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Skin deep

Last week, I was sitting in a room full of women getting dressed. It’s not what it sounds like — a bunch of us were going for a party and everyone decided to get ready at my place. For some reason.

entertainment Updated: Jun 02, 2012 01:14 IST
Imran Khan

Last week, I was sitting in a room full of women getting dressed. It’s not what it sounds like — a bunch of us were going for a party and everyone decided to get ready at my place. For some reason.



Anyhow, as is normally the case, the guys were dressed and ready, and waiting for the girls. It was in the middle of this chaos that I noticed a certain repetitive quality to the conversation; the girls only seemed to be discussing whether they looked fat, and what they could do to make themselves look thin. From the fabric of the dresses to the cut and colour, to the hairstyle to the shoes…the question was the same: “Does this make me look thinner?”



And it’s not like this was a gang of actors or supermodels who had to be red-carpet-ready, just some friends who were planning to go out for the evening (that’s still legal, right? Just checking. But I’m digressing).



How did we get here? How did we all become so obsessed with the way we look? And who decided what the perfect look is? Was there a meeting? Did everyone vote? No one called to ask my opinion. In case you’re wondering, I like women to be shaped like women, which is to say, with curves.



Look, I’m totally in favour of working out in some way or another. I think being healthy is the best gift you can give yourself, and I think everyone should run, jump, dance, play a sport, or do something to keep themselves as fit as possible. But the sole focus cannot and should not boil down to the way you look.



You’d be surprised how many of those muscle-bound guys you see can’t run up a hill without fainting. Because no one goes to the gym to be healthy anymore…it’s just about achieving a certain appearance.



And what about those who don’t look like that? They berate themselves, and feel ashamed of who they are, of how they look. The real tragedy here is that we’ve started to place so much importance on appearance that no one seems to care about what a person is really like. So, we will forgive a person for being shallow, boring, and utterly devoid of personality as long as they have abs. And a chubby person who is witty and intelligent will forever be the class clown. Fun to have around, but never taken seriously. It seems you’re only as attractive as your abdominal muscles.



You’re going to meet a lot of people in life. All sorts of people, good and bad. I think, many years from now, when you look back at the ones who have meant the most to you, you won’t remember how much belly fat they had. Just the way they made you feel when you were with them. Right Jimmy?



P.S: The team at HT have started an initiative called You Read, They Learn, to educate underprivileged children. Basically, they will donate five paise everyday for every copy of Hindustan Times that is sold. I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but when you think about how many copies are sold around the country per day, it starts to look like a lot of money. Here’s an easy way for you to help people.



Write to me at

imran.khan@hindustantimes.com