When I came back from Delhi, Teja said: “I have a present for you.” And handed me this.


I said: “So what is it you want to say?”

He said: “Nothing. I just want you to blog about it. I thought you’d find it funny.”

I wonder if I can add a few more kilos to the old one, and exchange her for 2 new wives to gift my husband with. But it seems to me that the national obsession with weight and fairness is no longer very funny.

A few days ago, an interviewee who I was meeting for the 2nd time in my life said: “You’ve put on weight since the last time I saw you. Your face is bloated.” I’d met her for the 1st time, 3 weeks ago.

Later, the Canadian journalist who had been with me asked: “Was that meant to be a compliment?”

I said: “No.”

She said: “I can’t think of anyone who could say that to me in Canada, except my mother. And even my mother would have to think twice before she said anything of the sort to me.”

I shrugged and said: “It’s fairly commonplace here to comment on people’s weight the minute you see them, even if you are strangers.”

I’ve been overweight by 5 to 7 kilos in the last 12 years. That gives almost everyone the right to make personal comments that they never did when I was thin.

Or perhaps it’s just that more people make more personal comments than they ever did in the past.

People will tell you that you look tired, you look old, your hair is grey, you look sick, you look fat, the instant they see you, even when they are meeting you after years or months, and have no connection or concern with your life otherwise. I look at them and wonder, do they ever look in a mirror themselves.

A so-called friend meeting me after 5 years, pinched my arm at a party and said, “You should go to the gym, you know.” After I had walked away, she told Teja, “You ought to push her to lose weight. It looks awful.” She made sure that I became self-conscious at the party, and stopped mingling.

What I don’t understand is how commenting on anyone’s weight is going to help them in any way.

I mean, if you think I am fat because I am lazy, and you tell me I am fat, it’s hardly going to make me stop being lazy.

If you think it’s because I eat too much, your saying so is not going to make me stop being a glutton.

If it’s because I don’t exercise, catch me going to the gym because you asked me to.

If it’s because I have some medical problem like hypothyroidism, sure, your rubbing my face in the ground, is going to provide the cure.

And if it’s because I am depressed, your saying so is only going to make me more depressed.

So go get a life of your own, my ‘friends’. Or learn better manners.

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