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Now I have heard, rather seen, everything. Hopefully there isn’t much more. Come to think of it, there seems to be no more places to go. So with any luck, this will be the last one has to see on that front. Rather cryptic, huh? Let me elaborate.

In recent times I have been laughing myself silly watching the repeated telecast of an ad where the husband stands transfixed, then walks as if in a trance towards his wife, at the sight of, hold your breath, her fairest of fair underarms. Underarms? I mean, really?! But yeah, fair underarms are the latest it seems in flooring your guy.  All you have to do is start using the particular deo-spray with its magical ingredient and voila, fair underarms are yours to flash at whichever man you wish to captivate.

Till recently they (the Fairness-Sellers) had us believe that fair faces alone would do the trick each and every time and get us whatever we wanted. Obviously that did not include the moon (What anyone would do with a moon with no place in the drawing room to proudly display the prized catch is a moot point), but lesser things like hordes of admiring fans, that fatuous moron (though why anyone would want him unless it is to kick him in the seat of his pants is similarly debatable) who gave you the cold shoulder while your complexion had been of a darker shade but who now is only too eager to officiate as the new boy friend , as also the ability to steal any job for which you may be under-qualified right from under the noses of the more deserving. But fair faces as of now are passé.

Or perhaps they mean to tell us that there are men made of a sterner stuff altogether, who are not so easily tempted by the fair face and need somewhat more substantial proof of fair skin to be shaken out of their lethargy. What better way than to dazzle the man out of his indifference with underarm-charms? But tell me once again, because the reason seems to elude me, WHY is tempting & keeping the man THE goal of a woman? While at it also tell me why men are shown as these imbeciles who go into a trance when confronted with fairness, unless of course it is for their dear Momma, who is eagerly waiting for her dear fair DIL to make an appearance and serve her (fairer DILs make better slaves?) and in her spare time (the DIL’s) spawn fair grandkids for her (the MIL) to show off to the world. Anyways…

How long before women are going to raise their eyebrows ever so suggestively at the dark armpits of the men? Like the woman in another of those idiotic ads who sticks her tongue out, metaphorically speaking, at her man because the pale band on his ring finger reveals the fact of his tan. Shame, shame puppy shame. It is made abundantly clear to us that she herself has been faithfully lathering herself with fairness lotions, hell bent on making the Fairness-Sellers laugh all the way to the bank with their sacks full of easy money, and so has a tan free finger, or so the ads have us believe. Perhaps even as I speak, the Fairness Sellers are gearing up to fulfil their sacred duty of providing women with Men of Fair-Underarms.  It won’t be long before some stinking rich star, made even more richer by doing the ad, comes singing and dancing on our television sets, advising the men not to use the sister’s or wife’s underarm sprays. Girly stuff. Chee, chee. Buy your own totally macho underarm-whitening deo-spray. Once the campaign is under way,  the Fairness Sellers will all promptly go home and tell their families to pack their bags because the stupid public have been duped to donate for their next luxury holiday on the Moon.

One must be fair (not in skin) about these Fairness Sellers and accept that they are resourceful chaps. After targeting face, neck, hands, feet and underarms and successfully making the consumers part with their money, did they simply rest on past laurels? No siree. Like the proverbial eager beavers, they moved on in search of new pastures to lighten and whiten, and what a pasture they found! An as yet unexplored territory, a patch of skin steeped in mysterious darkness. The last of the virgin areas was in danger of being touched (errr… figuratively of course) by the Fairness Sellers and bestowed blinding whiteness upon it that the Indian masses so adore.

Ladies and gentlemen, presenting to you the ‘intimate wash’ that makes your pubic area not just clean and fresh, but FAIR.  Ohh la la la. The last of the bastions have fallen to the fairness giants. Watch the model who was so depressed to start with. She sits brooding, for her man wasn’t biting. He wasn’t interested in exploring the mysteries of the darkness she had to offer.  Enter Fairness Sellers with useless suitable product to conquer the last of the hidden areas, lighting it all up. Now the man can roam fearless in fairness (read whiteness). In high spirits she prances around, hiding the keys, daring her man to leave her. You bet the guy is not gonna make it to the meeting today. He is totally besotted, under the spell of the white-washed nether regions. Hmm.. I am left wondering how ANY work will get done at this rate in any of the offices..

At last, with all the dark regions having now been cleared of darkness by the Fairness Sellers, unless of course they plan to whiten hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, irises, lips and such too, it looks like they have reached a dead-end.  So with any luck, this will be the last one sees on the fairness front for the time being. Wait a minute, what about the dark male regions? You can’t expect women to adjust to that surely! Let’s wait and watch if the Fairness Sellers take enough interest to suggest white-washing for the men and whether it sells. But who am I kidding? The Fairness Sellers will rise again with new and improved versions of their products, with fresh lime, oranges, aloe vera, gobbledygook, thingummybob, whatnots, whatsits and more. The suckers will queue up to stock them with dreams of fairness shining in their feverish eyes. Sigh, it is never going to end.

Let me tell you what happened the other day. I gave my domestic help a few of the lotions and creams (brand new) I had with me thinking she might like to have them. Cosmetics are generally loved by women. Being a lazy woman I stayed as far from lathering and creaming and lotion-ing as I could get. But what does she, a real beauty with a dark skin tone have to tell me in reply?

Chechi, we use only Fair and Lovely.”

I gathered up the bottles of creams and lotions (none of them were whiteners) and quietly slunk away to my room. Imagine what she must have thought of me. Ignorant dodo of a Chechi, passing off useless stuff on me. The world is running the fairness-race and instead of competing, she (the dodo) has wilfully chosen to fall by the wayside. Anyways, suitably humbled, I returned to my dear blog-world to draw sustenance from reading blogs of like-minded people who spoke against the fairness craze. Ahhh I felt safe, loved and understood.

The Fairness Sellers might think we are ALL fools. Their surmise is right when it comes to the majority of the fairness-deifying junta who would rather be fair than eat well. Don’t even talk about the ill-effects these creams and lotions have on your skin because you won’t have an audience. After all we all believe in fairy tales, in babas who can produce ash from thin air, idols that drip water or drink milk as the case may be. So why am I surprised at the junta that believes dark skin would miraculously turn fair with creams, sprays and such magical stuff? I am thankful that at least some of us can see through the master plan of Fairness Sellers, that of enriching themselves at our cost. I wish people would realise that there is only one fairness cream that works: Photoshop.

(Thank you for sending me this pic Hrishi)

Before I wind up, here is something to ponder upon. Vivek said to me,

“I was sitting at a restaurant with my wife and there was this German kid playing around. I remarked how she looked like a doll…and then I also continued, why wouldn’t she look like a doll to me? All dolls I know are fair-skinned with blue/green eyes. Why don’t they make brown-skinned dolls or yellow ones?”

Updated to add relevant posts:

Fair and Lovely? – Smitha

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who in the land is fairest of all? – Deeps

Digitally dark and lovely – Suranga 

‘Fair’ is just a four letter word…. - Suranga

Fairness down there – RajK

The unfairness of being fair - Purba Ray