There are so many weird people. As you read on, you may feel this sentence has no connection whatsoever with the topic of this week’s column, but patience rakh lo yaar. You’ll soon get to know why I am saying this. Anyway, listen to my story. Went to a shopping mall. Mission: buy a dress for a wedding. There was this young girl in the store who had come with an aim to try every damn dress manufactured in the history of that brand. So, she kept zooming in and out of the fitting room, with two hapless and distressed guys standing outside. Her boyfriend… and the salesman. What’s interesting was she’d come out of the trial-room every three minutes and ask the SAME question to both. Yes, to both! Even to the salesman. “Am I looking fat in this?” The boyfriend was, well, a boyfriend, and hence quite adept at shaking his head even before she could complete her question. The salesman was also clearly someone’s boyfriend, and hence an expert in handling the ‘not at all, what are you saying?’ part with painful efficiency.
After observing this close to 17 times (haan mujhe koi aur kaam nahi thaa, do you have a problem?) and being who I am (now read the first sentence of this write-up), I decided to play kill-joy. The next time she came out and asked her favourite question, I declared a loud ‘yes, you are’, before rushing to hide in the next trial-room. I think I spoiled the evening for the boyfriend but what the heck, he didn’t look happy anyway. I do feel guilty for the salesman.
Anyway, itni badi kahani suna di… now do you know what I’m talking about? Yes… it’s the ‘I-don’t-look-good-enough’ stress that I want to attack with full-force this week. Hope you are with me on this because this, trust me, is the single cause of distress for most people in the world, regardless of race, culture, gender, blah and blah. ALL of us are, in some way or the other, dissatisfied with the way we look. Yes, even Katrina Kaif or Brad Pitt or whoever is perfect in your eyes. This has to be God’s cruelest practical joke on us. He made all of us in different shapes and sizes… and then made all of us dissatisfied. Starting today, I’ve decided that the joke’s not on me anymore. Here are three resolutions… yes, even if it’s not New Year as yet.
1. I’ll not ask anyone if I’m looking fat: And if someone asks me if they are looking fat, I’ll say yes. Dekhiye, this is one question, for which there is just no happy answer. You ask someone if you are looking fat… if that person says no, you’ll invariably turn around and say — aise hi jhooth keh rahe ho to make me feel good. God forbid, if he/she says yes, it’ll reinforce your negative thoughts about your looks. Lose-lose situation, isn’t it? So, it’s better not to ask, you already know the answer.
2. I’ll not let my self-esteem depend on my looks: There’s no denying that we ought to be healthy in life. Oye, I’m referring to wellness. If any Punjabi takes it literally, like the way we use ‘healthy’ for ‘fat’ (... ladki thodi ‘healthy’ hai). We should practice everything it takes — good diet and exercise to ensure that we stay fit and avoid diseases. But beyond that, I refuse to see any connect between the flesh on my waist or tummy and my image in my own eyes. For the world to believe that you look good, you first have to believe it firmly in your own head.
And shall I tell you a secret? The world actually doesn’t care. You may kill yourself fretting in front of the mirror, but I’m yet to come across a boy who loves his girlfriend less because her waist went up two sizes. Or a girl saying, ‘You know, my boyfriend is possessive and treats me bad, but thank God for those biceps, at least!’ Aisa nahi hota hai.
We like or dislike people for their overall disposition, for how they make us feel. If you want to lose weight, sure go ahead and do it, but do it for yourself and not for anyone else. It doesn’t bother or matter to them as much as you think. Sach mein.
3. I’ll make peace with my body, just the way it is: It’s good to aspire and keep trying to look better. But if you think all your problems will be solved and you’ll be perfectly happy after shedding those 5kgs, well, sorry. Life is what you have right now, and you’re wasting it by worrying day and night about your looks. Aim to dress right according to your body type, have the right posture and confident body language, and most importantly, feel good about the way you are. There’s no size-zero girl or a six-pack guy who’d be able to stand up to you if you love the way you are. Are you with me on this? Please say yes or I may just call you fat.
Sonal Kalra has decided to ditch the weighing scale, after she heard muffled screams coming out of the poor gadget. Oh, by the way, how’s her column picture? Does she look fat? Mail her at email@example.com or facebook.com/sonalkalraofficial. Follow on Twitter @sonalkalra.
On reader feedback, this is a re-run of an article previously published in this column.