Mira Jacob is the author and illustrator of Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations. Her critically acclaimed novel, The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, was a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers pick, shortlisted for India’s Tata First Literature Award, longlisted for the Brooklyn Literary Eagles Prize. She lives in Brooklyn. (March 2019)
When I was five and we went back to India for a visit, everyone was upset about two things. The first was that my brother and I still did not speak Malayalam. The second was how much I had “changed” since I was a baby. Toward the end of the visit, my grandmother gave me a bottle of Fair & Lovely. I knew what it was. I had seen the advertisement on train station walls. It showed a woman’s face getting lighter and happier and lighter and happier. Coming back to New Mexico was almost a relief. In New Mexico, I wasn’t dark. I was just brown.