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~

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