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A 24-year-old woman born in Mumbai to 'typically Indian' parents has only ever known life with ginger hair, green eyes and white, freckled skin, and is now considering a DNA test to see if the reason lies in her ancestral history.
The young woman has been shunned and bullied in a country where her features are rare.
Pooja's father Rajesh, 51, has darker skin while her mother, Hemaxi, 46, has slightly lighter than average skin, but neither have as light a skin tone as their daughter.
Pooja, who runs her own clothes manufacturing business, said: "When I was born, my family had never seen anyone who looked like me before because they all have brown skin, black hair and brown eyes, like most Indians.
"Everyone in my neighbourhood was absolutely fascinated by me and were all very curious as to why I looked so different.
"When my freckles started appearing everywhere when I was three, because none of my relatives had ever gotten freckles before, they didn't know what they were.
"I was rushed to the doctors because everyone thought it was a birth defect or skin disease."
She said she was bullied growing up for the way she looked, adding: "People would always come up and ask, 'What are those spots on your face? Why do you have so many marks?' It was a real mental challenge.
"Even in my first year of university, I was pulled aside and told not to wear sleeveless shirts because they were 'too eye-catching' with my white skin.
"There was no rule against sleeveless clothing and every other girl dressed like me, yet I was singled out.
"Indians love to pose for photos with different-looking people from overseas, so I often get people coming up to me asking for pictures.
"It's happened more than 100 times in my life - I have to tell them, 'Relax, I'm Indian too.'"
People often assume that she's a tourist and are surprised when she starts speaking in Hindi.
She continued: "The funniest one is when I'm charged the foreigner price for public attractions because they think I'm a backpacker, so I have to prove I'm Indian.
"When I was in America people wouldn't believe me when I told them I'm Indian. Even the customs officer at the airport had to look twice at my passport and asked me if I'm really from India."
Featured Image Credit: StoryTrender
Topics: World News
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