Friday, March 20, 2015

#1000speak - Bullied for being Dusky

Image Source: Oxford Dictionary

The word Bully was a term of endearment in the sixteenth century, the time of its origin. Read the above screenshot from Oxford dictionary website. But in real life, bullies all have a common origin. They all are unhappy creatures dealing with their own inner demons. They are often victims of bullying themselves, are frustrated with their own life, unhappiness is killing them or they simply don’t realize that their bullying badly effects people.

That does not justify in anyway the habit of bullying that people indulge in. I have faced bullies in my life and still face many. And yes, most of the bullies were insecure beings when I come to think of it now.

When I was in school, I was often called names by school bullies. I was the darkest in my class and I would be called names such as Adivasi (a dark skinned tribal). These bullies adopted this tactic when they were failing to achieve something because of me. I was good in sports. When I was about to win and someone passed a comment calling me an Adivasi, I would feel this weight weighing down my heart and all my enthusiasm and energy would evaporate. I eventually will lose the match.  I used to feel numb with pain. It was not a crime that I was born with a dark skin colour.

I didn’t have the courage to speak out or complain about these bullies to anyone. For the longest time, I cursed the skin I was born with. Then one day, a good friend of mine told me how much she admired my talents. I told her it didn’t matter because no one recognised me for what I was. I was merely the dark skinned girl who was always the target of bullies.

Her words still ring in my mind.

 “Have you noticed that the bullies who taunt you are good for nothing fellows? They are frustrated because you are winning while they are losing continuously. Why should you bother about the opinion of someone as mean and vile as those fellows?”

That was when I started to notice who my bullies were. The ones who called me Adivasi looked more like one than me! And these were fellows who never got good marks or excelled in any extracurricular activities. They were clearly jealous of me. Why should I even care about what they thought of me?

Still some of the hurt lingered but I learnt to turn a deaf ear whenever someone called me names. I was a pet with teachers as I was the best among the girls in my class in studies as well as good in co-curricular activities. I went on to become school vice-captain and Captain of my house many times.

The colour of my skin was an issue the entire time as I was growing up. What started in school continued later on, as the society took on the role of bullies one after the other. When it was time to put me on the marriage market, I often heard whispered talks between my worried parents that the boy who had come to ‘see’ me didn’t like me because of my skin colour.

Some marriage brokers even said it aloud in my presence. I cringed. But then I met my husband. He liked me for who I was. And that was a miracle as far as I was concerned. I guess it instilled a new confidence in me. He was a well-educated person, good looking and came from a good family. And love is capable of healing all wounds.

The colour prejudiced Indian society will never accept that we all are brown-skinned people. The fairest among us will still be called brown- skinned by the white- skinned foreigners. We have myriad shades of brown throughout our country and still we have this prejudice that fair-skinned girls are pretty. Dusky is dirty or ugly.

Will this attitude ever change?

All human beings love being appreciated. It is a weakness with everyone. If we laugh at people targeting their weakness, we are in fact rubbing salt to their already hurting wounds.

Over the time, I have faced bullying repeatedly but with every incident I have grown as a person. I have learnt to love myself more. I don’t need anyone’s opinion to make myself feel good anymore.

I believe firmly in Karma and I have seen bullies get bullied by greater bullies. So bullies, all the best for your act of bullying from my side. Because what goes around, eventually comes around my friend!

 This post is a part of #1000Speak- Building from Bullying Campaign


  1. The color prejudice is prevalent in many other parts of the globe too. However, having spent my childhood in India, I can relate to your story here. The color prejudice does not end at school or colleges. It carries on through the rest of adult life. It is such a mental conditioning.

    Glad you were able to find a way to ignore and more past the bullies.

  2. Oh yes. It is relentless in India. Like you said and I always keep telling my kids, when they can't match up to you, they try to pull you down. Good that you got over it. It is also a sad reflection of our society where not only kids but adults too do not hesitate in making racist statements to the face.

  3. True Rachna. People act so arrogantly some times and so idiotically when it comes to bullying. that is what makes them bullies any way.

  4. thank you for reading chatOverACuppa Blog. Yes, it is a torture, a burden that the bullies make us carry throughout our lives.

  5. It took me years to overcome my inhibitions just because of my complexion, Preethi.. And now that I have overcome it, I no more remember what is my skin color. All my focus is the color of feelings which should not be dark. This prejudice over color is so very wrong.. A major hindrance in having a loving world!!

  6. Same was the case with me Roohi Bhatnagar. And I too lived too long caught in my insecurities. But I guess this prejudice will prevail in our country until each of us learn to overlook the bullies and their comments.

  7. This obsession with the colour of one's skin is something I fail to understand...Makes me wonder what is so superior about fair skin? It's all science , isn't it? I'm sorry this happened to you...

  8. Reminds me of my experience when i curled my hair in school and some of my batchmates started calling me a Negro. Btw, my complexion is also not fair.

    But then i learned to not worry about what others thought of me. And over the years, i have become a bit humorous and take such things lightly.

  9. It is an obsession I too fail to understand. Thanks for reading Nabanita. :)

  10. Yes, I too learnt to ignore the bullies over the years. But many kids still undergo such trauma and it effects their personalities if they don't learn to ignore these racist comments and taunts.
    Glad that you overcame the bullies easily.

  11. The funny thing is Indians would give anything to be fair like the foreigners, and the foreigners spend their time getting fake spray-on tans! Grass - other side.............

  12. Why bother about skin-colour or about ignorant silly people?
    Their eyes can't recognize your talents! Your creativity sets you apart, Preethi!
    Be blessed :)

  13. I'm glad that you have taken all that harassment positively. Yes, it never fails to stun me why we Indians are so obsessed with fair skin!!

  14. A lot of cultures are obsessed with having light skin. I am half Japanese, but was born and raised in Canada, and like a bit of color! When I went to Japan, women would ask "How did you get your skin so white?" and didn't get it when I told them I was half white. LOL. I'm sorry you were the brunt of such unkindness, but you have the right spirit. Rise above and let karma get the bullies. : )

  15. Sad but true...sometime people pay far more important to how you look :( Thank you for sharing :)

  16. It's really sad that you were picked on for your skin colour. But it's great that you have been strong enough to overcome this.

  17. Very well written- Happy that you were able to come out of the bullying experience retaining poise and confidence!