When a female crosses 40, she gets into a denial mode. All the rejuvenating cream ads make her believe in the fountain of eternal youth. She starts imagining that clothes that would look awesome on a 20 year old, would fit her as well and stuffs her wardrobe with most unsuitable attire. She hates her grey and thinning hair, so experiments unsuccessfully with ways and means for it to look black and full. She only buys voluminizing shampoos and hair loss and colouring treatments from the supermarket. She runs to the parlor to colour the single grey hair as soon as the sighting is made. When the “medium” size makes breathing tough due to the ever expanding waistline, she gets into fads like checking out the latest celebrity health club and decides to starve herself to lose that 5 kilos and couple of inches. All the effort to turn the clock back by those 20 years when she had neither the self confidence, nor the means to do anything silly like that.
One bright Sunday morning, my husband dearest saw Anjali Mukerjee in the newspaper. “You know, she has worked with Miss India’s. At least go and talk to them”. My shrill response of- “I am not FAT” did nothing to help. Even reminding that it will cost a hefty amount- did not deter him from the noble desire to reduce his wife (to pieces).
These days buying clothes has had its own challenges. The ones I really like, I did not fit into and rest look auntie-types (Ooh, I forget my status update to auntie some 20 years ago). Keep in mind that when I was the right age, India’s fashion statement was silk sarees and over-sized frocks. I had some cherished clothes from phoren which I have not been able to fit into for the past 10 years, I thought might as well see if Anjali could help. And there was this young kid who draped my dupatta chastely over my belly and I realized that she assumed I was pregnant. Did nothing good for my self esteem to look forever 4 months. My resolve strengthened.
We’ll help you lose weight without any exercises or therapies, all you have to do is follow our prescribed diet plan and do some walking. Sounded simple enough and I enrolled. Then they gave me pills to eat- they call it herbs- almost 10 a day. And took away everything that is worth eating. No rice (my bong avatar is aghast) or anything remotely tasty. Think of anything that you like eating and it is banned. Who likes to drink skimmed milk and eat oats poha (ugh), and salads every day. The worst part is I can’t even start the day with my normal ginger tea and need to drink aleovera juice and warm water. Trust me, it tastes worse than awful. My mouth and tummy keeps grumbling away.
Losing weight is like gambling. You pay to lose and Anjali wins. Think of our middle aged, well oiled and rounded bodies -we have hoarded the fat over decades. That double chin and protruding belly did not develop overnight. It took immense effort and significant amount of oil and butter and cakes that we devoured to get these extra inches and just when the convex curves are beginning to show, we want to get rid of it. Just to get into that pair of shorts and look hideous. Or wear a swimsuit and display the sagging thighs and creaking knees. And so we end up paying someone to tell us that we need to exercise and avoid fattening foods. Anjali has never heard of “Life’s best things are always immoral, illegal or fattening.” Ah, to look at the ice-cream and not eat it- what will power and what a waste!
3 weeks of the painful torture and 3 kilos down, at least I have the satisfaction of losing some. But I so miss my vada-paos and chaats and alu-posto, and even the poor man’s daal-chawal. My favorite TV shows are now Farah’s Dawat and Masterchef and food-food channels but my will power is being taxed to the limit looking at mouth watering food and having to stay away from it. To see my husband dearest coolly drinking away his aamras when I am struggling with my salads and veggies- I am aching to kick him where it hurts most. And when I ask him, am I looking thinner, he coolly replies- so long as you are feeling it. Now what does that mean? Can he see my cut down size or is he cutting me down to size ?