I know what it means to be ‘painfully thin’ all too well. It’s just as bad as being overweight – worse, perhaps, because there are not many of my type visible. I was always thin, with a very small face, and when I was a child, I was picked on for it all the time. I grew up hearing things like: ‘You’re just a bag of bones, get some flesh on’, ‘Who will marry you?’; ‘Phoonk marenge, toh ud jayegi (If I exhale, you’ll fly)’, and ‘Mummy-papa kuch khilate nahin, kya? (Don’t your parents feed you?)’.
Now I’m 29 and married, and I still hear these comments. The only thing that’s changed is that now people ask, ‘Don’t your in-laws feed you?’ People don’t understand how demeaning these comments can be. I smile at them, but inside, I seethe. I wish people would leave me alone.
I have to keep proving to my family and friends that even though I’m thin, I don’t lack strength and energy. In fact, I can stay on my feet all day long and feel less tired than anyone I know. Still, I have to keep proving myself. Once, when I was in college, my friends wouldn’t let me help set up a party. I was so furious I carried the entire music system to the terrace by myself.
Over the years, this treatment made me shy and I retreated into a shell. Only much later did I listen to my mom who told me to ignore everyone and just believe in myself. That brought my mojo back. I have always been a good eater, but I never put on weight. I had tests to check if everything was fine, and it is. I just have a slight body frame and a fast metabolism.
From HT Brunch, August 7, 2016
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