Padma Mohan
3 min readOct 21, 2020


Her unfair red lipstick

Festivals make every Indian household nothing less than a madhouse. You can see the ladies of the house trying to cook as many delicacies that they know and have heard of, literally tireless. Oh, there are the men over there, trying to do things that they are being told by the women and who have no idea that why are they being yelled at by the time they try to figure out what they are actually supposed to do. Technically, they wander cluelessly!

I woke up late for I was on my periods and a bleeding woman can’t go near anything holy for there is a belief among a majority of people that this can ruin the aura and make it impure. Basically a pollutant! I was happy pollutant for I had to stay away from all the important chores! Not a fan of them!

Meera and Pooja, 10-year-old nieces came running to me for they wanted to intrude my makeup box to get ready for the eve. I thought if they stay busy with this, they will cause me less trouble and I gave them what they wanted but under my strict supervision.

“Can you help me apply the red lipstick?”, Meera asked me with her puppy eyes. I nodded and helped her. She looked pretty. Pooja wanted the same too. After the makeup session, girls ran out and I was at peace after that. Following a while, I saw a small hurricane storm into me from outside.

“Why does Maa think Red lipstick looks bad on me? Aren’t I pretty? She says that red doesn't suit me because I am not fair like Pooja. How unfair this is! I didn’t choose the colour. Am I not pretty like Pooja? Tell me, Masi! Am I ugly because of my complexion?” Meera sobbed in my arms.

I thought for a while patting the little girl in my arms and hugging her tight. What she asked is something that the world needs to understand. It is not just her mother but a huge part of the world that thinks like this. How can I even tell her how ugly is this world that thinks of complexion as a beauty norm?

I looked at her puffy eyes and the messed up red lipstick. I gently cleaned it and applied it again. She smiled back and looked herself in the mirror happily. I gave her mother a look of disapproval for what she just said. She went shaking her head.

“You are the most beautiful girl that I have ever seen. And your complexion has nothing to do with your beauty. If someone says otherwise, come to Maasi, we both will smash them!” I told and kissed her. She laughed and ran away.

I know she will be criticised again. I know she will have to fight this long. But what I can do is be with her and make her understand that her worth and beauty is more than her colour. So that one fine day when I won’t be there with her, she can fight the unfair things fairly all by herself, maybe wearing a bright red lipstick!



Padma Mohan

I should be coding but here I am, scribbling again!