Where’s the Indian Baby?

16 Jul


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


17 responses to “Where’s the Indian Baby?

  1. pitu

    July 16, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    ROFL!!!!!!!! The things you come up with! Now that I think of it, doesn’t the Parle G baby look suspiciously pseudo Caucasian??!

  2. Naren

    July 16, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    It’s not just babies that Indians like the caucasians of. White skin, pointy nose and light eyes are the only determinants of beauty in India. Sore point with me, of course, because I have none of the above.

    Case in point – Neil Nitin Mukesh. I went for the movie “New York” and found most of the girls drooling over him. I thought that surprising, because John Abraham is several degrees more hunky, but he loses out because he is not white enough.

    • memsaab

      July 18, 2009 at 12:01 pm

      John Abraham is way more dreamy than NNM, for sure. You have excellent taste Naren 😉

  3. sraboneyghose

    July 17, 2009 at 12:03 am


    Indians like white babies because they are white i.e. pure…As Naren said, it is our love for fair skin and sharp features that make us run after Caucasians and Caucasian photographs…Plus the ones in posters are nice and chubby i.e. ‘healthy’…

    Even Indian kids in ads are usually fair…How many ‘dusky’ kids have you seen in Indian made ads?

  4. Shivani

    July 17, 2009 at 12:45 am

    LOL @ the picture & title. Khabar express ?!?!?
    Agree on (A) though I find it terribly strange that while Indians are superstitious about their babies’ looks, evil eye, nazar etc., they are beyond pushy when it comes to making models out of them for Johnson’s commercials.
    I know someone who had her son routinely photographed & prtfolio-ed from 3 months to 2 years. And yes, the kaajal teeka was otherwise always there! Weirdness 😛

  5. DewdropDream

    July 17, 2009 at 5:36 am

    We really need an Anne Geddes in India, I’m yet to find tastefully done baby posters anywhere in India (not that I was actively looking) … I know some guy here (Indian) who put up a photo of this very white strkingly blue eyed child and captioned it “That’s the daughter I’m going to have… but where’s her mother?”. Funny thing is, he’s going to be marrying an Indian for sure so I don’t see how a caucasian baby comes into the picture 😛

    • pitu

      July 17, 2009 at 9:42 am

      Aieeeeee noo!! Please, Anne Geddes gives me the shivers. Given the Indian obsession with babies, if we got an Anne Geddes, there’d be no respite at all!

  6. Prasanth

    July 17, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Interestingly, I once saw an advertising board set up by a jewellery in some in some rural outpost in Kerala which had some seven or 8 kids of different complexions hanging out in a most cute way. There was even one of those Nordic babies. So perhaps, the hinterland is our only hope.

  7. M

    July 17, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Remember the Farex or was it the Cerelac baby? That was a desi baby for sure – though fair and fat as expected. I think I can remember when the demand for caucasian baby posters started – early 70s…before that it used to be the standard baby Krishna photo.

    I second Pitu’s rejection of Anne Geddes – I find her photos very creepy as well!


  8. maxdavinci

    July 17, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Indian moms were terrified by MJ for he was always singing baby baby. Now that he’s out cold you may see a lot more.

    the above vid popped up in my offline msgs list and seems pretty apt!

  9. memsaab

    July 18, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I *third* Pitu and Anne Geddes. Ugh.

  10. sachita

    July 18, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    duh… fair & lovely, caucasian baby – all same fundae, no?

    on the other hand, indian babies arent ‘healthy’ (fat) like american ones atleast. the american ones are all uniformly gol matol.

  11. harini calamur

    July 19, 2009 at 1:59 am

    truly funny. never even noticed it – but coming to think of it all the baby & puppy posters are white 🙂

  12. Amrita

    July 20, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Pitu – doesn’t it have blonde / sandy hair? also, yum! Parle G! I wants!

    Naren – I second Memsaab! I’ll take John over Neil anyday!

    Bones – I was thinking about it, and actually I only remember “dusky” babies in one of those last frame pregnancies in Hindi movies when they just need some random baby to play rugby with the villain. it’s usually bawling its poor lil head off and has an outsize kaala tika and looks malnourished.

    Shivani – they really do like to have their cake and eat it too! Show off the baby and its superior looks, and then make sure you don’t carry the appreciation too far.

    3D – maybe he’ll steal one? 😀

    Pitu / M / Memsaab – ok, ok, I thought it might be a nice idea. *mutter mutter* *grumble grumble*

    Prasanth – the revolution will be advertised!

    M – I dont know about the 1970s, but I’ve noticed that the baby Krishna photos are slowly looking more and more caucasian. Just in a strange violet hue.

    Max – that thing gives me the creeps! I dont know what it is about those babies, but they make me think the Army is coming and it’s gonna do bad things to me.

    Sachita – why is that I wonder? I mean, isn’t breastmilk the same wherever you find it?

    Harini – hahahha @ white puppies! So true, too! Hmmm…..

    • pitu

      July 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm

      About the baby they usually show as ‘just born’ to the heroine/raped abla nari/vile Kaikeyi-ish stepmom/anyone with a uterus rly.. my mom ALWAYS, and I mean, ALWAYS complains loudly “He kasla newborn?? Teen mahinyaca ghoda ahe”, which means, no way that’s a newborn, it’s a 3 month old lout. It seriously cracks me up, I’m like since when are desi movies realistic that this bothers you so much? ROFL!

  13. Desh

    October 9, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Maybe the booming surrogacy business in India is the reason for the upswing in the amount of Caucasian babies…Seems to recently be big business for India. See this article from the India Edition Wall Street Journal…

    A Search for a Surrogate Leads to India –

    Surrogacy India –

  14. Jennifer P.

    July 1, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    White babies are not ugly.

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