Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of “White Skinned Jobs” in India. A white obsession and fad which was earlier limited to just Bollywood or the ramp is spreading like whitefire oops wildwire to other serious professions too, and we gullible Indians, however widely travelled or well educated are voluntarily falling prey to it. We are infact, at the giving (in) end of it.
Fascination for white skin sees western women and men storm India, has made inroads into various professions, and has sparked an unprecedented colour divide. In a country that is continually announcing strides towards modernity, it’s simply startling that even professionals are stamped by their origin like cattle. We treat these goras and goris as mini celebrities, demeaning our own talent in the process. How does being white skinned and holding a foreign passport entitle you to a bigger pay check?
India White- Washed And How!!!
Picture this: A young 20 something, after spending three precious years at Oxford dressed in a turban, miming playing the violin, while saxophone music blares in the background at a BIG FAT wedding. And gullible-by-choice Indians applauding her performance by double measure as they would have of one of their own. “They get paid big bucks when they start and they walk in and swipe assignments from under our noses”, says a fellow performer.
Lately, I attended a wedding wherein the bride, a charming Indian beauty was being snubbed and literally bullied into giving in to make-up trends (perhaps trending in the U.S but yet to make their ‘somewhat late entry’ into India as did the Bold and the Beautiful episodes) The one on the other side, a make-up artist who’d flown in especially from L.A and was paid in dollars (if you please) for the over-the-top glam job done. And I kid you not, nobody dared utter a word of displeasure despite whispering about it to each other. Infact, the guy was spoilt rotten throughout the wedding.
Check out any e-shopping portal and a very common sight would be that of Russian models in saris and lehngas. Curiosity got the better of me and I actually checked with an educated (and evolved) designer friend since I had also stumped upon her ‘made in India’ creation by ‘Not-made-in-India’ models. Her reply was candid to say the least, “They draw more attention. More attention means more sales”.
A much sought after SAT tutor, wherein his coveted Harvard tag and his western origin (a combo which can make Indians go mad!) are both his trump cards asks for a fee double of what his Indian counterparts do with the same (or perhaps better) credentials, both in terms of teaching experience, qualification, scores achieved as well as university they went to. And people more than oblige! Many a herd in the hoity toity circles of South Delhi wait for this elusive guy to show up every six months, and gladly pay him through their noses. As if there is a preference while seeking admission into Ivy League Universities, for those who were taught by a white skinned tutor. Lo and behold, the scores seldom are as high as the fee or the market value is!
A gym instructor and a nutritionist at a gym has a fan following which is unparalleled. Why? Firstly, she is white skinned and obviously a magnet in herself for the opposite sex and secondly, because she’s doling fancy gyan on fancy diets which include fancy products (which obviously India doesn’t produce locally) and hence fancies all the more! A more genuine and well meaning Indian instructor offering easy to follow remedies and diets just looks on! This firang out earns many from her fraternity and if she were to chalk out her CV, ‘white skinned blonde’ would be one of the prominent key words, for sure.
A local Delhi guide who grew up in Delhi and knows his habitat like the back of his hand stands pitted against a white someone, who till yesterday was a backpacker dependent on the former someone such as the former person himself. the tragedy in this case is that not only do other western tourists trust a fellow westerner more, but so do the Indians. “An Indian, whose lived and breathed India can infact ‘guide’ you not just on the spots to visit but also the cultural differences, but sadly local people associate white skin with someone more professional”, says this not-so-white guide.
Mini Celebrities In Themselves!
A white brewer has specially been hired by a popular brewery in the Millennium City of Gurgaon, and believe us when we say the footfalls have increased manifold since he joined. Interestingly, his picture has been very strategically printed on the poster that stands tall outside the watering hole. The talented Indian chef is perhaps much more pivotal in bringing business their way, but, eh, he’s not such a celebrity, you see!
To give them their due, we got talking with some of these mini celebrities in themselves and were told as to why they ask for more money. It goes a little like this: “I’m from England, so it costs me more to buy a house in the UK than it costs an Indian to buy a house in India.” It’s a lazy, flawed and, frankly entitled, argument. We’re all living here, with the same exorbitant cost of living, and we’re all doing the same jobs par for par. Professionals should be paid what they are worth. Value is not inherent in skin colour or gender. And worth must come only from a person’s dynamism, skills, and knowledge; or we’re in danger of fooling ourselves into thinking we’re living in a civilised and evolved society.