Monday, April 15, 2024

Bruised and Discriminated

Written By Swara Jhunjhunwala (Grade 9)

For all those who need a little more confidence, including me. The world is a kaleidoscope, and I am the darkest hue meandering it.

I am my own enemy. I hate myself. I despise every inch of me. Especially, my burnt skin and sheer display of my race, promenading around with shameless identity. A day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations and I am the darkest hue existential, my blackness proliferating with each passing moment. Every time I catch sight of myself, an all-powerful, vortex of loathing and resentment overwhelm me. Yesterday in particular, I underwent such a sentiment when I accoutred myself in the lightest hues that I could find but that put into even more prominence, my grotesque dark skin.

I adorned my gauzy veil with as much vanity as I could muster, succeeding in hindering my face. I was light-footed as I sauntered casually down the street, my eyes focused and fixated on the pavement. Even in one of the most secure places for people like me, I had to keep a low profile. The marketplace was pervading with white people, Gods, in my eyes. Their skin was so rich and pure, not a blemish demarcating it. I will go against everything that I root for by claiming this, but I longed to be them; to not be dark and bruised anymore, but a nightingale, free of shackled hands.

There are days when I feel infinitesimal, a black candy amid the coloured ones, desolated, solitary and deserted. Sometimes I feel as though not only mortals, but God too has abandoned me, left me to thrive alone in the midst of a cruel, heartless world. Inconsequentiality pierces through me like a jagged dagger, killing all other emotions, till my heart is empty, vacant, devoid of any feeling.

The much-coveted bangles had a long waiting of about fifty people. I was at the front, standing behind another one of those beautiful people. A man in his early thirties I should say, probably shopping for his girlfriend perambulated to the front. Now, the law stated that I had to bow and step back to make way if such an event was to occur but not once have I had the obligation to. I wanted to look like them, but respect for them, I had none.

He jeered at me, his eyes dark pools of bleakness, peering into my soul. I do not know what foolishness I suddenly possessed, it took me too by surprise. Just as he attempted to stand in front of me, I blatantly refused, my tone flat and binding. I instantly regretted it and rebuked myself for my thoughtlessness, my unscrupulous action. For a split second, everything was okay. He just stared at me unbelievingly, but no words were uttered from the disgruntled droop of the corners of his mouth. Optimistically, I thought that he was, perhaps, a kind soul, a kindred spirit and that I should not have judged him so harshly by his countenance. I could not have been more wrong.

When I observed the mortification in his face transform into vengeance, I could predict what was coming. I raised my arms to protect my face, but he was too quick. He struck me hard.

“Am I just a withered flower, or a drenched flame?
Or am I a pompous display of discomfiture, the epitome of self-depravity or shame? Am I a vulture, with ravenous, hungry hands?
I shall never know, unless I take a stand.”

My brain advised me to relent, but my heart commanded otherwise. Every man has limits; I cannot just stand there and watch him demolish people like me. For once in my life, I fought back. I did not slap him back but oh, what I did was so much worse. I punched him, right in the gut. Not just a trifling punch, rather an avalanche of punches. And then I fled, trying not to think of the consequences that would inevitably follow.

The numbness was rubbing in inchmeal, caressing my inner passions till all that was left were thoughts of the day pervading my mind. By the time I reached my tucked away abode, polluted raindrops had commenced falling, disturbing the previous tranquillity of the sky. Twelve hours ago, I would have found a deep sense of solidarity in those fleeting drops of rain, but now? I glanced at them admiringly, appreciating of how they bore their fate uncomplainingly, resiliently. A drop fell on the windowsill and I fondly caressed it, lovingly even. I had spent sixteen years of my life drunk in self-loathe and misery, those evil feelings coursing through my veins like poison injected in my bloodstream. And I was done with it, done with bleeding self-pity and resentment. The thought filled me with resilience like a molten blade plunged seething into water.

I am black, and I am proud of it. I am proud of the beautiful, significant colour that runs through my blood because without it, life will be inexistent. I love myself and nobody in this world can deprive me of that powerful love or vehement reverence I feel towards myself, nobody.

I will not allow it. Not anymore.

Featured Image Courtesy – Freepik


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