First off, there’s nothing wrong with Manisha. She has a skin condition called vitiligo which just means she’s losing the skin pigmentation in her skin. And she’s not suffering. There’s no pain involved. It’s not a disease and it’s certainly not contagious. And there are doctors here and around the world who will tell you that they have a cure for vitiligo.
But they’re completely lying. There is no scientifically proven cure for vitiligo and they don’t even know why it happens to people. The only cure is to understand that you’re beautiful and that vitiligo is a part of you which doesn’t need to be changed. And this was all really easy for me to say, right? So let’s go talk to Manisha, hear her story and find out how she became confident in her skin. Literally. Karl: Manu, so tell us what was it like growing up with vitiligo in India. Tell us your story na. Manu: I got vitiligo when I was 6 or 7 years old from a medicine’s reaction. That’s what the doctors said. And my parents got worried. They started taking me to all these doctors. I’ve been to at least 10-15 doctors, I remember. Karl: Woah.
Manu: And so it just became a part of my life. Karl: Why so many doctors though? Manu: That’s because one doctor couldn’t cure it and then another doctor. And then another one. Karl: Yeah, yeah. Manu: So it went on like that. So they were worried and they had to be worried because they knew a woman who was killed by her in-laws because she had vitiligo. Karl: Wow. Manu: So.. Karl: After she got married? Manu: Yes. Manu: And.. so yeah. This had become a part of my life.
Going to doctors, taking pills, not eating food that I was told not to. Karl: They told you not to eat fish, right? Manu: Yes, seafood. Karl: You haven’t eaten seafood? Manu: So I haven’t eaten seafood my whole life, until recently. One point in your life, you just get fed up and then you’re like “wait, why am I doing this?” I have spent all these years of my life trying to change the color of my skin. even though there’s no guaranteed cure for it. And is it really that important that I spent all these years, all this time ad energy on it? So I just told my parents that I want to stop now. i don’t want to go to any more doctors and they were very supportive of it.
And they were very happy about it. Karl: We’ll talk some more about this in ‘Self-Confidence’ later. But going back to the old days, what kind of names would people call you? Manu: In my school, they’d call me patchwork, which is like the spotted one. And they’d call me zebra They would call me.. they would call me maggi noodles because of my curly hair. Karl: It wasn’t just your skin, then. Manu: Nah, nah, nah. A lot of things. We all get called, you know, different names in school. Manu: Recently on YouTube, people called me cow. Karl: Do you want to hear my nickname? Manu: What? Karl: Goldilocks, because I used to have really long hair when I was in school. Manu: I saw your pictures. Karl: Yeah, that was my nickname in school.
And what about like superstitious things people have said to you ? Or just weird things people have said to you about your vitiligo? Manu: Yes. So generally people ask me if I got burnt. if it was an accident, or if I ate fish with milk. That’s a popular superstition. Karl: Fish with milk? Manu: Yes. And another thing they say is this happened to me because I had committed some sin in my past lives.
So.. Those things and then they come and sympathize with me. And these two Punjabi aunties in an auto were talking to each other like “Oh my god! What did god do to her? She doesn’t deserve this. And she’s not even married yet. Oh my god. Oh my god”. And.. oh yeah! This woman in metro, she comes up to me and claims she knows black magic and she can transfer my vitiligo to somebody else. And I’m like ‘better stay away from her’. Karl: Oh that must be how it spreads then, I guess.
Black magic spreading vitiligo. Manu: Also, another uncle.. he told me a cure. He said ‘take a snake, a black snake’. Karl: Yeah. Manu: ‘Should be alive. Put it in a pot. Cover the pot and burn it. When it burns completely, crush it into a powder and then put it on to your skin and then it will be gone’. Karl: Did you do it? Manu: Obviously not. Karl: I thought he was gonna tell you to snort it like cocaine or something.
No. Okay fine. What about like.. has anyone ever said any cool stuff to you that they were like…? Manu: Yes, recently in Auckland, remember? We were at that wharf and this guy comes upto me and he’s like, “is that vitiligo?”. I’m like ‘yes’. He goes ‘cool!’ Karl: Like I remember it. It was so weird. Not something you expect from people though.. to say something like that. Okay so… did you ever think about hiding your vitiligo with makeup? Manu: With makeup, no. But as a teenager, I used to hide it, you know, with my hair, with scarves. And under my clothes.
I used to wear covered clothes and stuff just so it’s not visible. I was conscious in my teenage years about my skin color. Karl: This is a big market now, right? Like selling makeup for vitiligo. Manu: Yes. There’s makeup products that are specially targeted to people with vitiligo. And there’s even permanent tattoos recently, I’ve heard of. Karl: Permanent tattoo? Manu: Yeah. It’s like you fill your skin permanently with ink or something. Dangerous, I think. Karl: Yeah.
So there’s two ways to go about it, right? You can hide it with makeup or you can be like you and not hide it and just be who you are, right? Manu: Yeah. So after I told you I stopped bothering about it and said ‘I don’t want to go to doctors. This is me’ and… I just started, you know, tying my hair up, wearing the clothes I want to wear, just being comfortable in my own skin and walking out without any makeup or anything. And I realized it was just in me. People do stare at you sometimes but it’s..
Most of the people. they don’t really bother, you know. It’s.. it was just bothering me on the inside. And then when you start doing it, I got used to it. And I stopped wearing any kind of, you know, clothes that are specifically meant to cover my skin in any way. Karl: When you stopped caring about what other people thought about you, a lot of people say this is like the turning point. Manu: Yes. Karl: When they build their own confidence and they just stop caring. It’s true for me when I was 30 and I decided to stop caring about what other people thought. And then it was just gonna be me and that’s what happened with this YouTube channel. It’s just me. Manu: Yes. And people are still the same. They don’t.. they never cared and they don’t care now. But it’s you who has changed. Karl: Yeah. This is a question from a YouTube comment. Has it ever been a hindrance in your dating life at all? Manu: Not really. Karl: What about marriage proposals? Manu: I got one weird marriage proposal. from this guy who was just walking across, walking by a street.
You know.. Karl: Just a stranger? Manu: Just a stranger. A total stranger. And he comes up to me and he says ‘I have vitiligo. And since people do not marry people like us, why don’t we get married? Karl: What? Manu: Completely.. like a total stranger. Karl: So he was saying that because he thinks that he can only marry somebody that has vitiligo as well, he is kind of, he’s insecure of himself and people have probably told him ‘you can’t marry someone quite normal’. Manu: Yeah. Karl: ‘Better marry someone with vitiligo’. Manu: Like dude, relax. It’s okay. Karl: Yeah. So he’s going up to you and saying ‘let’s get married because we both have vitiligo’. Manu: Yeah. Karl: What a proposition.
Manu: The color of your skin cannot be a criteria to marry somebody. Karl: Yeah. Exactly. Thank god you didn’t marry him anyway. Where would I be right now? Manu: New Zealand. Karl: Alright so this is another question from YouTube. And this girl asks a serious question. And she says, ‘I know this might be an off the topic question. I suffer from an inherent skin disease and after seeing your fiance I can’t stop admiring her. Not only is she beautiful but she looks like a woman who is strong and independent. I have low self esteem and my boyfriend gets annoyed by it. My question is how did your fiance become so strong? When I visit my relatives in India, I hate it because they keep talking about my skin condition and how I’d never find a guy who would want to marry me.
My family try and support me but, you know, they don’t fully support her. Do you have any tips for her and like.. I think the question she’s asking is how does she deal with those annoying relatives who talk rubbish like this? Manu: I’m assuming this girl is younger to me because this is.. she’s in the position where I used to be. And nobody becomes strong in a day, you know.
Karl: Yeah. Manu: So my advice is… Karl: It’s a point you get to, right? Manu: Yeah. My advice is nobody would take a stand for you until you take a stand for yourself. So next time they tell you that you can’t have a normal life because you have vitiligo, just tell them you’re wrong and you’re lying. And I’ll show you. I’ll prove it. Right? I’ll have a job. I’ll lead a normal life like any other person and just stop talking bullshit. Once you take a stand on your own, other people will follow. Karl: Yes. Once you start believing in yourself and standing up for yourself, people will start believing in you as well. Manu: Yes. Like you don’t have to be rude to them or anything. Just tell them this is wrong. I’m not going to buy that bullshit. Karl: Yeah. And this stuff doesn’t happen overnight. This is a long process like.. Manu: Yeah. Karl: I said I didn’t get my confidence until I was 30.
Manu: Yes. Karl: So it’s something that happens slowly. Manu: Yeah. And just stop worrying about it and go out. You know, do whatever you want. Don’t hide behind makeup. Don’t worry about anything. And once you start doing this repetitively, you will realize nobody really cares, you know. Karl: And what about when somebody asks you about your skin condition? Is it okay for somebody to ask you about vitiligo? Manu: If it’s out of curiosity, yes. Totally fine because people don’t even know the difference between vitiligo and vertigo.
Vertigo is the fear of heights. And they don’t know the difference between vitiligo and leprosy. So it’s okay. If you’re curious, fine. But if it’s out of sympathy or pity, then no. Or yeah. So you can tell when somebody’s giving you fake compliments and all. Karl: Uh huh. Manu: So don’t do that. Karl: So how should other people treat somebody with vitiligo? Manu: Like they would treat any other person without vitiligo. Karl: Same as everybody else. Manu: Yeah. And so that’s what’s wrong with my wife; absolutely nothing. To me, vitiligo is like a beautiful painting. Like an ever changing painting on the skin. It’s unique and it’s beautiful.
And I hope people can understand that it’s not something they need to change about themselves. Long live India! And if you wanna get a bunch of member-only benefits and you want to support the content that I create, I want you to join the Rock Army. Hit the ‘Join’ button below right now..
As found on Youtube