pinned down to a corner. Like any other child – my outlook was broad and positive, my thoughts untarnished by the cares and prejudices of the world.
One afternoon, I wept silently. I had just wrestled my friend down in a regular playful fight, and to get the better of me, he told me, “You are so black. No one likes you.”
Like a jigsaw puzzle, I felt the pieces come together and form a pattern. Patterns, that I was oblivious to until then, started dawning on me. I was the darkest amongst all cousins, and most classmates. I was never selected to present the flower bouquet to the chief guest at a school function or ever given the role of a fairy in the class drama.
For the second grader in me, the path ahead was a dead end. The endless sky now had a ceiling. I cried, hating myself and my dark skin.
My mother later found me hiding under the study desk. She cajoled me into telling her what happened.
After she heard me out, my mother asked, “Do you like Dr. Madhu?”. I looked at my mother incredulously. My mother was asking me such an odd question. Did she really understand my grief? My parents had met Dr. Madhu initially through a regular consultation visit, and our families had soon became close friends.
“Yes, I like her. She is very kind.” I whispered.
“Have you noticed she is not fair?”, my mother asked me.
“No”. My eyes grew wide in sudden realization. In all the years I had known her, pretty much since I was a baby, I had never noticed she was dark. All that came to mind when I thought of her was her caring and kind nature.
“You told me you like the actress in the song ‘Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai’, right?”, my mother continued. At times, we used to rent video cassettes compiling hit Bollywood songs from previous decades. I had recently watched a compilation from the 60s and 70s, and had fallen in love with the actress.
“Yes, she is very beautiful.”, I replied.
“Do you know that she is not considered to be as fair as the other actresses? Yet she was a very popular actress in her times.”, said my mother.
She was so graceful that it had never occurred to me she was not as fair as the other actresses.
I smiled. Pretty soon, I was skipping down the hallway, humming to myself.
My mother had conveyed a complex message to her second grader child in a very simple manner.
What she told me back then made me understand my worth and prepared me to face similar instances several years later during my school, college, corporate and social life, without blinking an eye.”
We thank Jita for sharing this lovely life experience with us. It connects with all those who might have gone through something similar and perhaps brings a point yet again to sensitize in making the society less obsessed on what colour we possess.
Featured in the image- Jita with her mom – A nostalgic memory shared.