Saturday, February 6, 2010

i’m eating everything my mother puts on my plate these days

she’s ten and a half pounds, my grandmum approvingly told my mother when she regained consciousness about a week after i almost ripped her in two on my way out into this world. it’s the first thing she heard about me and the first thing about me that made her proud. thereafter, my family heaved a collective sigh of relief and moved on from praying for my mother's life to congratulating her on my impressive rolls of fat.

everybody in my family was utterly enamored by them. legends abound about the number of fingers, hands and limbs that could disappear into the mythical tyres of flab on my classically thunderous south indian thighs.

legend also has it that i was a problem eater and often fell ill when i was young. this is the one thing my mother held against me as a child, since it seriously threatened her grand ambitions for me. all i did was feed you for the first 11 years of your life, my mother is fond of saying to me still, by the time you ate breakfast, it was time to feed you lunch…and then time for tiffin…and then dinner…i had no time to do anything except make you eat while you were growing up!

well, that’s her story anyway.

our family albums will bear witness to the fact that contrary to my mother’s complaint, eating was all i did for the first 11 years of my life.

other than me, the villain who always gets a dishonorable mention in my mother’s stories is the doctor who had the temerity to thwart her when i was three.

she is grossly overweight... - the doctor observed in the middle of my mother's tirade about my lack of appetite.

but, but...she doesn’t eat anything! - my mother wailed.

missing a few meals is not going to do your daughter any harm, madam, she is obese! - the unfortunate doctor said.

at which point, my mother recoiled like a queen cobra, told him exactly what she thought of him as a doctor and a human being, walked out and never went back.

so while i was growing up, all my friends called me saand. i remember, they’d slip in through the grille that surrounded the park downstairs and i’d be left standing outside. always too fat to fit.

then my folks and i moved to japan when i was 14…and i added a liter of haagen daaz, 3 cokes and a few candy bars (per day) to my mother’s daily fare. then i grew and i grew and i GREW until my skin stretched tight as a drum over me and my layers of fat.

by the time i saw my collar bone for the very first time i was 21. i was away at hostel and had been on a steady diet of cigarettes, yogurt, nimbu paani and salad for about 3 months by then. my collar bone looked so strange and beautiful on my body that i couldn’t stop squinting at it for days in the cruddy bathroom mirror.

but when i went back home for the holidays, my mum took one look at me and the tears welled up in her eyes. i saw her vision of me shatter, painfully, on the sharp edges of my new found bones. by the time i said ‘no’ to her second helping at dinner, she knew and i was the end of her era.

and as she has informed me again at the dinner table this evening - she does not plan to get over it any time soon!

image source:


Spaz Kumari said...

my doctor told my mum when i was 5, that i was morbidly obese.

she made me run 5 km in the morning everyday before school, and signed me up for swimming lessons and basketball. she spent quite a lot of time informing me i was fat (we don't do 'sensitivity' in my family) and that if i didn't lose weight i'd die of heart disease.

the day i left for college 2000km away from home, her last words to me were "be sure to not put on any more weight, or you won't fit through the front door, even sideways". i do not kid you.

but as SOON as i returned home after losing 31 pounds in the first year of college, the 'Ethiopian' and 'Somalian' jokes began.

i've quit hopes of ever pleasing her.

Scattered Thoughts... said...

Hmm.. so to home finally :) memories.. sweet ones.. some pics from the album prior to 11 will be like adding 4 chand to story :)

Anonymous said...

Ah. I had a friend once. All of us would breeze through the railings and she would have to walk all around it. We would be frowning at her, on the other side, for making us wait!

Need I say then that I was underweight all through my childhood and my mum used to fight a losing battle of trying to make me eat?
Good to hear a story from the other side!!! :)

Diwakar Sinha said...

I had this cousin who would feel hungry every half an hour..and the quickest dish to prepare was maggie, so she'd have maggie many times daily, and the obvious followed.
but after 2 yrs at college, she's a 180 degree change. as thin as maggie noodles.

Divya said...

In my head, once a fat kid, always a fat kid. Though I'm so much better now.

mentalie said...

@spaz kumari, my goodness, whatever made you think you could ever please your mum!? that, my dear, would be just unnatural!

@scattered, my photos from the pre 11 years are too vast to upload on blogger.

@choco...the other side indeed! maybe you and i played in the same garden then...:)

@diwakar, maggi's not just easy to's ADDICTIVE! how many packs of it lined my curves as well :) i'm guessing your cousin's gone off it now - impossible to look like a noodle and feast on it as well!

@divya, ditto, my friend, ditto!

Shanu said...


Been there, heard that.

I was nicknamed Roly Poly by the nasty neighborhood kids. Come Std 10 and I lost all the weight I had accumulated in the 15 yrs of my existence. :)

They now call me toothpick. :(

Eveline said...

I'm glad she's doing fine and I'm glad you kept your sense of humor. I've always enjoyed food and believe that if you don’t compromise in your daily life; you shouldn’t have to with your food. But then I was always horribly skinny to come up with something like that. :P

Sangfroid said...

LOL!!! This is hilarious :-D
a la Sonam Kapoor ...

blunt edges said... sympathies lie with your mom! ;)

Sherry Wasandi said...

I made my mother sit down and read this.

I think the realization is finally sinking in. The goop I thrived on till the age of 15 would have been enough to kill any middle-aged person in a week, of some glorified heart-condition!

Q.E.D. Your post accomplished in half and hour, what I couldn't in 10 years.

Much love to you, dear lady.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

khate peete ghar ki bacchi eh? but worry not, that was the fashion. everyone i know was fat - including moi ( mine was thru the 10-20 years tho).

Meghana Naidu said...

frencher, dont you get it.
mommy darling was trying to make sure you didn't become your header picture.

poor her
little did she know


Meghana Naidu said...

arrrrrrrgh i hate you so much right now. for getting the saiyaan song stuck in my head.

why why why! WHY?

revenge shall be extracted. it shall.

Mathangi said...

Hahahah, hilarious and ah, it all becomes clear now. My dear crazy friend, for all the time that I have known you, you could pass through a railing and still leave room for me, so there.

Kavitha said...

"thunderous south Indian thighs". Oops! The images in my head :-)

I'm mortally scared of seeing those in the mirror one day...

LOL at Spaz Kumari's comment!

mentalie said...

shanu, so you know...!

eveline, yes you've got to have been born skinny to come up with that, my girl :)

sangfroid, exactly like sonam...eXcept, without the hairy shoulders.

blunt, gah! traitor.

sherry, happy to oblige, my dear.

cynic, strange...i never thought of my podge as high fashion...but you're right, it was! hmm...

meg, ah, finally the light dawns upon me ;)
(and what saiyan song?)

maddo, you are too kind. come see me now :(

kavitha, the mind boggles and terror strikes...doesn't it?!

The knife said...

er are we talking of the same person that I know. Overweight? Mentalie? ever?

My life's story is fat to skinny to getting there again

mentalie said...

@knife, it's true! all because of my mother's unbelievably, divinely delicious khana...yummmmmmmM! you'd probably try to steal her away from my dad, else i'd have introduced you to her table ;p

Meghana Naidu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meghana Naidu said...

the saiyyan ko that your twitter asked me to dance to. :|

do you know how many hours of zeppelin it took to be sane again?

revenge woman! soon.

mentalie said...

c'mon meg, you know that you secretly loved saiyyan so much that it terrified you ;p

Meghana Naidu said...

do you know immolation? suffocation? Nile?
do check them out, give them a listen
THEN come back and talk to me.


ani_aset said...

gawd :) that was such a sad story..i pity your mom :) i really do :D..and thats the Mcdonald smily for you i dont mean it trust me ;)

R said...

Unfortunate. My parents have tried everything on me. Banana shakes, milk filled with an assortment of products rich in fat, exercise, blood tests, nothing worked. My mother shines brightly every time I gain a kilogram. Once in three years.

last word by the acp