Born with white skin, deep emerald eyes, ginger hair, and freckles, Pooja looks more like a stereotypical Gaelic woman than a brown skinned Indian.
What is more, thanks to her looks she has spent a majority of her life being shunned and bullied by people who think she’s a foreigner or a diseased person.
When Pooja was born her ‘typically Indian’ parents thought her freckles were a birth defect – and still have no idea where she got her unusual looks from.
Pooja’s appearance is believed to stem from her ancestors about whom she or her family has no idea about.
There is a strong possibility that her appearance was triggered by an ‘evolutionary throwback’, called atavism, to genes that had been passed down from her ancestors and was laying dormant for years.
Pooja though has had to pay a high cost for her looks. It has made her feel like a foreigner in her own country – with many people staring at her and asking for pictures thinking she is a tourist.
As a kid, she was rushed to hospital as her parents feared she had a skin disease. Her insecurities were further intensified as a teenager when in her first year of university she was pulled aside and told not to wear sleeveless shirts as they were “too eye-catching” with her white skin.
She felt like an outcast all her life and it was only when she traveled overseas that she realized there were people who looked like her and she was in fact ‘normal’.
She believes that a DNA a test of her genes can explain a lot and tell her more about her family’s past.
While she wants to get a DNA test done in the future, Pooja cleared she is done trying to change herself and embrace how she looks.
“People tell me to wear foundation and powders to cover my freckles but I’m just not that type of person and I feel beautiful the way I am. Natural beauty is the most gorgeous thing a woman can wear. It took a while to learn how to love myself but now that I do, I always dress my best and bring out my biggest smile for anyone who stares at me. I don’t care anymore if people stare at me or judge me because of how I look. I’m too busy loving myself to notice.”