“How about some of their famous lemon cake, you love it, right?” Pratyush continued, looking hopefully at Naina.
“On one condition – you tell all about your date, as she had the same experience as me but you looked more upset than her. So what was all that about?” Naina bargained as she felt hopeful of getting to know the guy she had been chatting with and liked.
“Ah it was such a disaster. The lady had used a friend’s FB account to make her profile and lied about her age, face and other relevant details.”
“How did you discover that? I mean you were a stranger to her too as she was not your intended date?”
“She assumed I had done the same thing as the face she saw on the profile had been different!” Pratyush said.
“Ah! what a comedy of errors!” Naina smiled.
“Exactly. Look I am terribly sorry for my friend’s prank. He just gets carried away. When I saw you sit down with him, I just hoped you would realise it soon that he wasnt me.”
” Well, yeah he seemed too strange with his replies. I was wondering about him being on drugs or something,” Naina said laughing.
“Glad that ‘s over and now we can get to our date finally. I am most intrigued by you and had felt we would be a great match,” Pratyush said with a soft smile.
Naina was relieved too. She had really liked chatting with Pratyush and had been looking forward to this date. A wildlife photographer who travelled exotic locales,was into creative arts, read a lot and enjoyed theater, sounded the perfect foil to her gypsy soul. She had her fingers crossed and sat back to enjoy a tete a tete with him.
“I have to say one thing, you looked fairer in your pictures. Were they all photoshopped?”, he asked
Naina bursted out laughing,” I don’t have time for such vagaries. But yeah my pictures were approved and put up by one of my friends. Maybe she tweaked them.”
Pratyush sipped his coffee, looking a little peeved. “I had actually liked that a lot about you.”
Naina ‘s smile faltered a bit, ” Are you serious?”
He nodded. “Have you ever tried using fair and lovely? They guarantee fairness in a few weeks – no?”
“I am actually quite comfortable in my “brown” skin,” Naina said quietly. Secretly, she was cringing at the way this conversation seemed to be going.
“But there is no harm in trying it out – right? I mean what woman doesn’t want to be fair?”, Pratyush continued while Naina looked at him horrified. (Ok God! what did I do to deserve this?)
“Fair skin is so exotic and clean,” Pratyush went on, oblivious to the effect his words were having on his date.” There is something that feels so good and nice about it .”
By now Naina’s jaw had dropped, quite literally. She re-assessed the man she saw in front of her.
“Colour of skin has nothing to do with being ‘clean’ , ” Naina said, using air quotes. “I can’t believe you are saying something like this.”
” Oh come on! It’s every hot-blooded male’s fantasy that his woman is fair-skinned,” Pratyush justified. “Look around you. The adworld is teeming with such adverts and the successful models are all fair. Same in the film industry. It’s the undeniable truth of every Indian man. I am no different.”
“That is all propaganda and besides, it’s not me. I don’t believe in all this nonsense. I am an Indian and love my skin as it is,” Naina said vehlemently.
“Dont you think you are being unreasonable? You are such a beautiful woman, if only you were fair. I am sure you wouldn’t have to trawl dating sites, had that been the case. Your parents would have been easily found you a respectable match by now,” Pratyush was sounding more and more offensive with every argument he put forth.
” I am not ‘Trawling’ for a match. You make it sound so desperate,” Naina bit out. ” A woman is more than just the colour of her skin.”
“Oh come now. Dont be offended. I am only trying to make you see reason. It will benefit you in the long run to find a suitable man as Indian parents also want a fair bride for their sons,” Pratyush reasoned. “Every man has parameters for what he would like in his woman and a fair-skinned woman tops that list.”
Naina was fuming by now and cursing her date-god for the mess she was in.
“Every woman also has a yardstick by which she measures her ideal man; and trust me mine does not include a Fair & Lovely marketing agent,” Naina retorted with some sting. “In fact, every hot-blooded woman dreams of a man who is his own man and not a propaganda managed, brainwashed moron, living with hypocritical ideals and still tied to his mummy’s apron.”
Posting my day 20 post for #Dailychatter Here as I take my blog to the next level with #Blogchatter and #UBC – the ultimate blog challenge in October 2016 through fictional series which will become a regular feature on my blog under #FridayFiction