Grass is always greener in the other person’s plate

Okay, this title was just an unsuccessful attempt to be funny. It is the combination of an English and a Hindi proverb which basically mean the same thing. The Hindi proverb is translated as “The laddoo (a sweet, round, very yummy treat) in the other person’s plate is always bigger than the one in yours.”

We took a trip to one of the Lake Michigan beaches on the Labor Day weekend. Seeing all the people trying to get some tan made me think about this. On one hand, people with the perfect fair skin are trying to turn it dark. On the other hand, people with perfect tones of dark, are trying to turn it white by applying all kinds of “fairness creams”.

Everyone who has grown up in India would remember seeing all those commercials on TV where a dark complexioned girl is shown having problems getting a groom (or a job as a TV show anchor), she starts using one of these fairness creams, turns fairer in 14 days (!!!) and voila, a price charming falls for her and selects her as his bride (or she gets that job)! I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds these commercials disgusting. They run major havoc on the self esteem of millions of girls who rub these creams on their faces day and night and hope to have the happy ending of the girl in the commercial. The only one getting happy anything is the cosmetics company.

Times have changed a lot now, but these commercials have still not ceased. In fact they have gone a step forward – in addition to “Fair and Lovely”, they now also have “Fair and Handsome” products (!!!).

Growing up, I was one of those girls. Can’t remember how many times I was told by so many well meaning people that if only I was fair like my brother or all the home remedies I should follow to turn into Cinderella… I tried the fairness creams too. But quickly understood the scam behind them. Even now, while visiting an Indian grocery store, I sometimes get tempted towards those aisles. But I know better, and living in the US has helped me appreciate what I have. I am not afraid of the sun anymore and don’t hesitate to get some more tan. Liberating!

Leads me to believe that we would all be much happier people if we start appreciating what we have been blessed with instead of looking at the other person’s laddoo.

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