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Thursday, 20 September 2007


We all go through it… It’s agony, and torture, and we hate it because it makes us wonder if we’re good enough to achieve something– personal, professional, whatever.

All of us also know this one fact- that our younger siblings, nieces, nephews, best friends, and when their time comes, even our children will go through this soul- (and body) gnawing experience at some time in their life.

And yet, we never do much about it.

I’m talking about this urban obsession with thin bodies and the extreme steps some people take to get into one of them.

Personally, I was a gawky, extra- tall, never- to- be- pretty kid who turned out just about O.K. and somehow managed to stay away from this one- meal- a- day diet craze. I’m still not sure what did it-

1) The realization that I have a traditionally Indian figure with mile- sized hips; or
2) My parents drubbing into me that I can’t live without food, so I may as well enjoy it.

Frankly, I think if children (boys and girls) and teenagers (girls and boys) want to look like well dressed, emaciated beggars, it’s as much the family’s fault as anyone else’s.
Possibly much more.

You bring this child into the world, and promise him or her that they can trust you. That you’ll protect them no matter what. So how can you leave them to be preyed upon when their mind is most vulnerable to abuse?!

Parents might say: ‘The media propagates this’, or maybe even ‘She’ll grow out of it’, or ‘My son is tough, he can take care of himself’. Well, yes, the media should be responsible, which it mostly isn’t. In general something disturbing will turn up about how teenagers are taking extreme steps to lose weight and there will be a raging national debate for two days. Then the news show discussing the issue will generally be followed by advertisements on weight loss, or programs describing the going- ons of the size zero swish set.

And parents, your kids may be well brought up, but they are not equipped to deal with this. Really, what you fail to see is that it’ll be you, the family, who’ll watch from the sidelines as your precious li’l baby disintegrates mentally, crushed helplessly under low- and- waning self esteem. At best, it’ll be a passing phase. At worst, a life long battle against, or a painful death due to lack of nutrition.

You can see this means a lot to me, and my reasons are:

1) I’ve watched my friends struggle with this; and
2) I recently found out that one of my favourite cousins’, this guy I’ll adore till the day I die, had a son.

He's so breathtakingly adorable, and I don’t ever want him to feel inadequate or unnecessary because he does not look like a photocopy of all the other people in this world.


  1. I agree that the obsession with being slim has crossed all limits of sanity. I think we should just stop recognizing "problems" like anorexia and bulimia. If the kid doesn't want to eat or wants to retch it all out after swallowing it, well tough luck. I couldn't care less. The parents can't shoulder the entire blame for the kid acting like an idiot.

  2. I completely agree but sometimes I feel that so many parents themselves are caught up in the same size 0 race that helping their kids doesn't even feature as the core problem. It is the very belief system that needs to change. This automatically will change the obsession of the youth.