Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Battle with the body - III

Well, I have received quite a few emails on this topic. Quite surprised, but am glad I have been able to give them all a platform to share on. I have come to realise that this is a topic that many are touchy about, just that they don't want to talk about it openly, for fear of being ridiculed.

This time I got a mail from a guy and he asked me to change his name.. His story gives a different perspective to Body shaming. One thing I have learnt for sure is that people don't think........ period. Anyways, here goes..

Hi Aarti

This is S, and wow, I was zapped when I read this post. Infact it was my wife who shared the blog with me. She mentioned this was a topic that would interest me. I don't really spend too much time online, don't have a Facebook account and all that. But love reading and so this had me interested. When I was done reading the 1st two posts on this topic, I had a lightbulb moment and here I am sending you an email at 1am. 

I come from a family of 4 kids, I have a brother and two sisters, am the oldest. And am the leanest of them all, my parents are average built while my siblings swing between average to slightly heavy. I am lean, skinny, lanky and well, you get the picture. All my life I have had people tell me am too thin, there has to be something wrong with my body. Ottada kuchchi [Cobweb stick], palli [lizard], odanju vizhaporan [break and fall skinny boy] are some words that I grew up listening to and hate them with a vengeance. 

I still remember the growing years, mom would make badam milk and horlicks for me in the morning, along with breakfast in an attempt to fatten me up. I also have nightmares of being taunted by kids in school and this continued all the way to high school. It was around the 10th std that I was hit hard, I started failing exams, I would refuse to go to school, which forced my parents to go visit the principal and have a talk with them. Principal in turn shrugged their allegations off saying "its all just kids, you know how Kids are, leave it, don't make a big deal of it." I ended up repeating 10th std and then went on to clear the exams. Slowly I was becoming withdrawn, did not have any friends, did not do anything outside of school. Around the time I was starting my 12th std, a friend's mom approached my parents and told them to take me for counselling, teach me how to handle the world and not let that get to me. 

Luckily for me, even though my parents did not think this was necessary, my dad's older brother convinced him otherwise and I attended about 12 sessions with a counsellor. No medication, just talking and learning how to accept myself for who I was and to not let others hurt me with their words. Even then it took me a while to actually walk past these groups of boys in school and not make a dash for the class to avoid hearing them. But by the time we were nearing 12th std final exams, I was able to turn a deaf ear. After a few such incidents, the boys stopped calling me names. it was almost like they kept taunting me cos I kept reacting.  That is when it hit me that I should stop reacting and not care a damn. Well, it has been a decade or more since then, and today I still remain skinny, my wife does tease me about it at times but I know she is not being mean. There are times we go shopping and I look for XS in certain brands and she laughs her head off. Oh and we are expecting our 1st baby, soon... :-) Can't tell you how excited about it.. We are also going to make sure our baby grows up respecting everyone just as they are... 

As for the rest of the world, there are a few who still pass comments and snide remarks, but I pause, look at them smile and walk away.  I actually get a cheap thrill from it. 

Guess what am trying to say is I know what it feels like to be mocked, and don't understand why people are so mean towards others, just because they look different. So what, so who cares, why is it their business to make fun/comment on someone's looks... Who the off died and made them rulers of the world. All I have to say to them is get a life and get out of mine... 

Keep sharing Aarti.. Off i go to plan the week ahead.. 

Skinny boy. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Battle with the body - II

It has been a few days since I started this series on Body Shaming, and I got an email last evening from a person[What a surprise, I dint think anyone would actually read/respond]....Here goes,

Hi Aarti, 

I read your post and the first thing that came to my mind was "Wow, finally someone is talking about it.. I am not alone in this world, going through such partial treatment day in and day out.I am sending across my life story, do share it on your blog.

I am 21 years old and have just completed Undergraduate program from a leading college in the city. I am hoping to work for atleast two years before going on to do my Masters. Well, I live about 12kms from college and so commute via the local Bus. It is a nightmare every morning and evening, the distance from the bus stand to home is about a km and while I walk from and to, I keep hearing comments about my body. There is a small section of the road with a tea stall, a group of men [not even boys] stand there ogling, staring and commenting at every single girl/woman and when I walk by there will be some snide remark [it has come to a point where I now wait for them to comment as I am nearing the corner]. 

It would be "yabba, yaaruda intha poosanika [who is this pumpkin], aiyo bayama irukku [oh God, am scared], unga veetla arisi evlo vangarangamma [how much rice do they buy in your house] or some such degrading term followed by laughter for a good minute or so... earlier, when I would hear these, I would run home and cry, locking myself up in my room. When I spoke to my parents about it, they told me to keep quiet and not get into trouble. An aunt even commented"yes, if you are fat, people will comment, do something and lose weight". That hurt more..

For as long as I can remember, I have always been on the heavier side [I now weight 76kgs]. Both my parents are heavy built and so is my brother. It is perfectly fine that my brother is big built, but not me. I am not very tall [5ft 3"], which does not help. I have even pleaded to my parents asking if we can move to a different locality, but no use. My dad grew up in this house and says he will live his life here only. 

While earlier it used to hurt like crazy and I would cringe, these days I just don't care. Sometimes I have my headphones plugged in [even if am not listening to music/radio] and walk home. Once a neighbour uncle who happened to pass by at the very time I do heard them and told them to behave. He told me "don't bother about them, jobless uneducated fools".

I have often wondered why am I being singled out like this. Just because I don't fit into the so called box [ figure]. I wear salwar kameez with dupatta everywhere, I wore a saree once and got mocked like crazy by these guys and few others [including some women] in the bus and roads. There are quite a few like me in my college who face harassment and few others who joined hands with us to fight this nonsense. During my final year of college one day, 4 girls from my class came home with me. I knew what to expect as we approached the tea stall, and the minute one of them opened their mouth I told my friends to go ahead, while I marched over and told them how sad their lives must be that they pick on me/other girls day in and day out, we told them it hurt when they made those comments and how would they feel if someone behaved the same way with their women. .... <few minutes of silence>.. one guy came forward apologised and told others to apologise to me and from that day on I don't hear a peep from them. [I bolted and joined my friends who were waiting ahead..they were stumped seeing what I did and I have no idea where I got the guts from] Small victory I agree... I wonder what needs to be done to change the world. 

I have landed a job and I join in a month's time..Hopefully things are better hereon. Maybe you could also speak to a psychologist to understand why people behave the way they do ~~ Shall be following the series... 

Thanks a bunch for being our voice...

I have one more story to share, and this time it is a guy's point of view.... Next post~

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Battle with the body - I

Scene 1
A little girl is tugging at her mom's saree and points to a GIRL afar.
The mother also looks, they share a chuckle, nudge the others in their gang
All stare at the said GIRL for a few minutes and then move on.
The GIRL is left wondering wtf....but she doesn't pay heed and carries on.

Scene 2
A GIRL is walking on the road
Bunch of guys or girls coming in the opposite direction
Stare, snigger, chuckle
Point and laugh
SHE stops for a brief second, contemplates giving them a piece of HER mind, but decides against it and walks on. 

Scene 3
A family gathering or  relative visiting home
First comment they make to the GIRL 
"Have you thought of enrolling with VLCC or tried a gym, you do need to shed those flabs, else who will marry you, how can you make babies, la la laaa?!"
The GIRL grits her teeth, walks off to her room/a different part of the hall and tries to put this out of her mind...

You get the drift, right? Well, the GIRL in these three instances is a regular girl, except she is on the bigger side [in terms of size]... And ergo the Society feels it is its SOLE duty to put her in her place and make her feel like an alien... 

I don't get it.. Never have and never will I guess! Am starting a series on the blog to talk about Body shaming.. how there are millions and millions in this world who are all about mocking others who don't fit into a box, a box that was created by some random people.. This series shall focus on how people shame others, how they are ridiculed and why it is wrong... 

It seems to be all about one's appearance..  We are taught from an early age that one needs to be in a certain shape, size else they will stand out and therefore is bound to be subjected to ridicule. But what surprises me is that small tiny people are not subjected to any of this, it is only when you stand out, stand tall, stand big that you are mocked and ogled at like some museum piece.. why is that? Who set the rules, who created the "norms"??? 

I also want to understand why are people so quick to judge, call names, point and stare endlessly... Just cos someone is big/heavier doesn't mean they are a freak, right? This whole concept of Body shaming is just not done... You [the ones who comment, sneer, chuckle, point & laugh] have no clues about the PERSON and no idea why SHE/HE is the way they are.. What they are going through, their health, their lifestyle etc... 

In case you are one of those good souls who has no idea what Body shaming is, here is what the net defines it as,

Body shaming is defined as inappropriate negative statements and attitutes toward another person's weight or size. It can also reach into the discrimination against individuals who may be overweight.

There is this TV show called My Big Fat Fabulous life on TLC featuring Whitney who is big [mainly cos of PCOS condition]and she talks about how life is difficult, how she enjoys dancing, and how people around her are constantly going on and on about her size.. They do not look at the good stuff she has- positive attitudes, talents, abilities...

Gonna do a series on this... so watch out for more.. If any of you have personal stories you would like to share, please mail them to 

This Monday.. Live for yourself..

[image courtesy:]

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Starbucks Test and Home..

So, yesterday while I was browsing the net looking for some fun videos I came upon this one featuring Sq feet Subbu.  Yes, right! The name had me pausing and then curiosity got the better of me and I clicked on the video titled The StarbucksTest and Home wondering what the video was about.

It opens with two guys sitting behind a desk, not only do they look alike but they sound alike as well. One was Sq feet Subbu while the other introduced himself as Mr Same to Same… that had me cracking and I couldn’t wait to watch the rest of it.. The minute Sq Feet Subbu opened his mouth; I knew he was a Chennai boy all dressed up. And they claim to be on the lookout for the most happening locality in the city to buy an upmarket home. Ah, interesting… I see this video is unlike any other real estate promo and continue watching.

Hahaha.. there is only one thumb rule he says, “Does your locality have a Starbucks” whaaa.. Why? Cos this is one brand that opens their 1st outlet in a city in the most happening locality.. In Chennai, they opened their first one in Phoenix Market City in Velachery of course.  What comes next is what got my attention. Subbu went on to explain that it is not just Starbucks that sets Velachery apart, it is a locality that has everything from Dunkin Donuts to Thalapakattu biryani , apart from 200 odd restaurants , 50 schools , 25 hospitals , 2 big malls and some of the most fanciest colleges in the city as well. Oooh, now that is true!! It is indeed an area that has developed within a short span of time and managed to lure crowds from across the city. It is also well connected to other parts of the city, either towards Adyar or beyond towards Pallavaram or yonder. Subbu goes on with facts slamming them one after the other, as if making a closing statement in an important case in the court. They convince you by the end of the video that Velachery is indeed the area to be in. Even though it was once nothing but farmland, it is today vied as the most enviable to address to have.  And what do you know, we have DRA homes making their entryinto the city with their beautifu property Tuxedo right here in Velachery.

"For far too long, residences in Chennai have remained the same. Either you get a plain vanilla 2BHK and 3BHK in the city or a suburban gated community where you are one more resident among hundreds vying for the same facilities. With Tuxedo, we've offered the best of both worlds. A stylish living experience in a plush locality in the city with an exclusive community experience thrown in, all for an irresistible price," explained Ranjeeth Rathod, CEO, DRA Group.

[Images courtesy: DRA Homes Facebook]

Towering over nine floors, Tuxedo offers 2 bedroom apartments in three different sizes and 3 bedroom apartments in 4 sizes where you can have your own office cubicle or a video conferencing room.  
If you wanna know what you get by living in this plush property, here is a sneak peek,

·                Homes covered against natural disasters for 5 years from TATA AIG
·                Concierge services for laundry, bill payment, travel booking etc
·                Triangular inner courtyard for community living and lung space.
·                RO system in all kitchens for safe drinking water
·                Double glazed windows for noise-free ambience, 4-sided ventilation and excellent lighting
·                Wooden flooring in master bedroom for sophistication and durability
·                Super premium bathroom fittings, granite flooring in common areas, double putty walls
·                Fitness zone, video games and interactive activities
·                Video door phone
·                Wi-Fi enabled campus

As I look at the cool pictures of the apartments coming up, am still chuckling at the funny PJ Sq feet Subbu cracked at the end of the video…. lol... 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Art of Fitting in..

“Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?” 
― Ian Wallace

Other person: “Why are you like this, why aren’t you like x or y”?
Me: Cos I am Me.
Other person: But then do this this that and be You
Me: If I do those things, I wont be happy
Other person: Doesn’t matter, atleast you wont stand out like a sore thumb.. I won't have to hear words from others.. 
Me: *Speechless, angry, upset, hurt…*

This has been the story of my life..  There are so many things I haven’t done , rather things that conform to the norms of the so called society which has led to arguments and disagreements, heck everyday is difficult. There are days when I wish I were living in a planet with not a single soul around.  I am so fed up of people and their constant judgments, questions, finger pointing and smirking..

All cos I choose to live life my way.. All cos I don’t fit in the box they are living in.

Day before was chatting with a friend when he mentioned he has issues in life cos he doesn’t fit in.  It struck me that I am not alone in this zone, there are quite a few who feel the same way.

Oh you are 35+, and still single – Good gosh, why are you still alive?
Oh you are gay, and are happy- Good lord, don’t come anywhere near me..
Oh you are independent and confident girl who doesn't need a guy to run her life- Good God, wtf  is wrong with you.
Oh you speak your mind – Goodness me, I don’t want anything to do with you.
Oh you are plus size but you want to wear a Tshirt/blouse and palazzo pants - Oh my, would you go change into something decent , esp if you are coming out with me.. 

NO, I did not make these up! Have had/heard these very reactions and it pisses me to no end.

And then there are those who aspire to live like me, but will not.. They are the pseudo piss offs.. They will all that their family demands and be miserable, yet will point a finger at me and shake their head disapproving..

Only question I have for these “sorted” souls in the world
What is it that stops you from doing what you desire?
It is most likely fear… lack of confidence…

Why do you want to control everyone around you?
Just so you don’t feel left out?

And the biggest question of it all “Why do you care what I do with my life?”.. am an adult who is living life the way she/he deems right.. I might regret my decisions [yet to regret a single thing I have done], but it is her/his life.. If you cant be supportive, atleast don’t be a pricklypear…

I am happy living my life my way.. There may be times when I rely on friends for support, but I do need someone telling me how to live my life..  

I choose to do what I do cos it makes me happy. Heck, even if it doesn't, its my decision.

The society is what we make of it, we are part of it, so if you want to do something different, something against the so called "norms", go for it~ And show the finger to anyone who dares pass judgement... 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Friendships and expiry dates..

If someone had told me that friendships came with an expiry date, I would have howled with laughter. Heck, I might have given them a piece of my mind even. 

But today, I know that friendships do come with an expiry date and you need to accept it. It might not be written anywhere, or be screaming at you giving you a warning of sorts, but there are a few that meet the end and that is it. 

Those who know me will accept when I say I have quite a few close folks in my life. But among all these, there are very very very few who am extremely close to, who know me in and out, probably better than I know myself. And they are the ones who have been there for me through it all. Not to say others don't care or are shallow, no way!

This post is about one friendship which met its end, a tad out of the blue, but one that I have shut the doors on. I do feel sad when I look back, but then hey, maybe this was the end of the road for this journey and I have let go. I don't want to reach out or rekindle the bond, for I know it won't be what it was and I will always be questioning my judgement. Yes, this other person did try to reach out, through another friend but I am done! I also thought to myself "If you don't have the decency to reach out to me on your own, do I really matter to you?" Anyways, it is all water under the bridge... 

While it takes me a long time to allow people into my life, to trust them and get close to them, once am in it is for lifetime! Again, this is something that people around me will vouch for. But then, it holds true when I cut off someone. I am done and I don't need them in my life. As bitchy as it sounds, I simply move on and make peace with it. 

So, what happened in these friendships you ask?

Well, circumstances changed.. they changed as a person... I stuck to my ground, I kept giving advice thinking they would change, but just kept seeing em get sucked down the quick sand, with eyes wide open, which is the worst part... 

In these two instances, I was quite close to the kids, but then, what the parent/person does is what matters right... And there is no way I could mend fences just to be with the kids.. Life doesn't work that way! 

Sometimes I also wonder if friendships/relationships come to an end because the other person has no more use for you/me.. Maybe your purpose in their life is done, or they just needed someone in their life at that particular juncture and it was done and dusted with time, so you get kicked out. 

Recently two conversations with two different people kinda gave me a jolt.. One was a friend, who I  have known for nearly 2 decades or more and the other is a friend I have known for just over a year.  They both mean the world to me and we talk about everything under the sun! Wth them I discussed these two lost friendships and we agreed that unfortunately even though I have no expectations or judgements, the other person[s] do/did, which is why it ended/died.....  That's life, you don't get to choose the cards, you play with the hand you are dealt with, right? 


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Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)