…its called well being. Do you remember the good old days when a little fat on the body was considered a sign of being healthy? Nope? Okay. Now I really am a dinosaur. This is back when I waddled around in diapers, and the world was moueing about how thin I was and the mother in a desperate effort to make me ‘healthy’ began the daily diet that included one kilo of fried potato chips which were downed to the accompaniment of a good book and ketchup. The ketchup with the potatoes and the book read, not ingested. Yes. It was a book a day (these were the good old days, when every street had a corner library one could run to and get a book a day, and mine old bespectacled library man was haunted by spectre of fat bespectacled prepubescent lolling around in his wardrobe sized library, half reading all the books on offer and then cribbing that she had already read all. And she had a better collection of books at home. And could she work out a deal with him to lend him her books for a fee? Told you I was always the canny business minded type. I lost my true vocation when I decided to become a journalist. But I digress). Back to the potatoes and the books. They contributed to the waistline morphing to a whopping 32 incher when I was merely nine. Yes, I was a healthy child. Healthy and how. The mother beamed with maternal pride everytime she saw rolls of fat jiggling as I ran around in play, which I soon gave up thanks to being the resident fatty in the building compound and being the shy sensitive retiring soul that I was, I couldnot bear being the kaccha limbu (remember kacha limbu, the one weak player that no team wants and throws a coin to choose who gets saddled with, a term usually used for the toddlers who insist on coming into the game with the bigger kids.) of the pack when I was wearing adult sized waist jeans. Therefore, one retired more and more into books, and television and such like. But one was a healthy child. One had layers of fat rolling around happily, causing hormones to get into action at age nine. Which was way too early. Therefore, when I see some of the little girls paddling around with layers of fat, I have to physically restrain myself from going upto their parents and shaking them like rats for letting the child get that way.
Since those days of carefree eating life has definitely come a long way, and some modicum of a waistline emerged through consistent effort and exercise and such like. And the mother always moued in horror everytime she saw me after a break about how skinny and starved I was looking, and would promptly run into her kitchen to cook up a storm of my favourites, and be content only after I had eaten up enough to feed a small starving famine stricken nation, and had to be physically lifted from seated position to standing position. It is when this mother, read context above, says with a stern identation between her eyebrows, “Baby (don’t ask me why, but I will always be a baby to this mother, even when I apply for my senior citizen’s card), your paunch is out.”
“No mom, thats just premenstrual bloat.”
She shook her head, slowly and deliberately. “No. That is a paunch. And you are kidding yourself if you think its bloat and will go away after a couple of days.”
So of course, one promptly got the inch tape out. Slunk slyly into the bathroom, got on the scales, checked oneself out (having downed an anti emetic prior to the exercise of course) in the full mirror to discover, a lovely round pot belly grinning cheekily at me. And the caesarian scar, which once was hidden in the almost flat belly, now on full display. The horror. The horror. Ten sit ups later, I decided to take it easy. All the exercise manuals say one should move in gently into a fitness regime, and not overdo it. So I didnt. I did some gentle walking. And then I ate, to replenish the dissipated calories. You can never accuse me of not leading a balanced life. And then I had a wonderful brainwave. Maybe it is them polycystic ovaries wrecking havoc on my waistline. Maybe all the exercise in the world, and all the starving of self will really not help because these hormones are on pile the fat on mode. And maybe, I will now finally, be destined to be a “healthy” woman again. For all those who kindly ask, thats not flab. Thats a sign of being healthy and prosperous. So dont you tell me my pauch is out. I am healthy.