“Neha Kakkar’s Skin Has Been Glowing Ever Since She Got Married”
How Neha Kakkar’s Skin Led to Tensions Between Me and My Parents
Those who know me know that I cannot stand Neha Kakkar. The sound of her unnecessarily sensual rendition of every song makes me cringe and the sight of her crying on reality television at the misfortune of others makes me frown because she cries as easily as Prince Philip makes inappropriate comments in public. I have nothing against her as a person, I’m sure she’s lovely (I wouldn’t know, I’m guessing), but her sensual version of the song “Naina” from the film Dangal will forever leave me scarred. This blog post isn’t just about Neha Kakkar but I wish to voice my views on her, regardless.
It was on Valentine’s Day that my parents and I were watching ‘Indian Idol’ (can anyone think of more hip-happening plans for this holiday?) and of course, their participants were singing love songs to mark the occasion. Amidst the cries of Neha Kakkar giving no real comments or feedback on singing apart from her usual cry of ‘Aapne mausam badal diya’ (translation: you changed the weather with your singing), I heard my mother say, ‘Neha Kakkar’s skin has been glowing ever since she got married.’
I frowned, well aware that I could be stepping into a web of my own creation.
‘Why do you say that?’
‘I’m just saying, she looks pretty now that she’s married. She’s glowing.’
‘I mean…how does marriage have anything to do with…glowing skin? Wait, is she pregnant? Didn’t she get married, like, a week ago?’
‘She isn’t pregnant. Girls just glow when they are married.’
‘…How is that even…scientifically possible?’
My Father soon interjected — ‘it’s from the joy of marriage, why can’t you accept it?’
‘I just don’t see the logic in it — marriage does not directly lead to glowing skin’, I said. I was specifically thinking about the time I was in Goa on holiday and saw a newly wed couple in a nightclub where the woman looked as though she wanted to kill somebody and the man looked like he couldn’t believe he landed this lady.
‘Marriage makes girls happy’, my mother said. ‘That’s why when you see Indian girls just after they are married they look so happy’, she concluded.
‘I know you mean well’, I said, ‘but please remember that a lot of things make girls happy. Like being appreciated at work. Getting a raise. Getting a promotion. Even getting more followers online.
First of all, Indian girls don’t necessarily look happy after they get married. They look decked up. Think about it — an Indian woman at a celebration dinner immediately after her wedding will most likely be wearing very dressy, traditional Indian clothing along with a choora. She does not look happy, she looks dressed up for a party and going to parties makes almost everyone happy.
Second of all, even though my parents didn’t say it, it pains me that a large part of the Indian community to this day believes that getting married is the key to happiness for an Indian girl. Had a break up? Get married to someone else. Got fired? Get married and let the husband earn. Finished uni? Get married. Your friends are getting married? Get married. In all fairness, my parents have only ever said the ‘your friends are getting married’ thing to me, and they would never, ever suggest that getting married is a solution to getting fired; they would suggest the complete opposite. But the wider community still believes that the key to an Indian girl’s happiness is marriage. An Indian girl’s purpose is marriage. This is why Neha Kakkar looked so happy- because she was finally married.
That wasn’t why she looked so happy, though, was it? She was happy because she was with the man she is in love with. Regardless of whether or not they were married, they would still look happy. Scientifally speaking, we feel happiness when our body releases happy hormones- dopamine, serotonin, endorphons and oxytocin. Sex produces oxytocin and dopamine. Laughter and exercise produce endorphins. Where does marriage come in? I’m not saying marriage doesn’t make one happy. Getting married to the one you believe to be the right person would make anyone happy and consequently lead to glowing skin for sure. What I object to is the belief that true happiness can only be achieved by getting married. My parents didn’t say it, they didn’t even imply it, but I know that there is still an embedded faith in the Indian society that without marriage and a baby, a woman is incomplete.
What makes a woman incomplete is being in a loveless, unhappy marriage (amongst other things). What makes a woman complete is doing whatever the hell she wants (unless it’s crime). It’s as easy as that.