There are a few things you don’t ask a woman about : one is her age and the other is her weight. Everything else – her salary, her husband’s salary, how annoying he is, how pathetic their sex life is and her favorite fantasies – Ya sure, what do you want to know? Everything is alright to talk about but her age and weight, a strict NO. It seems like all the people in my life missed the memo as the first thing they would talk about when they meet a person after a while is about her weight.
If it is someone from the family-tree they would almost always say that I look famished, /stick-thin/ anemic and wonder if I had been ill recently. I feel touched by all this unconditional love that considers my 68 kg frame as underweight and thin.
On the other hand are the ruthless friends who are worse than a personal trainer. They seem to keep a tab on every gram and millimeter I gain and they critically examine me from every angle every time and tell me all the areas where I need to lose some more to get that ideal figure for my height. There is no point trying to tell them that I have no desire to achieve that level of perfection – ‘come on yaar’ , they’d say, ‘don’t give up that easily’ and then they’d tell me success stories of those who lost 10 kgs just living on sprouts for 6 months and someone who lost 10 pounds by walking. ‘I have done that too’, I’d say, ‘I once lost a 10 pound note too while walking in London’ and all I’d get is a look people reserve for pathetic losers.

Now this must give you a clue why I resent occasions involving meeting these two categories of people. Weddings are the worst because they are filled with specimens from both categories. I usually come back feeling crushed from these but over the years I have developed some retorts for weight-watchers – that is the people who watch your weight. You use the appropriate number depending on the type of person you have to deal with. Of course there is not an iota of truth in any of the statements but this is not about truth but about killing the topic effectively before it gets out of hand:

1. For the Bhartiya Naari types here’s a totally unbeatable response:
My husband doesn’t like thin women.
End of story. Case closed. No one argues with that one. After all, isn’t it the supreme duty of a woman to be how her husband wants her to be!

2. This is for the health freaks and medical maniacs:
I have a medical condition called Parumanitis which affects my memory if I go less than 65 KG. Apparently it is a very rare kind of illness found in one in a billion.
Of course medical conditions , real or feigned, are valid reasons to be as fat or as thin as you want to be. And the fancier the name the better.

3. For the fashion-conscious:
Oh I just had a whole new wardrobe designed by Arun Ahliani . I don’t want to lose weight and spoil the fit.
Oh, the sacrifices one has to make for the cause of fashion – people will understand this and even sympathise. You might even find them viewing your weight with respect now that it is draped in Arun Ahliani outfits! (They will never know that Arun is actually the name of your street-corner tailor!)

4. For the ideology-oriented::
This is a one woman movement against body-image slavery . I defy any attempt to reduce me to numbers. Underneath these layers of fat is the person who matters!
And I stand up for my freedom to consume as many calories as I want and my liberties shall not be curtailed by anyone who dictates how fat or thin I should be.

5. For the Bindaas types:
Who cares yaar! Life is short, enjoy and be happy! Let us have another slice of that Blueberry cheese cake.

6. Then there is always the genes card:
In our family we have always been plump. There is only so much you can do to defy your genes.

It usually works for me. If you are surrounded by clones of my friends and family and please feel free to use any of these tips. Absolutely free - see, fat people are usually very generous!
And once you have dealt with them effectively, you can go home to the privacy of your bedroom, curl up in fetal position and cry over your weight. Very cathartic I tell ya!

Added after 15 comments:
Here are a few more valid excuses to ward them off:
1. Rads has a regional angle - Telugus are trim while Tamils are like this only. Judging by the number of Southern film stars who have telugu origin, it seems possible. Possibly something to do with our diet? The paruppu sadam dripping with ghee and thayir sadam may be. Like the other day someone told me that people from Andhra are extremely good at math - perhaps because of all those chillies they consume.

2.This from a friend who says:
'Don't worry about the number 68. Sixties are the new 50s.'
Well, so I am only 58 - No wonder my dear ancestors think I am underweight.
A friend sent me this link and asked me what I thought about it.
For those of you who are too lazy to follow the link it is the story about a 22 year old woman from San Diego calling herself Natalie Dylan who is auctioning her virginity at
I had read about this a few months ago and thought that this was one of those publicity stunts backed by some TV reality show. I was a bit surprised that the story had not yet seen its natural death. I was asked for an opinion and being the ever-conscientious opinion-giver, I went online to read the details.
OK why is she is doing this? To finance her studies. Excellent motivation I admit.
How did she hit on the brilliant idea? From her sister who had worked as a prostitute to put herself through college. Hm, looks like a disease that runs in the family.

According to reports the bid has reached $ 3.7 million which has even surprised Natalie.
"It's shocking that men will pay so much for someone's virginity, which isn't even prized so highly any more. It's become some kind of competition between all these men that they all want to win," she said.
The newspapers also quote her as having said:
"I am not being sold into this, I'm not being taken advantage of in any way. Me and the person I do it with will both profit greatly from the deal."

My initial thoughts were that it is her body and what she wants to do with it is her problem. But then I was quite intrigued that someone would want to pay 3.7 million US dollars just for sleeping with a virgin and just once.
Obsession with virginity is characteristic of patriarchal societies where women are held subservient to men. Liberal societies do not place such a premium on it and virginity is not associated with issues such as morality and honour. In traditional societies one reason why men want to marry virgins is a perceived and accepted sense of Masculinity about being the one to 'deflower' a virgin. Of course the other and more important reason is to ensure the purity of the bloodline for the offspring. Hence the practice of honour killings etc. in traditional societies even today.

Going back to the story, this report
says ‘she had no moral dilemma with her decision and found it "empowering".
Empowering? It is one thing to be in control of one’s body but is it really empowering to have to sell your body to the highest bidder?
Allowing one to be treated as a commodity – is it empowering or demeaning? I have heard the argument that if a woman decides to use her body as the stock for her trade, she should have the liberty to do it and should not be treated as a criminal. I agree, but is it the same as saying that prostitution empowers a woman?

What is interesting is that she did not offer just her body but used the virginity card. Obviously she was pandering to that secret desire of men to be the first man in a woman's body which gave them a sense of dominance. So this whole experience is not going to be about her own sexual pleasure but about making man feel important and special and for him to 'own' her albeit for that short period. He is paying for it isn't he? She is going to sell herself to him for him to use her- What is so empowering about it?

Considering that this woman is a student of women’s studies , I only hope that she is doing this as some kind of an experiment for some project related to her course.. Perhaps she is trying to expose the hypocrisy among U.S. society which claims not to place too much emphasis on a woman’s virginity. Or am I giving her way too much credit?

And what about the bidders? Something seems fishy when in a sexually free society, someone is willing to buy sex with an inexperienced person at a phenomenal sum of 3.7 million. Why? Is it a statement about the importance of virginity as a valuable possession for a woman to have? Aren't there enough honour killings already based on this belief? And aren't there enough crimes against innocent virgin women and girl children in parts of Africa based on the myth that sex with a virgin is a cure for AIDS?

Or is it simply that there is too much money in the hands of stupid people?