“I don’t know how will madame make such a fat aunty look pretty.” is what Advita* heard the assistant beautician say to her colleague, when she was changing into her wedding lehenga, behind the curtains of a fancy high profile makeup artist’s studio. “I was shattered hearing that, the one thing that I wanted the most on my wedding night was to look pretty. Obesity runs in my family, I tried everything from gym, diets, yoga, walking, ayurvedic procedures but nothing could fetch me drastic results, I hoped for. I met Adhiraj* when I was 27, he was a graduate, managing his family business. I was an assistant professor in a college, and was involved in a lot of activities along with that. He liked me for my talents and my being. He looked at me very differently, as if I were more than just a big wobbly piece of flesh (that’s how people always looked at me). I was at the zenith of happiness after he told his parents that he wanted to marry me. But the big round pieces of flesh soon fell back on the grounds of reality, when everyone in his family asked, ‘why such a fat girl, she looks like a hippo, a very fair hippo’. Well, apart from all my compliments of being compared to all possible giant mammals, we did get married and we are happy together. I wonder if Adhiraj looked at me through a concave glass that evening.” says Advita, with a questioning yet content smile on her face!
These days, a lot of men look for girls who are well educated, talented, caring and self dependent. Who might, might not be a perfect figure – but a good soul. Such are men like Adhiraj, but the sour truth is that such men are vastly outnumbered by the other breed, who find no shame in saying ‘when I walk on the road side with my girl, no one is going to know about her talents, her skills or her nature; all that people can see is her figure, her complexion and her dressing style. She has to be presentable more than anything else’. The saddest part being that these are well educated and well-off men who are expected to look beyond just physical beauty.
Speaking of men and women together, now that the wedding season is on, we see everyone turning into a judge for the ‘brides’ of the three weddings they attend in one night, followed by futile discussions about the bride and her size. Everything is perfect and the guy is lucky, if he has a thin, fair bride. But dear Lord, the poor guy’s youth goes to waste if at all he is hitched to a fat girl (now here, complexion doesn’t matter too much, her being overweight is good enough reason for his life to have been declared ‘ruined’).
Such people fail to acknowledge the fact that the girl might be on the higher numbers of the weighing scale, because of multiple reasons, foremost being her health. Diabetes, asthma, thyroid, hormonal imbalance, hereditary obesity and post surgical weight gain, are a few to be named and blamed for the poor girl to be receiving ‘the looks’.
I wonder if any of the wedding guests in their new suits and backless blouses, pay any attention to the bride beyond her visible (hidden) bellies?! Do any one of them, notice her beautiful attire, her shy smile, her hopeful eyes and her wishful looks? Her desires when she looks at her husband with love, compassion in her moves and acceptance when she greets the guests and respect when she touches their feet. And we know, ‘they don’t’.
It’s a pitiful state, that these people who don’t even care about the bride, who mostly check the names of the bride or groom on the invitations before entering the venue, that too, just for the sake of entering the right one. These are the people whom the girls are conscious of, either on their own or made by their families. The moment a chubby girl is engaged the first thing that is brought to her notice is her weight, her flab, which ‘must’ leave her before the wedding. Starved, worked-out, and miles coved walking, before they fit into that small backless choli. Is it that important to be thin? Is that the only way of looking charming on the most special day of her life? Will she look any less gorgeous if she is happy and fat? These are a few questions which both the bride and the society need to seek answers to.
Being an overweight girl myself, I can best relate to the situation. Not trying to blow my own trumpet here, but I am a lecturer, a painter, singer, and a writer and have always been the top rankers of school and college. But, none of that counts, beyond my alarming calories intake! Due to multiple health issues and let’s admit it, being a foodie, I don’t own the most ideal looking body. And beyond all my talents and/or achievements, the only thing that everyone talks about around me is the ways through which I can lose weight; let me rephrase it, ‘I should lose weight’. It makes me both anguished and cheerless, when by the end of the day people see me as just an XL size and not the person that I am.
I am not against thin people, in fact I am truly of a belief that everyone should be healthy, only that for me, one’s health should/is not defined by their dress size. While encouraging a wrong belief of ‘thin being healthy’ our society and it’s proud members forget the fact that there are so many girls who land up being unwell because they choose incorrect, quick and unhealthy ways to lose weight or in literal terms, to look thin and pretty.
By the end of my out pour of thoughts and opinions which might take a lot of time of understanding, educating and empathizing to settle in the hearts and brains of people. I want to say this to all brides to be – ‘looking thin should not be the ultimate goal for your wedding day. Feeling beautiful inside, cherishing the new beginning, and looking forward to a happy life, a life of respect and dignity. Seeking warmth and love in the eyes of your husband is what you should look forward to. For by the end of it, if you, yourself won’t be comfortable in your skin and won’t accept your being, then no one else will!’
And for all of you, who are not going to wear a wedding dress this season, watch your weight over the lavish spread of sweet dishes! Happy Weddings everyone!