There are tons of jewelery stores all over India. All the glamor, glitter, and gems are stark contrasts to the rugged roads and poverty-stricken lanes. Jewelery stores tower over the urban streets and bleak everyday life. While Indian women don themselves in colorful, almost-angelic sarees, men sport togas. Women love their earrings, rings, necklaces, and bracelets, all best in GOLD. Seriously, India’s ‘eternal love for jewelery’ is best represented by TLC’s new series Oh My Gold with Golden Girl Lisa Ray. The endless repeat of commercials became frazzling and oh-so-jaded.
Whenever I walked down the streets of India, I was amazed by the bright lights and ornate jewelery shops. Especially at nighttime, the luminescence radiating down the busy streets and lighting up the sky came from the grandly studded jewelery towers. Security guards manned the entrance for hours. Gates came down and securely locked all windows and doors. Jewelery stores are the revenue reapers in India, beautifying women and girls and burning men’s wallets to ashes.
After seeing a society that values gold, jewelery, and beauty, I think about how low-maintenance I am. No earrings because I have infection-sensitive ears, one of which has probably closed up already. I used to have toothpicks through my ears as a treatment regimen, as prescribed by mommy dearest. It was a painful (and awkward) ordeal, since people asked me “What’s that in your ears? ARE THOSE TOOTHPICKS?” and subsequently grimaced in telepathic pain. No necklaces because I wear a jade & gold one my mom gave me from my toddler days. No bracelet because I have a Swatch watch on one hand and a red/gold dragon piece of art on the other. No rings because I hate taking them off constantly, whether for showering or medical school classes. If someone were to present me with fine jewelery, it will have to be somehow more significant and meaningful than what I have. It’ll be a tough act to replace my current jewelery box.
You know how many face whitening creams and washes I’ve seen on TV since I landed in India? Funny thing, the first day I got there, I bought 2 face washes: Garnier Lightening Face Wash w/lemon extracts and Pond’s White Beauty. Later, while I was watching TV, I saw 2 different commercials that advertised those exact products! How coincidental…
Well, I cannot be immune to India’s obsession with white and light beauty. All Asians are like this too! I fell into Indian society easily and naturally. Hence, I came back to the states with barely a tan, even after my numerous seaside vacations. I covered myself well amidst the sweltering heat. I used an umbrella to block off the radiating sun. I used the whitening face wash, but I’m not sure if it had any tangible effects. It did not irritate my skin or cause any allergic reactions, so that was a positive sign.
Anyway, many commercials aired featuring whitening products and gorgeous, light-skinned Indians. It was almost unnatural for them to be that white. I was pretty sure the lighting and retouch function gave them the white, radioactive glow.
And this commercial, is absolutely shocking… this is how much Asia values ‘whiteness.’
Whiteness is the standard of beauty in India, just like China, Japan, and Korea. There were several commercials that were clearly from China, but dubbed in English with an Indian accent. It’s only in America where people frolic in the sun and seek the burnt, tanned appearance. The bronze, smoky look is considered stunningly beautiful. To me, that’s plain ugly and disgusting. The sun’s dangerous rays will only accelerate the aging process and make you look leathery, wrinkled, orange, and moley. How the hell is that attractive?
The dermatologists are getting their money’s worth of patients, and hence they get paid so much in the field. It’s certainly no comfort that tanning salons are hot spots for young women and skin cancer is still on the rise.
There’s a reason why Asians and Indians appear more youthful and good-looking – and that’s called proper skin care, sun protection, and healthy eating. No magic formula like Proactiv anti-acne formula or tanning creams. No greasy hamburgers or tub of french fries. Not even so-called ‘whitening creams’ honestly, though I was stuck using them in India purely for cleaning the grease off my face every day and night. When I get a chance to visit Korea, I will be sure to try their magical Bebe cream for the hell of experimenting. Because of my sensitivity to face creams and formulas, I have to be particular with what I use to maintain my complexion and smooth skin. I’ve had bad reactions to ordinary products from Duane Reade, but since I tried India’s version of Garnier and Pond’s, I will be a loyal customer. Sadly, I cannot find special ‘whitening’ versions, so I’ll have to deal with what America offers. Hm, now I wish I stockpiled the extremely cheap face washes and creams from India that did exactly what I want for my face…