Metamorphosis

Guest Post

This is a guest post by my sister, who wanted this out there to keep herself in check, and to send a message to all other girls struggling with a healthy body image.


 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had issues with my body.

I still recall vividly the summer of the 3rd grade when I first felt bad about not being thin. And that’s how early it starts. That’s how much the society tries to push the thin-is-pretty ideology on everyone. Thanks to sports, i managed to remain healthy most of my life. Except for class 8, where an obsession with losing weight, becoming paper thin overcame me. A skewed self perception went a long way to make me drown myself in exercise and a measly amount of food. The initial months were good, I was eating healthy and running so much. But then I lost track of it all. I looked at myself in the mirror and all I saw was fat, ugly omnipresent adipose tissue. I started looking like I’d been sick. The 13 year old me couldn’t possibly comprehend that , thin was bad, fat was bad, what to do and be then? There was no self love, no identity. There was just a messed up want for acceptance. And I’d been deluded into believing that acceptance would come as fat disappeared. Boy was I wrong.

And here I am 4 years older (and hopefully wiser), in the same place again. But this time, I know what went wrong, and what I did wrong. And I know now, that it’s not about your face or body. I’ve beaten myself over body image issues and hated my body for so long. I’m going to give loving myself a go.

Not being thin, hot, pretty is by no means the end of the world and you can be a very happy individual if you focus on the better things in life – friends, family, love, education, ambition and being happy. Acceptance is faceted because people are faceted and as long as you know that feeling comfortable in your skin is of prime importance, it’s going to be fine. And I’m not, and I’m going to try to do something to change that. Let’s see if I get it right this time.

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A Soft Spot for Hitler?

Hitler has done some awful things for which he does not deserve forgiveness. I was, like every other child, repulsed by the destruction he caused and the lives he had taken. And then I came across this :

“Hitler created laws against animal cruelty”

So I started reading about him. Turns out he loved animals. He was extremely fond of dogs, especially his German Shepherd named Blondi. They seemed inseparable. He adored Blondi and her five puppies.

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Look at him
Hitler and Blondie
Just look

Okay. So he loved animals, but did not care about human casualties to achieve what he wanted; to do what he thought was right.

I’m in a bit of spot here. That sounds like me. You know the old “I don’t care who dies in a movie as long as the dog lives“. I shed no tears when people die. Because they have to. In fact, I love murder mysteries.

And it doesn’t end here. He suffered from Ailurophobia, the fear of cats. All right, so I don’t have a phobia. But cats scare me. Kittens don’t. But cats, they look evil. Whenever I’m passing by a cat, it looks at me like it will scratch my eyes out if I take a step closer to it. They don’t wag their tails and tell me they’re happy to see me. They just sit there and stare. Menacingly.

What does that mean? Am I Hitler?

But well, he poisoned his dog in the end, so I guess not. Peace.

The Last Semester

It will all be over soon. 4 years of college. I still can’t believe it has been 4 years already. Well, almost. But these 3 years and 7 months have given me uncountable memories that I’ll cherish all my life.

Manipal has taught me a lot, from living on my own, to embracing the things I love. It taught me that sometimes, people may take time to warm up to me. It taught me how to be a better human being. It taught me not be condescending and biased. It taught me how to get along with everyone, regardless of their color, caste, the language they speak and where they’re from. It taught me how to respect the differences I might have with others. It taught me a way of life.

And now, in 3 months, I will say goodbye to my college forever. And although I’m very excited about the next phase in my life, it scares me. So far, college has just been an illusion of living independently. I have had to do nothing on my own, except get dressed and go to different places.

And I’m not great at keeping in touch with people. I don’t know how to do that. I’ve moved so many times, that I just let go. And I do that with a lot of ease. I still talk to a few people of course, but it isn’t the same. Things change, and we’re not as close as we once were. So what will happen to all my friends from college? We will no longer be living in a huge campus where we bump into each other everyday or can decide to meet up whenever we want, wherever we want. We will no longer be living in the same hostel, where we can go to each other’s room and just sit around and play poker or UNO or just chat away. Hell, most of us will not even be the same city!

So I’m writing to thank all of you now. Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for making my time in college wonderful. Thank you for imbibing a little of your fashion sense in me so at least I know how to look decent now. Thank you for everything.

And I’m attaching some photos of us, hoping to make you cry.

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Roommates! Thanks for keeping me company in the room 😀
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NCC Ladies 😀
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Teacher’s wedding gang?
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Go to sleep Utkarsh
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Sirs 😛
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Bowling in Mangalore finally!
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CSE – B 😀

As my last three months in college, I plan on enjoying these to the fullest. At least as much as I can on a very limited budget (This was a hint for my parents to send me a voluptuous amount of money).

I don’t know how I’ll survive after college though. How do I suddenly turn into a responsible, mature adult? It hasn’t happened in these 21 years. If magic exists, I will need some in three months.

For now, I will go and continue my vacation-before-I-start-working. Adios!

 

 

Specks of Dust

Specks of dust
Dancing in the moonlight
Not a care in the world

Specks of dust
Full of zeal
Now, it’s their time

They twist and turn
Their petite selves
Beautiful and abstract

Specks of dust
Evaded through the day
Disregarded everywhere

All they needed
Was a little light
To shine

Brown Beauty

We make up a nation of people obsessed with fairness. In 2012, reportedly 233 tonnes of skin-lightening products were bought in India. And the number seems to be on the rise. Being fair is equated to being beautiful. We all do it, even if we do it unknowingly.
We do it as parents, when we comment on how dark someone is in front of our kids. We do it when we tell little kids they’re becoming darker, and laugh at the horrified face they make. They learn from us. We do it as friends when we tell each other how much we’ve tanned, and start spilling out a list of easy home remedies for skin-lightening. We do it when we compliment people on how fair they look. We do it when we make faces at dark skinned people wearing a shade that doesn’t complement their skin tone. We do it when we ask our sons to find a fair-skinned wife. We do it when we don’t shame advertisements that tell us we can only get a good job, or get married if we’re fair. We do it every day.

This is 2015. We have made progress in a lot of fields, this not being one of them. Not long ago, only girls used to bear the brunt of this uncanny obsession. But now, we have gender equality at its best, with the earlier ‘tall dark and handsome’ image being overshadowed by lightening creams for men. And we have ‘progressed’ towards a time when being called dusky, is seen as an insult.

Dusky

I’m going to modify one of my favorite quotes by J.K. Rowling, because it is just as apt here.

“Is ‘dark’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘dark’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me.”

If you’re reading this post, stop telling your kids how fair someone is. Stop putting up matrimonial advertisements looking for a ‘fair’ bride. Stop responding to such advertisements.

If you’re reading this post, stop discussing how dark-skinned someone is. Stop saying how you dream of getting married to a ‘fair, good-looking guy’. Stop telling your friends what they can use to get a fairer skin. Tell them they don’t need to.

If you’re out there, reading this post, just know that you are beautiful. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, brown, black, or even blue (how can I leave out Smurfette?); You are PERFECT, and never let anyone tell you otherwise. Your skin color is not indicative of how smart, kind, generous and pretty you are. Don’t be blinded by silly advertisements. Don’t ever feel you’re not beautiful enough, because you are. You are more than enough. You don’t need a product to look pretty. Wear your confidence. Wear a smile. Be comfortable in your own skin.

Another festival to celebrate patriarchy?

As a child, I was always fascinated by Rakshabandhan, mostly because of the way it was depicted in advertisements and movies; and gifts! Who doesn’t love gifts? Growing up, my views began to change, as I understood the full implication of the festival.

For those of you who don’t know what Rakhabandhan is, I’ll save Google the trouble. It is a Hindu festival which celebrates the brother-sister relationship. This, is a good thing. A relationship as beautiful as this deserves to be celebrated. But, there’s more to it. The sister, by tying a thread, the Rakhi, around her brother’s wrist, expresses her love for him and wishes his well-being, and the brother, in return, vows to protect his sister under all circumstances. Now this is the part I find a little sexist. Before you start feeling aghast and expressing your hatred towards me, think about it.
For the sake of argument, let’s say I have a 3-year-old brother. How is he supposed to protect me? Shouldn’t I be the one vowing to take care of him? Now if I do have an elder brother, am I not capable of taking care of myself? Isn’t this, subconsciously, acceptance of the fact that I need a male figure in my life to take care me? And does the brother really need her sister to tie Rakhi on his wrist to know that she loves him? Isn’t that evident in all little things she does for him? When he hurt himself, and his sister rushed outside, wasn’t she expressing her love? When his sister stood up for him, in front of his parents or friends, wasn’t SHE the one protecting him?
I don’t have a brother, so my younger sister and I tie Rakhi to each other. I really respect this tradition in my family. It acknowledges the fact that as a sister, I can take care of my sister, and my sister is capable of taking care of me. Why isn’t this the norm in all families? Why don’t siblings tie Rakhi to each other to signify that they will BOTH take care of the other under all circumstances?

For a long time, I feared I was the only person who felt this way. But am I really?

Blank Pages

Isn’t it amusing
How a blank page
Holds endless stories
Within its being
The unending possibilities
Widows and orphans
Prose and poetry
Hidden underneath
A blanket of colors
Waiting till someone
Draws one out
And gives it life
As the rest venture
Into new homes
Waiting beneath the surface
To be born
So they can breathe life
Into another being

All the blank pages
With untold words
Dancing beneath the horizon