"Main khaate peete ghar ki hoon yaar- I've always been 'fat' and unapologetic about it. But my own friends still 'appreciate' me for being confident 'despite' being fat and ask me how I'm so happy all the time. Honestly, is it really that hard to believe? Back in school, I was a badminton champion. But when I wanted to sign up for a city level competition, my coach stared at me up and down and asked me in a condescending tone, 'Are you sure you want to participate?' I just smiled and nodded. I was naïve back then and didn't know what body-shaming was.
When I was in the 10th grade, I switched schools. Naturally, I was a little nervous about making new friends and tried really hard to fit in. But a few days after I joined, a group of boys started addressing me as 'putana', which means demon- I felt my stomach sink with embarrassment; they'd shout it every time I'd walk by. Over the next few weeks, I realised that they wouldn't stop unless I spoke up for myself. So I walked to them and said, 'My name is Ritika. Nothing gives you the right to call me such a name.'
Nobody expected that, and I think that's the problem- they thought they could get away with it. After that, they never teased me again. Ironically, one of the guys in that group was also a 'fat' boy but no one said anything to him. Now when I look back at my school days, I realise that no matter how talented I was, all people could talk about was my weight. As I grew older, I began taking all of these comments with a pinch of salt. When relatives taunted me- 'You are very smart. Now just lose weight, warna shaadi nahi hogi,' I'd just ignore them and walk away.
But after college, the shaming was replaced by sympathy when suddenly I was diagnosed with thyroid. My parents were worried and kept pressuring me to 'mind' my food habits. So I started a strict salad diet and gymming- I lost 19 kgs in 8 months. But my goal was to be healthy, not thin- so when my thyroid got under control, I began eating normally again. (excerpt)
Humans of Bombay, Fb
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