#LoseItLikeBhumi or be Forever Alone? A Former ‘Fat’ Girl Wonders
Why is being fat an impediment to finding love, laments Sreemoyee Piu Kundu.
I’m 37. I weigh 61 kilos. I stand at 5 feet.
Whenever I’ve taken my height, the person measuring me has always sighed and said very sagely, “Ah, if only you were an inch taller, you’d be 5 feet 1.” To imagine! It’s like winning the Miss World contest or losing my virginity or being married – a feat to be celebrated, in short.
I am overweight. Something that’s perennially told to my face by either grim-looking Indian gynaes (for whom a fat person means PCOD), or grimmer relatives who believe I shall have trouble conceiving – while at the same time, throwing in the sly “So, when are you planning a child?” jibe.
I’ll be honest, I was a mini sumo wrestler at birth. So much so that my mother still talks about how huge her stomach was and how she wished she’d had twins – just to justify her size. People would appease her and tell her, twins rock. Or some such garble.
You’re Just ‘Fat’ – it Can’t be Thyroid, Sugar, Genes...
I can’t stand twins. Imagine another fat person growing up with you! Boys taunting you together, or you having to wear a bra before you hit ten – or getting your period at least two years before the girl next to you in class did. You were called ‘well-developed’ or ‘healthy’. I got that last one a lot earlier – now replaced by ‘plump.’
My own maternal grandmother (who was as thin as a stick) would monitor my food intake, all the while telling my mom how I should exercise, swim, go to the gym, cycle – anything, really.
Has anyone wondered – is there something called a fat gene? Is being fat hereditary? Could it be thyroid? Sugar?
No, fat’s easy, that way. You can always blame a fat person for being fat, sans the background research. Because chances are, the shame, the guilt, the silences are so dark and dreaded, that no fat person will ever turn back and say – “up yours!”
Of ‘Fat’ Jibes in School and Unrequited Loves
My first crush was this really good-looking boy from school. He played the guitar and had dimples and I fell for him hook, line and sinker. I even proposed. “I have never looked at you like that,” he whimpered, before scooting off. I later saw him laugh with his friends, one of them calling me ‘fatso,’ as I walked by. My head hung low.
I was already a loser in the love department. No man who was physically desirable to me, would ever want me back. I was pretty much the poster girl for unrequited love, cliched as that sounds. I never thought I was beautiful, despite all the pluses – like being a class topper and winning medals. No sir, that was all by-the-way.
In a country that stereotypes feminine beauty in air-tight boxes of “thin, pretty, fair, tall, convented”, I felt pretty inadequate.
Every time I land in Kolkata, my hometown, my relatives eye me suspiciously, commenting that I have either “lost” or “put on”. Fat’s always picked on, easily singled out. A fat person’s battle with the bulge is NEVER a private struggle that needs to be given space and respect. It must always be documented. There will have to be pictures that prove a ‘Before’ and ‘After.’
Weight loss is always a strict personal hell.
Why are Women who won the ‘Bulge Battle’ Always Highlighted?
Perhaps that is why we highlight those who ‘won’.
Instead of talking about Aarthi Agarwal, we focus on Bhumi Pednekar. Actress Aarthi, 31, who had acted in around 21 Telugu, Tamil and Hindi movies, died after suffering a cardiac arrest at a hospital in the US, in June this year. Aarthi had undergone a liposuction surgery about a month back. She’d succumbed to the ‘glam’ industry that insisted she stay thin at any cost.
Instead of Aarthi though, we focus on newbie Bhumi Pednekar. She’s made her detox mantra quite famous, parroting how,
Water is a boon for your body. I wanted to make this habit a lot more fun, and I found this thing called detox water. It cleanses and detoxifies. Lemon not only cleanses your body but also makes it alkaline. It boosts your immunity. Mint aids digestion and gives the drink some sweetness without any sugar. Cucumber...
Now that Sonakshi’s Slim and Bhumi Skinny, What ‘Icons’ do we Have?
I was 89 kilos in college. And I worked my butt off to become 65. A weight that I now practically own, occasionally dropping off some kilos when I least expect it. This is quite a feat – because, let’s face it, gym workouts and diets are anything but fun, and people rarely are regular for the rest of their lives. I mean you can enjoy it and be motivated, but imagine being told to just keep staring at a plate of mutton biriyani and chicken chaap and not touching it. It’s like foreplay, sans the orgasm!
Fat is sexist and racist. Think of all the husbands, brothers, male friends and colleagues who call overweight women ‘Tuntun’ or ‘moti bhains’? How about the way an ad for Kellogg’s Two Weeks Weight Loss Challenge diminishes our sex to its cheapest common denominator – a woman’s waist needing male validation? If he looks adoringly at you or you can fit into your skinny jeans, you are probably worth more.
Who are our fat icons, anyway? If Sonakshi Sinha is slimmer, Bhumi Pednekar skinny, and comedian Bharti Singh always makes fun of herself! Who are we looking to please?
(The writer is an ex lifestyle editor and PR vice president, and now a full-time novelist and columnist on sexuality and gender, based in Delhi. She is the author of ‘Faraway Music’ and ‘Sita’s Curse’. Her third book ‘You’ve Got The Wrong Girl’ is out next.)
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