Over to Varun Grover.
“I was a fat kid. The stigma and bullying have shaped my personality more than anything else I know. Being fat in school, that too being the only over-weight kid in class, meant I had to be alert all the times. Anybody could come and pinch my butt or stomach, throw a verbal variation of ‘mota’, or treat me as incapable of doing simple tasks like playing cricket. Most of my energies went into proving them wrong or pretending that I was not hurt. Nobody wants to make friends with people who get teased easily and break down. Crying is a sign of weakness, especially in our skewed definition of masculinity, and being fat AS WELL AS ‘sissy’ would have been the end of school social life.
I loved watching cricket and I wasn’t bad at playing it too but nobody would select me in the team. My fatness was a liability nobody was willing to carry. Even if selected in the team (the last to be picked), I’d not get a chance to bat or bowl. So I’d put all my efforts into fielding well. I’d kill myself to get that throw from the boundary right.
But still, just to show I am cool with this treatment, I would offer to play the umpire. That way, I’d get to be on the field at least, get to hold the ball at the end of every over (just for a few seconds before I toss it to the next bowler), and be treated with respect by both the teams. I’d apply myself to the task and be the most unbiased, observant umpire. Sometimes, I’d get to play a few balls or bowl an over – and I believe that became possible only because of the bridges I made as an umpire.
But since then, I feel I have been the same kid always. Slightly afraid of losing friends, unbiased, and observant just to make myself likeable and ‘useful’ in some way.”
P.S. – Am not fat anymore but I believe my soul still is.”