Here is a call for action. I am not asking for money. In fact, I’m asking you to SAVE some.

I am beyond fed up with the bl***y colour crusade. If it’s not fairness, it’s lightening, brightening, or some such bullsh*t lotions and potions.

I know that many of us are closet users. In a group, we would all talk about how the colour of our skin doesn’t matter, but when we see the next crap advertisement, it at some level does.

Now if it’s just my self esteem or that of my peers, it wouldn’t upset me so much. It’s the effect these have on my daughter – O, and children of her age.

Every time one of these ads crop up on television, for my benefit, O parrots back to me my lecture: “Colour of your skin does not matter, no amma? Being fair is not being beautiful, no amma? Being happy and smiling is what makes us beautiful, no amma?”

And with every ‘no amma’, her eyes go back to the TV. There are messages far stronger than mine that are influencing her — if not in the media, then it’s her friends who talk about dark equals ugly, about how the fair classmates are ‘pretty’. We can probably still ignore this as child talk — but the parents turn out to be real scary.

One parent I met, mourned and groaned about how she wished her daughter, instead of her son, had been ‘blessed’ with lighter skin. I was seething: how I wish the children had been ‘blessed’ with a saner mother!

More than one person has asked R & me how O or N turned out fair (or fairer than us, because the two of us are totally brown).  ‘A tablespoon of bleach with milk, through the pregnancy,’ is what I offer as advice and answer.

Now, back to the potion-trap.

We all find excuses to fall for it – ‘my skin is dull, it’s not to become fairer’ or ‘it’s for the spots, not for the skin colour’…

I am not passing judgments here, especially since I’ve spent enough hours rubbing lemon on my neck and potatoes on my face, in my teens.

Anyways, it’s not about self esteem alone; it’s about the health hazards these lotions pose. The chemicals, bleach, metal that constitute the ‘skin lighteners’.

I can’t fight Hindustan Lever, John Abraham, Preity Zinta and Dhoni (why the heck does this guy need to be fair skinned?!).

All I want is a dozen mums or aunts or sisters to swear off these products to set an example to the little girls in their life. Just a dozen and I would be content.

Let’s do this:

Line up all the lotions in your shelf – am sure hidden amongst the foundations and moisturisers is a bottle or two self-esteem-murdering, elixir-of–false-promises. Pick up those tubes or tubs, and bin it.

I had this bottle on my shelf. A Nuxe brightening cream that was sent along with a PR, and which I did use a couple of times. It’s now wrapped in N’s dirty diaper and put to rest.

Next, either on a sticky post if your blog allows it, or on the header, or somewhere on your page, put up something on these lines: ‘TODAY I DID NOT WASTE MONEY ON A FAIRNESS PRODUCT’ or ‘TODAY I PROTECTED MY SELF ESTEEM FROM A FAIRNESS CREAM’  or any message that fits your thoughts best.

We owe this to our daughters, nieces and sisters. We owe it to ourselves.

The day the line goes missing, maybe a few of us will take the effort to pass on a reminder again.

To kick off my little campaign, I am tagging those of you with little girls in your life. So that’s TEESU, DEEPS, INBA, SHYAM, SOLILO, MMWORDJUNKIE, SANGI, SINDHU, APARAJITA, LAKHS, and the rest of the YOUs who believe strongly enough in this.