I am back in India on holidays and have been here for just over a month now. A few topics that I dreaded when I packed my bags did come up. The two most important ones – my weight and the colour of my skin.
As for my weight it was the usual predicted story – A group of people going “You have lost so much weight. Are you eating at all?” and another group going “You haven’t lost one bit of weight. Did you actually put on weight when you went there?”. I can cope with this. I have the same standard answer… “No, I haven’t lost or gained any weight” even though I know the actual answer is that I had lost weight when I was in Florence and gained weight as soon as landed in India – well the as soon as means 5 days!
Now for the colour of my skin. I know that not too many would comment on this but surely there would be the usual suspects that would come up with a comment and I had to be prepared for it mentally. When my Chithi’s mother-in-law was alive she always used to comment on my how my skin colour remained the same even though I lived abroad. She did it religiously every time and I used to smile at her in reply. I told her once that my natural skin colour was this and nothing would ever change it. Don’t think she understood so I left it at that.
This time surprisingly I had escaped the comment for nearly the first three weeks of my trip. Last week I was in Bangalore. Had gone to visit friends in our old housing estate. Just as I was about to leave met a woman that I knew. She commented on how my skin had turned a shade fairer.
I was in a hurry to leave as the auto was waiting, else I would have asked her if she had a scale in which she had marked my skin colour earlier and now and is that how she knew the difference? Strange what people notice. If someone told me about a person’s physical attributes, I would be totally lost. I can’t even describe my own children, of course I know their height and weight and that is about it! I see a person as a whole human being and I cannot for the life of me describe a person when someone asks me to. Heck! I can’t even describe myself, forget describing someone else.
After much thought I decided, may be these enlightened souls have a really happy life and nothing much to worry about, so they have all the time in the world to analyse everyone else. Let them stay blessed!
What worries me though is our obsession with weight and skin colour. I never knew what my skin colour was or how (un)important it was till someone mentioned it to me about 15 years ago. I was told I was dark and a particular colour saree wouldn’t suit me. Till date I have not forgiven them for that!
I do worry about my weight – actually not about my weight, it is more about my tummy and it is more because it is unhealthy to have a big tummy rather than the look concern! I’ve had family and friends try to tell me I should wear clothes that don’t show my tummy. I am sorry… when I am not bothered why does it bother anyone else that I have a tummy that shows? I am comfortable in my own skin and body and I don’t want anyone to make me feel inferior just because I don’t look the way they want me to look.
PS: Just as I posted this some one came home and mentioned that I haven’t changed a bit in weight but my skin colour has changed… :sigh: