Of being a size 14 and other happy thoughts…

The weekend that just passed had me moping into my socks with the kind of hangdog expression that usually has the husband go to his stock and pour me a patiala. And command brusquely, Drink. Occasioned by, this hangdog expression, you might want to ask, and rightly so, since I am so dancing on the ceiling to tell you the cause. A shopping spree. Yup. This being the season of cheer and 50 per cent sales, the husband decided he needed new formal shirts, the son decided he could always do with more of everything, and the wife accompanied to do the occasional sideways swipe at the store shelves for whatever she could lay her hands on.

So there we were. Husband walking jauntily into Debenhams at the Oberoi Mall, with the kind of swing in his step that comes from knowing that he can choose the colours and styles he wants and not need to try out anything in them dratted trial rooms fitted with inquisition level search lights designed to focus on cellulite to bring out orange peel texture to eye piercing detail. He is a regular size. And he has no cellulite. And he’s in pretty perfect shape too, give or take an inch. But lets not tell him that okay, there’s always room for improvement.

The brat did his shoulder swinging rapster gait to perfection, he just needed the waist of his jeans round his ankles and ten kilos of gold chains to bring the look to life. And with the supreme confidence that comes from knowing that no matter what he wears it will need a belt to stay up.

I slunk in with the embarassed shame of not knowing what my current waist size has ballooned to. Yup yup. I have not bought self jeans, trousers or pants for the past couple of years and the warp speed expansion of waist has led to unsightly muffin top that I’ve been camouflaging with great care under empire line tops and kidding no one.  The sales girl came upto and smiled, the menacing, predatory kind of smile of one who knows she is a minus one size and should be given a restraining order of five feet diameter between self and yours truly to keep odious opposite lessons being administered to little children in the vicinity. Look, look, beta, that is fat and that is thin. That is opposites. You understood that now.

I shrunk in fear as she advanced baring her fangs towards me. “What size are you looking for, madam?” She asked pleasantly enough. But I got her subtext. “You whale. We dont have anything to fit you. Go find yourself a circus tent.” And she smiled without her eyes crinkling, and I swear I saw her incisors gleaming.

“Whatever will fit me,” I mumbled apologetically, hovering near shelves that had mouthwatering signs that said 50 percent off. Half price. And such like. I serious contemplated picking up an entire rack and running home to do the trials at home rather than subject myself to the ignominy of the trial room situation all over again.

“I think,” she smiled again, without crinkling her eyes, and said with a saccharinity that belied her obvious enjoyment of my discomfort. “You would be a size 14.” I shrank further into my XL kurti and wished the earth would open up and swallow me whole. And then I thought of the very curvy Venus as visualised by a Renaissance master and had an instant flashback of the very corpulent personage, and straightened my spine. “Yes,” I said. “Size 14,” with as much insouciance as I could muster without giving away, with even a quaver that I would once, slip in comfortably into a size 10 with room to spare. And then I took them size 14 jeans into the changing room. And yes, I had room to spare. So a size 12 was called for with arched eyebrow and a I told you so expression that was so lost on Ms Sinister. Which fitted perfectly. But the teeshirts didnt . I needed a size 14. In teeshirts and tops. Therefore I am like one of those imbalanced Victorian women I guess. But I’m not complaining. Anymore like me, whose sizes dont match?

And then, this morning, the newspapers gave me added cheer. In bold Times New Roman font size 32, a headline declared, “Size 14 women are the happiest with life.”

I thought about it seriously for a moment. Which is as long as I can think seriously on any topic apart from shopping and food. And Richard Gere. But I digress. And found to my surprise that I mighty agreed with it. Yup, I think I’m doing okay for myself on the happiness quota. Should I slather on black marks onto the screen.

The article says, and I quote, “A new poll has found that size 14 women are the happiest with their life and their looks. According to the study, girls who wear the dress size rated their general happiness higher than any other with a quarter saying they were extremely happy. More than 43 per cent of size 14 women also said they were as happy as they could be with their career while almost a third say they couldnt be more content with their love life.”

And the next in the line for happiness?

Size 12s, Sizes 8, 16 and 10.

And to quote the spokesperson, for Special K which conducted the poll, “Its great to discover that being a size zero wouldnt necessarily bring you happiness. Size 14 women are much more comfortable with their shape and have a happier outlook.”

Yup, we’re big and comfortable with being so. Cant be fun being a size zero, and measuring out every morsel that goes into your mouth. I guess, I know now, why despite being married to David Beckham and having a Hermes Birkin in every colour of the rainbow, Victoria Beckham constantly looks like she has a bad smell under her nose. Guess who should think of coming to my size?


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published nine books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016), psychological thriller with Missing, Presumed Dead (2018) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. In 2018, she was awarded the International Women's Day award for literary excellence by ICUNR and Ministry of Women and Children, Government of India. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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11 Responses to Of being a size 14 and other happy thoughts…

  1. Aathira says:

    That so made my smile. In fact I need to now go and check what size am I !


  2. was laughing reading this one.. because I went through a size-searching mission recently..


    have been a long time reader.. first time commenter

    wishing you , your hubby and little spiderman a wonderful new year



  3. Meso says:

    I am size 8 so I am the 3rd happiest. I still have a habit of going and picking up XS and trying it on. The lady giving me a smirk or smile never deters me :))

    Isn’t this season beautiful? Sales everywhere and a shopping spree!


  4. blinkandmiss says:

    well i _am_ a size 14 and with not much room left. not funny, okay? *sniff* *sniff*

    happy new year to you and your family. extra dollops of love for krish.


  5. dipali says:

    Are still larger sizes happier?
    In which case I’ll out happy you by several inches:)
    Happy happy new year, K and family.


  6. sraikh says:

    I am in between size right now. 12 are a bit loose some styles, and 10s a tight.

    You know here, retailers are putting smaller sizers on bigger clothes. Ie a 6 now was actually a 10 years ago.

    I would be happy with a single digit size I think 🙂

    Happy New Year


  7. NainaAshley says:

    I think that the size numbers in India are bigger than what they are in the US. Here I usually wear petite small tops and 6-8 size jeans(depending upon the brand). When i was shoppping in India recently, I went into a store looking for tops. The sales lady took one look at me and said size XL would fit me fine. I did not like any , in the pile that she showed me so i pointed to the tops that were on display . She calmly told me that they were too small for me. What a blow to my self image! I think your size 12-14 must be comparable to a single digit size here. Since when did all the women in India get so small? Last I remember, they came in all sizes bigger and smaller!
    I apologize for rambling on…
    Wish you and your family a very Happy New Year.


  8. Kiran says:

    Oh man, I have mismatched sizes but I am bottom heavy Boohoo…..I looked awful like a kaddu in my tankini this vacation SOB….I think its better to be top heavy though…Pamela Andorsonish 🙂


  9. Monika says:

    oh u made me happy… me a size 14 too mostly 🙂


  10. Dottie says:

    I am majorly mismatched top and bottom. Bottom is two sizer smaller than top. Both are huge in absolute proportions though 🙂

    You forget. I can absolutely veto the huge bit. You have the height to carry the curves you have off.


  11. Kelissa says:

    I LOVE IT! I just went from a size 14 to fitting mostly in 16’s…(maybe one or two 14 jeans fit)

    This gives me hope…when I am down and blue about those anorexic Victoria Secret models, I always reassure myself that Marilyn Monroe was a 14 and she was beautiful and was and still is a sex symbol with those curves, so why can’t I be?!?!


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