After reaching the twelfth year of my life, I started noticing these tiny freckles on my nose.
All hell broke loose in the whole Gupta clan!
No one knew why did they occur, and what do we call them. And the next thing I remember was the frequent visits to skin doctors and specialists.
There were kind advices from strangers at weddings, and home made remedies were exchanged in the phone calls between my mother and aunts.
The doctors prescribed chemicals, lotions and creams, and my grandmother asked me to rub peeled potatoes, lemons, papayas and whatnot on my face; and just like that, my face became the guinea pig in an experimental lab.
It wasn’t a very Indian thing to have freckles on your face, and thus my life became nothing more than chaos. I felt like I could never fit in, with those unnatural spots.
I started growing up- with my freckles, with the pills to lighten them, with the remedies, the anger even.
Kids at school would call me the girl with acne and blemishes, since they didn’t know what actually those brown spots were. Maa would raise eyebrows when I’d ask her to buy me a story book worth 600 bucks, but no one questioned the expensive sunscreen in my bag.
I was fifteen when someone actually suggested laser treatment.
And something inside me kept growing, call it anger, call it submission, call it fear.
No one understood the darkness that I used to find myself in, and everyone kept suggesting me to stay away from the sun.
The society won, almost!
It almost convinced me that I was not beautiful.
It almost convinced me that I was flawed. It almost convinced me that your skin matters the most when you are a girl. I couldn’t listen to my own thoughts at times, in the noise of all these stereotypes.
It took me years to realise how wrong the society was, how wrong I was to even believe it in the first place.
These people have the eyes, which are not used to of looking at the stars in the night sky, the only constellations we ever got to see was in textbooks, the city lights and the pollution had already tainted the sky black.
The doctor visits stopped eventually, and I stopped using sunscreen, but I did start maintaining a library at home.
And even though it still isn’t a very Indian thing to have brown spots on the tip of your nose, it tells a great deal about my heart, which belongs to my own self, before it belongs to any person, or any land- how nice it is to not fit in.
So when I started my blog, where I could share my poetry, I didn’t give a second thought naming it- ‘Freckles and starry nights’, to remind myself that I am made up of starstuff.
My name is Sheily Gupta. I write poetry because I am one. I find metaphors in the mirror. I believe that my heart pumps out purple colours and it only becomes red when it is exposed to the world, because my Purple is shy, just like me. I don’t romanticize cities or coffee or flowers. I romanticize human imperfections . I feel the most beautiful when I dance, and if some day, god herself would appear to tell me that I could recreate myself, I’d tell her to make me exactly as I already am, because nothing has ever been more mine, because nothing has ever been more beautiful.