Shopping can not be necessarily fun for us, especially when we are not looking for clothes in the right place. I absolutely hate shopping. It is tiring and sometimes even humiliating at the same time. I grew up with people who love to shop. My mom is an avid shopper. She can shop for hours with those extremely heavy shopping bags in both her hands.
My mom loved dressing me up when I was a little girl. Even then it was difficult for her to buy clothes for me. She used to purchase clothes for a 12-13 year old when I was not even 10. Yes, that’s how big I was even as a kid. But she never stopped. In fact, she became very creative and innovative. She has always been very fashion forward and made sure that her daughter was always best dressed.
As I have mentioned earlier shopping can be a very humiliating task if we are not looking for clothes in the right place. Trust me when I say this, I had never ever shopped for myself. All my clothes were bought by mom and grandmother. I got married three years ago and till date still it is my mother who shops for me.
A few years ago I went to Fashion street with my husband who was my boyfriend at the time. A little Gyaan here for non Mumbaikars: Fashion street is like a bunch of roadside shops near Azad Maidan In South Bombay, or SoBo as people like call it nowadays. (Yes, Bombay!! It’s been around 25 years since the official name of Bombay has been changed to Mumbai and it is still difficult to address the place as Mumbai at times) Anyway, coming back on topic.
My husband had earned a good amount of profit from one of his events and wanted to shop for his family and also for me. I was very much hesitant to go shopping with him as I knew what was going to come ahead. I pleaded him to shop only for his family and not for me, he eventually gave up and agreed.
We spent like 4-5 hours buying clothes for everyone and in the end a very annoying incident happened with me. I spotted a very beautiful Kurti and wanted to buy it for my mother. So I went to the shop and asked if the Kurti was available in XXL? The shopkeeper very jokingly, without giving a second thought just blurted out “Madam ye apko nahi ayega, apko XXL kam padega” (This will not fit you, XXL is a not your size). That hilarious statement of the shopkeeper ruined my wonderful day.
I was so annoyed and embarrassed at the same time. I mean how did he judge that I was asking for a XXL size for myself and not for someone else. Will I not know what will fit me and what will not!! I can still feel that anger in me while sharing this with you’ll. I have been in the same situation in malls as well. Where I was browsing the denim section with my mom for her and the sales executive present there asked me to go to a different aisle where “Plus Size” clothes were available.
Is it not rude for people to judge and pass statements without even thinking. I mean, why the hell will I spend my money on something that will not even fit me. And I just want to tell all the sales executives and shopkeepers out there, we might not always shop for ourselves, it’s a possibility that we are shopping for someone else. Trying to make someone's day special unlike you who do not even think before passing stupid statements. Next time please be polite and considerate enough to at least ask whom are we shopping for. Or rather just do what is asked by the customer.
I am sure many of you must have had an embarrassing moment in your life. Like when you had a little accident and fell in front of a bunch of people, either in a public place or in front of people you know. Being a very clumsy person it has happened to me like a million times, both in front of like thousand people (not exaggerating here, there must be a thousand people as the incident happened on the walkover bridge of one of the most busiest railway station) and also in front of people I know. And the way people reacted in both the scenarios was not very pleasing.
The first incident I am about to share happened in Thane station. Those who are not familiar with Thane station, let me give you a little gyaan (knowledge) on the same. Thane city is in the state of Maharashtra. The main commute for people in Thane is the Railways. It is one of the most busiest railway stations and can get really very crowded during the peak hours. I was running a little late for work one day and decided to take the local train instead of the company transport to avoid heavy traffic. I was on platform number one when an announcement was made for the train I was hoping to board from platform number four.
If you are a non Mumbaikar or Thanekar let me tell you that people just run frantically to board their trains. Approximately 99% of the population whose daily commute is via railways have a fixed train to board everyday. If they miss that very train they board everyday they get very pissed and their schedule for the entire day gets delayed. I mean it’s an emotion you will not understand. You need to live that experience to understand it.
Anyway, as soon as I heard the announcement I started moving frantically towards platform number four from platform number one. And while I was just about to descend the last set of stairs, I somehow slipped and fell. Many passersby saw that happening and no one, literally no one came to help. People who were behind me were annoyed that they cannot reach the platform on time to board their train now. So a couple of comments that were clearly audible were “Jaadi ko khud ko sambhalne nahi hota toh kyu bhagi?” (If fatty can not handle herself the why should she run?) . A group of ladies laughed pretty hard and one them very much jokingly said “bhookmap aya dekh” (Feels like earthquake).
I was in pain physically as well as emotionally. I was hurt and also humiliated. I helped myself up, wiped my tears and sat on the bench for a while. I did reach office on time but my rest of the day was not very much as planned.
You know, I have seen many people help a person if they accidentally fell. I, myself have helped many people in such a situation. I wonder why no one came to help me and why instead of helping, people laughed. Was the scene really that funny, that people chose to enjoy and not help a person in need?
Okay, now please bare with me on one more situation of a similar kind. The above one was in front of several unknown people. Now have a look at what happened when the similar situation occurred in front of people I know.
As I have mentioned earlier that I am a very clumsy person and happen to find myself in embarrassing situation almost everyday. My classroom in college was on the fourth floor. My college gang was never very attentive in class and we bunked lectures quite often.
We had a free period and I was just chilling in my classroom with my best friend. Soon, a fellow class mate entered our classroom and announced that free period is replaced by Sociology. Please don’t judge or misunderstand but our Sociology professor was very boring. We never attended that lecture. So me and my best friend decided to escape before the professor arrived.
Very quickly we took our bags and we just ran. And as soon as we reached the second floor I fell down the stairs. My best friend did help me up but also jokingly asked “OMG, are you alright?” pointing the stairs. I did laugh with her but also felt bad at the same time. It has happened with me on various other occasions and my friends had a similar response. Some of them being : Arre hila diya na sabko, dekh kahi zameen mien hole toh nahi hua na?, news on kar ke dekho bhookamp china mein bhi aya hoga, tu gir mat re baba uthane ko bhi koi nahi ayega. And many similar ones.
Even though we may laugh along with you on your ‘innocent’ jokes, sometimes we might not be enjoying them. So please don’t do it all the time. At least be a little considerate and not crack those jokes in front of twenty other unknown people.
And NO! the floor will never get hurt because of us, there wont be an earthquake when we fall, nor will it affect any other country, and someday someone will be kind enough to give us a hand when in need. If one hand is not enough the person might give his other hand too and looking at his kind gesture other people might come to the rescue instead of enjoying the show.
Let us talk about one of the biggest stereotypes associated with fat people. It is always assumed that if a person is fat he or she must be a very heavy eater. I am pretty sure that many of you must have pictured a fat person with at least two or three plate full of unhealthy food and eating with both their hands and sauce or food crumbs all over their mouth. Let me please clarify, NO! ! That is absolutely not the case with every fat person, or rather any fat person at all. We too eat how much our stomach requires in a civilized manner. In fact in one plate, with one hand, the other hand is used only if required (Being a middle class Indian, I use both my hands only if I am in a fancy restaurant where not using a fork and a knife is frowned upon). We do not just pounce up on food and eat like maniacs. We too eat our food in a very civilized, normal manner.
Let me tell you this one incident that I had to experience when I was a little kid. There was this new boy in our society who became friends with our group. We all used to play with him everyday, he was very good at sports and was a very fast runner. Eventually the boys of our group made him the "leader" of the group. His father bought a hotel in our area and it was a very good one. One fine day he decided to invite everyone for a party at his father's new hotel, except me. Literally everyone were invited I was the only one not invited. I saw him giving invitations to all the kids in my wing and me looking at him excitedly and expectantly, but he never came at my place to give the invitation. I was shattered.
I vividly remember standing in the hall looking from my window, all my friends were dressed and gathered to go for the party and my father was feeling very bad for me. I honestly even tried to just go down and go along with them but my father stopped me and said that he will never speak with me if I stepped outside my house. Since I was standing on the window and watching everyone a few of them ignored me with guilt in their eyes. During their party someone asked that boy the reason for not inviting me and he very coolly said ‘Arre vo aati toh Kitna khati, itna khana kam padta tha' (He literally meant that so much food was not enough for me, they would have ran out of food) . Honestly it shook me as a kid. Even now while I’m writing this it is making me very sad. Trust me people when I say this, I have literally seen people who are far less than me in size and very petite but can eat triple of what I eat and not gaining any extra pound so please stop judging.
One of my notebook’s cover read ‘Don’t forget to be Awesome.’ Why did I purchase this notebook I wonder now – was it just to write some stuff in it? Or was it to give myself a constant reminder that I can be awesome too.
Now, you must be wondering “why does she require a reminder to be awesome?” Let me just quickly answer that question for you. Because I am fat. Yes I said it!! I am saying it out loud to the world that I know I am fat and I like it. That’s right, I like the way I am.
To be honest, that was not the case always. There were times when I was sad and unhappy with my body. I tried to “fit in” to the society defined standards of beauty. I tried various diets, exercise routines, medications, personal trainer and literally anything that was suggested to me. I even considered Bariatirc surgery a while ago, but I chickened out.
Well, sometimes I really do not care so much about it. But having said that, There are certain people who do not like me being careless or nonchalant about my size. These people include friends, relatives, friends of friends, my very loving and caring family, my in-laws, coworkers and not to forget the aunties of our society and also aunties whom I come across daily commute.
Now out of all these people my husband is an exception. He has loved me unconditionally and abundantly since day one. He too is very cool and fine with my weight, but even he is often reminded by our well wishers that I am not in best of my health and like providing him a piece of advice on how I should exercise and follow a diet and how it will be difficult for me to have kids in the future.
As if I don’t know all these drawbacks about myself; sometimes I wonder if they really think I must not have tried to work on myself? However I would like to grab this opportunity and tell all these people Yes!! I know I am unhealthy and I know that I should exercise and follow a diet plan. Thank you all for the advice.
Our trip to Czechia, Austria,Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Germany now for the second year has been pushed back a year. It’s been in the planning stages since 2019.
Grit your teeth, set your jaw, take deep breath’s and carry on ...
Three years ago, as we traveled through sunny Tuscany enjoying wine, cheese, the wonders of history and art, our little travel group entertained the idea of where should we travel next summer (enter dark foreboding music). We had been many places together over the last few years: Spain, the south of France, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy, Monaco and we had decided to venture north of the alps into Central Europe. It was to be a completely new experience for all of us and excitement ensued. Summer 2020, we were headed to Germany, Lichtenstein and other Germanic areas of wonder, castles, and beer. You, the reader knows how this ended in 2020 .... and now in 2021. It appears that the travel portion of my Teacher in Transition retirement plans has hit a roadblock of pandemic proportions.
It’s important that these comments are kept in perspective; we all view these change of plans as minor, first world problems in light of the real suffering taking place here and abroad due to Covid. Our traveling companions and I know full well that this inconvenience is just that and not to be compared to real world dilemmas faced by millions. We have all been touched by and experienced loss of loved ones due to this scourge.
It also is worth noting that Kim and I along with our friends who comprise this hardy group of explorers are not by any standard of measurement... wealthy. We are most of us teachers, retired or otherwise, who plan meticulously to cut costs; use our group to reduce expenses and seek out simple pleasures that soak up the vibrant culture and history of the places we visit. We travel “on the cheap” ... not excessively so, but teacher planning helps tremendously in this regard. We also plan to leave little or no inheritance to help satiate our wanderlust... sorry sons. There are no nights at The Ritz, but there are plenty nights enjoying Sangria and watching artisans perform Flamenco dancing.
Now that the explanations are out of the way, we still find ourselves in a state of desperate disappointment as very little can substitute for traveling abroad. Last year when Covid was raging with no vaccine in site, cabin fever was running high. To combat this, my wife and I went camping and hiking in the hills of state parks in the Llano Estacado. It was wonderful and challenging and outside the walls of our humble abode. This summer we will not be as restrained as we both received our vaccinations in January and February and we will always carry with us a formidable yet stylish array of masks and germ-ex. We are firmly entrenched in the world of science and social responsibility. Postponed or not, my wife and I NEED to travel ... yes, need; one gets accustomed to hitting the open road and seeing, tasting, drinking, learning about places we’ve never been. My eldest son was/IS a Marine, “once a Marine, always a Marine,” and often reminds us of the USMC motto: ADAPT, IMPROVISE, OVERCOME when dealing with the ups and downs of life ... “and here be one!” ( said with a pirates growl )
Methinks there’s a lesson to be learned here; if one is truly a person who seeks to be spontaneous and free spirited, then it goes against that grain to lament so seriously the falling through of plans. Adapt, improvise and have fun, I can’t pretend to be of Marine stock... the thought of a ten mile run could trigger a heart attack, is going to our take on this situation. We’ll do and plan as we do when traveling to more exotic environs: on the cheap, focus on the important stuff, celebrate the new and enjoy each other’s company. The unplanned lurks in the shadows of all of our lives and can be a real buzz kill, but we can choose how we react to the unplanned. There is not one way of doing things, a lesson I’ve learned over time and have attempted to document in my writing. We sat down and began listing more domestic destinations that would be equally as exciting if we carry our open minds with us.
It doesn’t pay to be so totally invested in one way of doing things or insistent on any status quo. The flexibility of our existence is a concept to be learned and understood in all things. All too often in the past year, I’ve learned of the impermanence of everything and coping with that is the key to all aspects of our lives. Every day is a gift and it’s not always a pair of socks. Me, my wife and oldest son started our family in bleak poverty, but life was anything but dull; it was perhaps the best time in our lives. Everything can and will change ... sometimes it’s a real gut punch, but when your head clears ... life is still there to be enjoyed. We can find adventure everywhere, we can find something new everywhere, there is always something new on the menu you’ve never tried; take what you have and make it extraordinary. Nothing turns out like you think it will ...roll with it. You might come across the experience of your life... outside the four walls is outside ... make the day, trip, hobby ... outstanding.
This life lesson is one for all and it is reached at different times in our paths. Some souls never learn it; mores the pity because being chained to absolutes is not how we were made to live. So, though far from the Alps, this summer will be great and an experience of our lives... that’s how we will approach it. Hey, Europe is great, but they don’t have a Grand Canyon ... do they? Carpe diem my friends!
If this pandemic had taught me something that I would like to remember my whole life, is that you got to live a little or a little more. It's a waste of time to wait for the perfect moment or time. You can't wait for sunday for that one movie you wanted to watch so much, or summer break to go and hang out with your family and friends. Life is so uncertain so make sure that you live a little everyday.