'Only acts can define you, not the colour of your skin'

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'Only acts can define you, not the colour of your skin'

I am the only one in my whole big fat family who has vitiligo

'Only acts can define you, not the colour of your skin'

New Delhi: Vitiligo, a skin disorder which not only affects skin colour but most of the time destroys the self-esteem of a person. Many people are conscious about how they look but many do know this fact that beauty is not described with the colour of your skin but is something beyond that. Many are happy with their bicoloured skin because they are the ones who love themselves regardless of what others think.

Aarushi Motwani, 29, resides in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, a Mathematics teacher by profession happily accepts herself as a vitiligo girl and writes vitiligo glory in her Instagram bio. She was honoured by the Human Resource minister as an innovative teacher (under Zero Investment Innovations for Education Initiatives) at IIT Delhi on March 1, 2020. She was born in a Sindhi joint family.

She said, “I am the only one in my whole big fat family who has vitiligo but they never made me feel I am different because their love and care always gave me a sense of uniqueness. I remember during my school days my juniors used to make fun of me by calling me with different names but I never let those things discourage me. I always thought that they are people who don't know anything about vitiligo.”

It all started when one day, Aarushi's mother saw white patches on her skin. Like a normal parent's reaction, she got worried and started  asking relatives about it. Aarushi was just 7 years old at that time and didn’t know anything about the small patch on her knees that made her entire family worried. Her parents took her to the doctor where the doctor diagnosed her with vitiligo.

She said, “My parents' life got stuck moving around from one doctor to another for almost 9 years. I took allopathy treatment through which it got cured once. As soon as I stopped taking medication it reappeared and started spreading very soon. We consulted many doctors from different cities who all had their way of treating vitiligo under which I had to take different medication and apply different ointments and had to sit under the sun for half an hour every day which I disliked the most and was restricted to eat many things which caused deficiency of vitamins and nutrients in my  body.”

She also added that people still believe in casteism, religion, gender, and age when it comes to marriage. It was the same for vitiligo as it also created social differences for people who are suffering from this skin condition. Instead of ignoring people with their mentality, Aarushi tried to educate such people. Once, one of her classmate's mother told her to stay away from Aarushi as her mother believed that Vitiligo is contagious. Aarushi didn't ignore this but instead taught her by giving an example of her family members with whom she is living from birth, and they don’t have the same skin condition that she has. Aarushi believes that people need to be taught as there are many myths about vitiligo.

She said, “I feel my skin is unique from others. It’s sensitive to the sun but yes I'm much more confident and feel beautiful about my skin! From childhood, I had heard fair and dark are two skin tones of a human body. But I saw that mine is different. It includes both! Normally one has to put in a lot of effort to grasp the attention of  others which I don’t have to do as it's natural in my case. So I'm  special or I can say more blessed.”

Aarushi's parents got more concerned about her marriage when they got to know about vitiligo. She took medication for more than 8 years, but later Aarushi finally realised that it cannot be cured completely. She visited many doctors but none of them gave her the guarantee that it will be cured completely. When she was in 10th standard, she decided to quit all her medications and informed the same to her parents. Her parents supported her decision. She said she wanted to start her life with a new face and whatever will happen to her she will face it bravely. After this, it was a new beginning for her, she started focussing more on her education as she believes that only acts can define you, not the colour of your skin. Aarushi continued to be determined and just focused on her goal. She accepted her uniqueness in her best way to go ahead in life. She believes that marriage is not something that should be based on things like colour of the skin, it requires much more than that.

She said, “In our Indian society, people are not comfortable in accepting their flaws. They feel shy and are scared of showcasing it as people will start to talk. My parent's unconditional love and support always made me stay positive and helped me to grow in my career. I believe one’s heart and karma should be fair, not the colour of the skin!”

Aarushi believes that vitiligo made her bolder, courageous, and most of all an independent girl.