Daily Archives: July 16, 2009

Where’s the Indian Baby?


Apart from DangerMuff’s inexplicable fondness for Agar Tum Na Hote, a movie from the Later Kaka Makes Caca period, the review makes a very good point: what’s up with the Caucasian babies?

Ashok is really quite a sweet, normal man (so normal, in fact, that he does what every other Indian man does when his wife goes into labour: he sticks a big picture of an ugly Caucasian baby on the wall.  Seriously, this is an ongoing thing in Bollywood, I’m not making it up).

As a person born in India, and especially as one who experienced her entire boyband-music collecting, cute-poster-gifting, friendship-band-exchanging, discreet-hand-holding, Archies-card-giving, romantic teen years there – I can clear up one thing at least: there are no Indian baby posters.

Well, maybe they have them now. Since I have no hysterically joyful babydaddy to send hopping through the poster aisle to check and I’m long past the age when I’d voluntarily take a walk through the Hallmark poster section, I can’t comment on the current state of affairs. But at least ten to fifteen years ago, there were no Indian babies to be found.

The reason I suspect was threefold:

A) Indians are superstitious about their babies. If a baby is cute enough to merit a mass produced poster, then it stands to reason a lot of evil type people will either covet it for themselves or be eaten up with jealousy that their babies are so obviously inferior to The Poster Baby. Hence they will put the evil eye on The Poster Baby which will then lead The Poster Baby to die or, even worse, grow up into Non Pretty Adult. Where Pretty = Fair. (Duh!) This is why the few Indian babies that make it out to the public eye are decorated with kohl somewhere on their face.

B) The companies that sell these posters tend to be those based in Western countries, like Hallmark. They barely put out any African American or Hispanic baby posters even though there are significant numbers of both in the United States, so why on earth would they want to look into Indian babies for India? Especially when Indians like Caucasian babies because:

C) White babies are whiter. And if you look at a white baby then maybe your baby will come out fairer. Thinking positive! It saves on the fairness creams later on.

Of course, after consulting with Google, I wonder if the real reason might be:

D) Indian babies are scary! Search for images of “Indian baby” and they all seem to have four eyes, ten limbs, play with snakes, fall into wells, are dying of preventable diseases, and so on.

And yet, I could swear I’ve seen Indian babies that aren’t like that at all. Time for an Indian Anne Geddes?


Posted by on July 16, 2009 in Life