Here she comes again, Nalini, the great idiot! Looking at me with that horrible frown, disdain and resentment writ large on her face, as always. I can hear her thoughts about me, like a broken record, trying hard to dent my confidence.
“Such dark skin? Can’t it have been lighter?”
“Eyes are too deep set for my liking.”
“Overly wide smile looks horrible revealing terribly aligned teeth!”
“Look at the nose! Crooked as ever. Ugh!”
“Such thick arms that always need to be covered! Impossible to carry off sleeveless tops and blouses!”
I don’t understand why she hates me so much. I’m so beautiful. My dark skin is smooth like mahogany. Feel it, and you’ll know!
My eyes are like black orbs floating on a pool of ivory white. I know so many men who’ve lost themselves in it.
My elegant nose stands out, the slight crookedness adding a mysterious aura to my face. My full mouth almost touches my ears when I smile in happiness. More often than not, my eyes twinkle with joy when my lips break out into a smile. Many people have told me that.
My hands are delicately balanced between slimness and softness. I don’t have a problem wearing sleeveless tops. If she does, it’s her problem.
The lovely purple-and-teal georgette saree with stunning kantha work that I’m wearing today shows off my curvy figure.
My long legs carry my body with confidence, and I know for a fact that my curves look great when I wear jeans and a simple embroidered top. Even the other day, her sister commented on it.
But whenever Nalini sees me, she literally growls in anger and all her negative thoughts emerge uncontrolled like the agony of acid reflux. She’s so dumb, I swear!
What’s her problem with me? She can turn her eyes away if she wants!
Her sister walks in at this moment, a bubbly, happy girl.
“You’re looking lovely! The colour of your saree accentuates the dark brown of your eyes. People will not be able to take their eyes off you,” she said, hugging Nalini, and looking at me admiringly.
“Hmph! You know I don't like that patronizing attitude. I don't need your pity. I know I’m not as good-looking as you!”
“C’mon, akka. You are smart and gorgeous, inside-out. Stop demeaning yourself like this.”
“You don’t know what it’s like to be dark. You’ve got Amma’s “fair” genes,” Nalini retorts, and leaves the room. Her sister follows, her face filled with sadness as she sees me retreating into my invisible corner.
As usual, I’m left alone, waiting in hiding until Nalini returns to see me, her soulless reflection stuck in the mirror. If I was in the real world, I’d happily thrash her and put some sensible positivity into her.
Akka – elder sister
Kantha – embroidery work famous in West Bengal, Odissa, and a few other states