“Gundu (fat), no?”
“You look so unhealthy. You need to exercise.”
“Keep eating more chocolate, you’re beginning to look obese.”
Since I was a baby, people have been using the F(at) word around me indiscriminately. As if it’s their prerogative and some kind of bizarre birthright to call someone fat. I sometimes wish their judgements were justified. Unlike the King of Tonga, I don’t need to have a special chair made for me to accommodate my so-called fat self.
It didn’t help me in the least when, at the age of 14, I had more curves than most teenagers I knew. And teenage girls, insensitive bitches that they are, enjoyed making fun of trainer bras for some strange reason. It didn’t matter to them that they wore said bras a couple of years later, but I couldn’t wear them because, well, they didn’t like it. Those were the times I wished I was non-descript.
I’m not sure where this sudden need to talk about it is even coming from.
In school, there were some characters who, thanks to a then-released movie Kaadal Desam, thought it was cool to ask me to bend over and pick something off the floor. Our pinafores prevented any cleavage show, even then, those idiots thought it was clever and for some reason I should have felt honoured that I was being asked to please bend and pick up a coin.
Then of course were more teenage girl comments about the size of my ass and chest. I never understood why the fuck it was fascinating for boobless women to go all – “dude, your big boobs are so fugly” – on women with boobs. In school, that taunt was a little more annoying because these skinny children with no thighs and boobs to speak of seemed to be very popular with the boys and possessed a secret that some of us wanted to get our hands on. They were also very snide and for some reason enjoyed snarking on the girls who had more flesh on them.
The boys in my batch who were getting the attention? Not that good-looking or interesting even. I’m sorry to go on the record to say this. Truth is that some of our relationships have grown only after school when we acquired some semblance of personalities and character, more than what our grey hospital-patient-esque uniforms afforded us anyway.
To imagine being approved of by these boys and to validate our teenage awkward selves with our popularity with them is something I never really understood. My general hate for how I looked prevented any amount of self-confidence. I was angry a lot. I yelled a lot. I was a teacher’s daughter, so there was a grudging acceptance of me in the classroom, and I don’t think it was anything more than that.
The people I went to school with are the ones I’d cut my left arm off for now. I cannot imagine a life without them. Now, however, has no bearing on then. And then, to be perfectly honest, is a time I’d like to erase from memory, if it’s not too much trouble!
It was only in college that body types was a concept that my poor scarred brain was able to embrace. Even my sneaky Mills & Boon reading in class 11 accomplished only one thing, the women were gorgeous and skinny, only a hint of curve, but otherwise perfect. I gave up.
College opened another thought mechanism. That of actually thinking and assessing and analyzing and figuring it out. Since I am a possessor of a sizeable chest area, some women were jealous. I was amazed! You hate that you don’t have boobs? For real? Whatte!
There were some others who were comfortable being whatever they were, and I decided then that I would try my best to be comfortable with the body I had and via that get comfortable with who I am.
Those three years studying literature and criticizing archetypes helped me get over a lot of my adolescent baggage. Sometimes a red bra can help compensate for the strap-snapping bullies in ways that I cannot explain.
These days, people still indiscriminately use the F word around me. I use it on me. But no significant brain damage has been caused due to the same. I’m in a better place and sometimes when I really need to feel better, I just pull out a red or black number and smile to myself. It's hella better than chocolate sometimes, and for me, that's saying a lot!