I WAS 9 WHEN MY FATHER, an airline pilot, transferred from Karachi, Pakistan, with its chaotic hustle and bustle, to Islamabad. I loved to ride my bicycle along its elegant, calm, tree-lined streets and parks, but I began to notice that the time I spent outside was darkening my brown complexion. While my natural color was a medium shade that, in the right light, bordered on wheatish, I would never pass for fair in Pakistan—a nation obsessed with light skin. This seemed all the more unjust as my brother, a couple of years younger, was much fairer. So, one morning, to counteract the effect of my sun-tanned skin, I patted my face with talcum powder before heading out. A chatty lady from the neighborhood waved me over with a message for my mother, and asked why in the world I had powder all over my face. I mumbled something about…

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~ by kissofdanger on October 30, 2012.

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