“Shall we have lunch, Chinnu?” asked Sudhamini touching her face affectionately.
But Ranika, instead of responding to her mother’s words, grabbed her hand tightly and, fighting her tears as best as she could, firmly inserted it into the earthen pot, splashing the white liquid all over.
As soon as Sudhamini looked at the white liquid in the earthen pot she understood what it meant, what she had dreaded since Ranika’s childhood… The only way for her daughter to marry was to change her skin color. She would have to be fair skinned for a chance to build a family and lead a happy life. Or she would remain unmarried and the entire town would call her names: infertile! lesbian! witch!burden on your parents… No! She wouldn’t let anyone say that to her child—not now, not ever.
Ranika was pretty sure he was blushing now. But why did he have this fake paint on his body? Ranika wanted to grab his shoulders and ask him. Couldn’t he be himself? Yet, wasn’t that exactly what she had done, too? So she shut her mouth, put her head down, and kept walking, though the fact that Dinkara had been so gentlemanly and treated her with much respect made Ranika warm to him.