I had originally written this piece for a magazine based out of Dubai. The magazine will instead be publishing another feature article I wrote, for their upcoming issue. This piece was initially titled ‘In Pursuit Of Beauty.’

For a long time, I was not content. I was happy, yes, but I was not content.
I was 23 at the time. I had just graduated college. I was restless.
I wasn’t very pleased to have to move back to India after living abroad for quite a while.
I didn’t want to have to start waxing my arms again.
I didn’t want to have to come back to a society that embraced fair women because they were fair, and fair men because they had seemingly higher chances of financial success.
I didn’t want to have to come back to the stories and the aunties that infiltrated society with the notion that, a girl’s early twenties are to be rightly spent interviewing, and being interviewed by, tall, fair, handsome and cash flow positive, prospective soul-mates.
I didn’t want to have to come back to media that manipulated the ignorant masses into believing that fair is beautiful, that skinny is glamorous or that having luscious hair is the secret to a happy Indian marriage.
I didn’t want to have to come back to conversations where people are described first by one of their physical attributes and then by their talent or profession.
But I came back anyway. I came home. Life went on.
Beauty companies continued to cash in on women’s insecurities, while women continued to subject themselves to bullshit that suggests that empowerment lies in a perfect appearance.


The silence got louder. I became wearier. I grew determined to expose.
That hollow victory, in pursuit of beauty, an insatiable urge.
I wanted to learn, unlearn, educate and question, so that I could stimulate a dialogue backed up by awareness.
That’s when I began to write, secretly at first.
I liked how words could invoke emotion and how conversations could inspire change.
It was beautiful. It was powerful. It was transformational.

The more I read, the more I learned,
The more I observed, the more I heard,
And I didn’t like what I found.
This Indian obsession with skin color,
The belief that fair is lovely,
That being fair makes you more deserving,
Of love, of knowledge and of money.
This nonsensical notion,
We hold as the truth,
Is evidence of deeply embedded scars,
From when we were slaves and from when we were mute.
Freedom will be an illusion,
So long as we subscribe to propaganda,
That preaches white is superior,
Packaged in bottles funded by agenda.

This false conviction,
Of perfection equating to beauty,
Being promoted by influencers,
Being driven by greed.
Heavy with importance,
But with no moral sense,
These MNC’s and celebrities,
Laugh while they fleece.
We succumb to their photoshopped realities,
And fall prey to the biases they sell,
Is their conscience dormant?
Blinded by financial wealth?

I didn’t want to see society drown in an ocean of toxins,
Saturated with the crap they put in fairness creams,
To the hormones they pump in our chickens.
I wanted to open eyes,
To cut the strings that played us like puppets,
To peel the gimmicks,
And unveil marketing strategies that muffle our reasoning.
I wanted to make clear that beauty is subjective –
That made me content.

So I created my blog – The Beauty Reel,
To prove that I am no less or no more.
Though I have:
Skin color that embraces the sun,
Ambition despite being a woman,
Stretch marks that adorn my thighs,
Responsibilities because I’m human.
A podgy belly that doesn’t respond well to crunches,
Intelligence that can challenge,
Fine hair that has retired at an early age,
Determination to find balance.
Back fat that’s more stubborn than my dog,
Strength that can endure,
Dimpled bums that resemble the moon’s surface,
And ideals that evolve as I mature.
I am no less beautiful or no more.

We need one to free a few,
And then a few to free many,
From this oppression,
We need to rise,
And see that beauty is in every.

Click here, to know what the world thinks about beauty.
-If you’re in the mood for more stimulating content, check out my first piece here – The Power Of A Good Conversation.
-If you’ve been thinking of breaking free from mundanity and are looking for happier days, read this piece.
-If you want to read/watch more interesting content, check out the ‘Expand’ section by clicking here

India’s obsession with fairness

  • janani
    September 24, 2015

    Great post. Loved every bit of it… way to go girl

    • Ishika Sachdev
      September 26, 2015

      Awww thank you Janani. Hope you have a beautiful weekend! 🙂

  • Deepi
    September 16, 2015

    I love this post of of urs..especially the “I gotta wax my arms again”. And this thing about being fair is such a stupid concept to judge someone by 🙂 keep writing

    • Ishika Sachdev
      September 18, 2015

      Hi Deepi, Hope you’re well. Thank you for your kind words of appreciation. I’m so happy to know that you enjoyed the post. 🙂 Will keep writing and I hope you do check out my other posts and YouTube videos as well. Wish you a lovely day. Best, Ishika

  • Swagatika
    July 26, 2015

    Hey Ishika…totally i love with this article…I feel like somehow secretly u read my mind. I strongly agree with ur writing. Though I never studied outside of India. But ur approach towards beauty is worth appreciation. I’m happy that people like me exists in this planet 😛 🙂 . I can connect with u so well. Hope to read more from such a fantastic blogger and I must say U r a wonderful person too

    • Ishika Sachdev
      July 27, 2015

      Thank you so much for your appreciation and kind words Swagatika. Very happy to know that you connect with this piece. Looking forward to sharing more enjoyable and relatable content with you. Big hug, Ishika

  • NatBCo
    July 11, 2015

    Great piece Ishika!

  • rowena
    July 8, 2015

    Beautifully said! Some indian men are so in  favor of fair color.i hav a colleague whose cousin in law,a mother of 2 kids keeps hitting on him despite being elder to him and being married to his cousin bro…though he doesnt flirt with her …he does admire d attention.When i commented to him on how shes jus too old(n looks too old to be flirting) he jus says but she looks nice n fair…again wen asked him if he thinks shes really good looking…he repeats shes nice n fair…really!!!

    • Ishika Sachdev
      July 8, 2015

      Thank you, dear reader, for sharing this with me. Truly a sad state of affairs that our society subscribes to. Do share this piece with your friends and family in the hopes of creating awareness on this matter, so that we all begin to open our eyes to a kinder and more subjective perception of beauty.

  • shereen
    July 8, 2015

    i have dimpled bums pls let me know ur suggestions.

    • Ishika Sachdev
      July 8, 2015

      Hi! Honestly the best thing I can think off is to eat healthy and exercise. We all get cellulite but if our muscle weight is more than our fat weight then the amount we get will decrease. In the meanwhile, dry brushing and coffee scrubs do help to an extent! 🙂 Have a lovely day. Hugs, Ishika

  • Preetha
    July 7, 2015

    I have officially become ur fan Ishika.. I love wat u write wat u believe in and wat u are.. I don’t know u personally but am really happy that I have come across such a wonderful blogger.

    • Ishika Sachdev
      July 7, 2015

      Thank you SO much Preetha. Your appreciation means a lot to me. I am very happy to know that I have readers that connect with my beliefs and thought processes. I hope this like-minded community only grows. Have a lovely week. Hugs -Ishika

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