Over to S from Mumbai
“”Tall and slim?” They laughed as they read out my essay where I was describing myself. Am I not slim? I wondered to myself. Slim was a good word. All the beautiful people were slim. I thought I was slim. I was nine.
We went shopping for my first bra. The shopkeeper staring 6 inches below my face. “Body thoda jyaada hain umar ke hisaab se.” I was 10.
“You can’t take part in the annual day dance show. It doesn’t look good when fat girls dance.”
“You can’t wear nice clothes if you’re fat.”
“You can’t get a boyfriend if you’re fat.”
“You can’t run. You’re fat. “
“You can’t eat this. You’re fat. “
My teenage years was sown together by a babble of cannots. While other girls were discovering their bodies, had their first kisses and were showing off their first-time-waxed legs, I was cramming up equations, binging on food and sitcoms and coming up with creative secret names for my crushes to discuss with my girlfriends.
I’m 30 now. I’ve never had a boyfriend. I’ve never been kissed. I’ve been friendzoned by the men I’ve loved. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be a woman. To be lusted after. I don’t wear white. I don’t dance in public. I eat secretly. Because I’m fat.
My experience with this fat casteism had left me embittered and cynical.
And then I realized I was treating my body just the way everyone else was. As if it’s only job was to please everyone’s eyes.
So I started writing down everything I loved about it. My body is so much more than you can see. My strong arms that swim and lift weights easily. My ample breasts that will feed my baby one day. My fingers and brain work in tandem when I suture my patients. My hands when I cook for my loved ones. My brow when it squirms as I look into the microscope. The hazel colour of my eyes. My chunky calves that allow me to work for hours without rest. My chubby cheeks reaching for my eyes every time I smile. It’s all me. I’m fat. But I won’t let that weigh me down. I won’t. “