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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... :)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Battle with the body- XI

Right from my childhood days, I have noticed that kids were/are the cruelest. No, I am not saying kids are evil or any such unforgivable thing... Am referring to how they can really hurt someone with their words/actions... During my junior school days, I would walk on the road or be in school and have random kids on the street and my classmates/schoolmates make fun of me…  They wouldn’t hesitate to call me names and invariably it was associated with an animal or a vegetable.

Elephant [yanai]
Pumpkin [poosanikkai]
Big Brinjal [gundu kathirikai]
were the ones commonly used. Infact, I used to shy away and walk fast when crossing a certain section of the road or when I see a bully in the vicinity. I guess it also hit my self-confidence during those growing years.  Above it all, I always thought it was because of the small town we lived in that people behaved this way and this wasn’t how it was in big cities.

Oh, how wrong was I.  To my dismay I found kids in Chennai as bad if not worse than those in smaller towns. Here not only would they smirk and make fun, but they also would outlaw you. They would not include you in their gang or even let you sit with them on the same table during lunch. It is exactly like what we see in Foreign TV shows and movies.

Not only kids, but I found adults too had a way of making you feel conscious. They would meet you at home/outside and the first thing they would point out is your weight. “Oh, you look like you have piled on some eh…. Been busy gorging on those sweets over the holidays is it?” – ha if only, then i would atleast have a reason for the extra pounds, am the kind whose body will add em just by looking at the word "food" printed on a magazine... or “The dress is tad tight no, wear something else, something loose”- yea more like a pillow case… or “oho, still not married ah, I guess if you lose a few kilos it would make a difference and you would be married in no time”- ya right, the world is full of guys with stars in their eyes dreaming of a skimpy sexy babe. And then there are those pesky family members who make sure to find you, make a beeline towards you, and pass a comment about your weight. It is almost like they have a special radar that goes "beep beep beep" the minute you walk into the venue/home/function.

It is one of the reasons why I hated and avoided going for family functions. Did I mention I am tall as well? Yes, am nearly 6ft tall, so am quite hard to miss!! :D

But one thing that has stuck with me is that I never ever poke[d] fun at anyone- be it someone big or small, tall or short, fair or dark, etc etc… And I dint care, nor do I care now about a person’s appearance, what they wear, where they live, how much money they make or what kind of skin they have…. It seriously doesn’t matter. To me, all that matters is if I get along with the person or not. If I do, super, I strike up a conversation and all that jazz, else I smile and walk away.

Over the years when I grew up, learnt how to turn a deaf ear to anyone who mocked/teased a big thing I have noticed with kids is that they imitate what their parents/adults around them do. They follow them to the T.. If you don’t believe me, try slipping in a swear word or something stupid and see how fast they pick it up, not only that they will also remember and use it as often as possible, much to your embarrassment….

Just as with everything else, this too begins at home. Children do/imitate what they see around them. If someone older than them is doing something, then it must be right, therefore it gets copied instantly. But what kids don’t realise [well that is why they are kids] is that their actions have impact on others. Yes, till the age of 5/6 they don’t really think or know what they are doing. But beyond that, they continue doing what they did cos their mom/dad/uncle/aunt/cousin/someone else around them did it and got away with it or all it did was made them laugh.

When I walk on the road, I see school girls point, smirk, giggle, pull their friends, share the joy and it becomes like a chain.. just doesn’t stop, not until you don’t see them anymore! In supermarkets ad other places kids poke fun, shout out a comment or whisper something to their mom and the duo look  at you and laugh. I have actually gone up to the parent and asked them what was funny, if I had jam on my face or had grown an extra pair of ears. They don’t know what to say or do, they quickly walk away.

So, how about teaching your kids what is right and wrong, teach them about correct touch and bad touch.. Do not imbibe in them the concept of making fun of someone just cos they look different. Do not scare them saying “if you keep eating ice cream, you will become fat like that aunty, or if you don’t watch what you eat, you will become ugly like that uncle”… 

If you are to argue saying the parents whose kids mock are likely to be uneducated, I just might slap you.  Most times, I find educated is a word we use to hide behind. It is invariably parents/kids from “educated” background who mock others. They seem to think they are King/queen of the world and others are all weird or queer. 

Damn, did not realize I have written so much. All am trying to say is “Parents, teach your kids to be strong, smart, learn how to deal with the world and be nice to everyone [maybe you should also learn these in the process and change]!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Battle with the body - X

If you have been following my posts on "Body Shaming", you will know that I have grown up facing the wrath of many, smirks of too many to remember and of course the kind words of a few... And well, over the years have grown to love myself, love my body the way it is, and enjoy life for what its worth... 

I was on a recent holiday to USA, yes the infamous America and it was my 1st time there. I packed my bags, not a single salwar, indian outfit in it and was all set to have a blast. Did I?You betcha...   I had the time of my life. So much so that I did not want to come back... 

Here is what I experienced during my recent holiday... 

It was only about 2years ago that I discovered the brands that made western wear for my size. I started trying out T shirts, capri, jeans and now have moved onto Skirts as well. And guess what, I love it. SO much so that today I barely have any Indian outfits in my cupboard, just that odd 2 salwar sets that I wear to pretty much every semi formal occasion. Otherwise it is the saree for weddings and occasions. rest of the time, I am in a t-shirt with 3/4th or if am heading out it is the same thing, or a skirt or jeans.  Not only do I find these comfortable, I find that these are so much more suited on me.  Another element that caught me by surprise is that people stare less when am in non Indian outfits.. Which makes me wonder if its the outfit or me in that outfit that makes them stare?!! What do you think?

Ok, ok, without digressing any more.. So for the US trip, I did quite a bit of shopping - picked up T-shirts, tops from Westside and Myntra, also picked up a pair of well fitted jeans from ALL and I was set. I had packed in a few extra printed pant and palazzos but did not wear them at all. :D I had also carried a pair of shorts, which I wore at night and well in the evening while in Vegas .. woohoo.. 

Every morning I would shower, slip into a T-shirt/top with a 3/4 or jeans and that was it. I was happy through the day. I would go about exploring the town, doing shopping with family, cooking at home etc etc and it was good to go till night time. One day we were headed to the beach when my cousin looked at my pants and said why don't you change into shorts or something more comfortable, we are headed to the beach only... need I say more, I went and changed into 3/4th and we were off. 

In that country, I came across people of all sizes and shapes, be it on the streets or restaurants or the beach. Nobody gave them a second look, nobody pointed and stared at em. Well, am sure there are such incidents in many places but I dint encounter any. The same applied to me as well. I did not see a single person stare, point, giggle, chuckle or a child point to me and pull their mom's dress and point some more.. The minute you make eye contact with someone they smile and go their way, or ask how you were doing.

Stores, regular retail stores carry all sizes- even plus sizes. I was at the outlet mall,at Costco, at Target, Nordstrom Rack, Marshall's and everywhere I saw clothes across sizes.  It was such joy being able to pick up a top or pair of shorts off the rack and know you can just go bill it, instead of worrying about the size, looking around for a staff to ask if they had a bigger size on it...  I happily shopped around, bought myself T-shirts, tops, sleeveless tops, even two dresses [casual, but nonetheless] and a cardigan as well. :-)) Infact, I wish I had more space in my bag, might have shopped more.. haha.. look who's talking.

The ironic thing was that most of these clothes are made in India, except they are not sold here. Yep! you read it right.they are only for export purposes. A debate around this led to uncle asking me "how many big made people [women especially] in India actually pick up western wear. I argued that I knew atleast 10 of us who loved them and were constantly looking for them. His response was "10 is such a small number...".. But yes, I gotta agree that compared to a decade ago, today we had a lot more brands introducing plus size clothes, nearly every brand has a section for it and well the staff are polite and helpful, they don't smirk or just say "no, we don't have your size here". 

Not only is it is fun to experiment with clothes, but it is good to have options, right?! Above it all, finding clothes your size gives you such a confidence boost. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Saying NO and standing your ground...

The urge to say No is like that itch that won't go away, we know it exists but we are unable to reach it to scratch it away. Most times we spend so much time thinking it makes us a bad person for saying no.. Yes, we are all guilty of having this syndrome - it is called the need "to please" .. I had a tough time turning people down, rejecting projects and saying No to close friends/family. I literally had to bite my tongue and walk away, lest I caved in and said Yes, only to regret it later.

What happens is I would say Yes, and nod my head, but within seconds regret accepting it [whatever it was] and it would keep nagging me to no end. I would feel suffocated, sometimes would have to burn the midnight oil to complete the task or spend sleepless nights worrying about the task I was to do or the product/thing I had lent to someone.

 And thus began the process of me being aware of what was expected of me by the other person, evaluating my options, and then taking a decision. The initial few times I had reasons and valid excuses for saying NO. But even then, I would feel guilty, feel like I was a bad person. And if the person was a friend, and if they did not message or sounded different, I would keep connecting invisible dots and wondering if it was because I had turned them down they were behaving differently. Sigh.. Traumatising moments I tell you. 

Finally, one day I did not feel guilty anymore. I was free. I had said No and was at peace. I knew I had done the right, and the person had hopefully understood where I came from. It felt liberating.  I kinda understood the value of being true to myself and just accepting reality and not taking on more than I can chew. 

This applied to all aspects of life- work, friends, favours, money loans, etc etc... If I wasn't comfortable doing something or lending it out, I simply said No, not done and that was that. I did not mull over it in my head or lose sleep over it.  If the friend/family did not call/msg like they normally would, I was FINE with it [No, am not just saying it, I mean it]

You might have 10 mins free, you might be jobless, or you might just not be in the mood. It is perfectly fine, you can still go ahead say NO to whoever and whatever is being asked of you. You could be sitting at home watching Funny baby/dog videos, just chilling to music, reading that book that has been on the shelf forever, just go ahead enjoy it~ Remember, you are,

  • Saying No for the Sake of Your Time
  • Saying No for the Sake of Your Sanity
  • Saying No for the Sake of Your Relationship [oh yes, esp between friends it can turn sour]
  • Above all, Say No for the Sake of You... 

What are the situations/reasons for saying NO?

1. A friend wants you to help them out with a project they are struggling with - you have deadlines looming large and this would mean working extra 2hours, sleeping less and would be a stretch.. say no and offer alternatives to help them solve the puzzle.  

2. A friend wants to borrow money from you - yes, you feel bad for them, and you do have money to spare, but it might ruin your friendship. They might not be able to return it on time, or it would just become awkward between the two of you. You would constantly second guess giving them the money...

3. You have invited a bunch of people home for dinner and have a theme in mind. One friend offers to bring a dish that doesnt fit the theme - Tell them a polite thank you and give suggestion on something else they can bring or just tell them to come and enjoy!

4. You have had a long day at work and are looking forward to going home chilling with a glass of wine and some movie, when a colleague asks if you can pull in overtime as they need to go to a dinner/movie/party - Duh, no way, just tell them you have had a long day and cannot spend another minute in the office. wish them luck and walk away..

5. You are asked to volunteer at an event, or rather the person organising it assumes you are gonna be free and informs you last minute.- Tell them you were unaware of the event and have gone ahead made other plans, so will not be able to make it. It doesn't matter if you are free the whole day, if you do not like their approach or taking you for granted, it is fine to decline. 

6. You have made travel plans, and a friend/family member asks if you can carry some extra stuff for someone who is at the destination you are headed to. You have spent hours carefully planning your bags and know it would add to extra baggage. - Tell them not possible and that they should have informed you much ahead of time as they knew of your travel plans. Doesn't make sense to carry extra stuff and shell out money for it.

7. Other situations where you can say No are 
- Borrow clothes/ jewellery/vehicle
- Borrow books - yes some of us are particular about our books and don't like to lend them out.
- Make project submissions on behalf of others [even if there is money involved]
-Attending events you are not interested in [even if you have been attending it in the past]

So, go on give it a shot... say NO next time someone asks you for something/help/favor/blah blah blah... 

Do you have any personal stories to share on this? Do send them across by email or leave a comment.. Happy to hear :D