The other day, the HR personnel in my office asked me: “Are you dieting?” “No,” I replied. And then she said, “Haan, lag bhi nahi raha hain.” It doesn’t look like it.

I get it to a certain level. Looking good was on her agenda. But why be spiteful towards others? We, the fat people, must put on a heavy armour everyday before we leave home, prepped to avoid stinging jabs at our shapes, our sizes, and, as an extension, our personalities. We have to apologise for our lack of “perfect” body, our long, lustrous hair, a dazzling smile.

Why are we incapable of accepting people the way they are? Does everyone want everyone to look alike?

Students, activists, factions of the general public strive to make the world a better place to live. They protest, they rant, they fight for the poor, against the corrupt. They harbour this flame of unrest, of undying need to fight for a stranger. It makes you wonder why they’re so blind to the needs of those right around them.

With the case of “coloured discomfort” faced by many Indians across the world—because of Nina Davuluri—that seems to be a another pin holding up the masks of the general public, laced with hypocrisy. Many Indians smarted at the behaviour of Americans, but we can’t get away just by calling them racist. How different are we in our own homeland?

If certain groups are fighting against prejudice towards skin colour, then pray, why does a perfect body type rule the world?

You know the drill: you tell yourself that you must not let them get to you. Body type isn’t directly or indirectly proportional to your worth, sticks and stones can break your bones, and so on. But what’s simple in theory isn’t always simple in practice. We relate it all to beauty, we’ve seen it everywhere. So must I deem my worth according to what the other person thinks?

Why can’t revolutionise society at their own level? A step at a time, try to reason with friends and family, one person at a time? Or have we romanticised the experience of sitting at Jantar Mantar, and spending an entire lifetime shouting and putting up placards to fight against corrupt individuals and organisations?

India—the land of snake charmers, lumbering elephants, backward areas. This is the exoticism of literature, but sometimes I doubt we’ve changed at all when even in the best of cities, best of working environments, among the best of colleagues. If one is still commented on for her body shape, then we really haven’t changed a bit.

(Ramya J S D’Rozario is a features writer with a media house in Delhi.)

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