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.
39 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    this is a fantastic post.... i am completely nodding in agreement...the retorts are fabulous...shall use them liberally!!

  2. Shilpa Says:

    Nice! Most women I know have been afflicted by the 'I need to lose x pounds' syndrome. Although, like you said, more often than not its these uncaring types, who remind us that we need to lose weight, that get us down. I loved the feminists' answer and will definitely use it when necessary!

  3. Jane Turley Says:

    Excellent post! I was over here in a flash as soon as I saw that title!

    Needless to say, (and I'm sure you have worked it out!) I am NOT comfortably overweight. It's tough not having a valid excuse isn't it?! I find laughing at myself helps but secretly I'm furious with myself.. just can't find the will power.....

  4. Altoid Says:

    LOL! These are going to be extremely handy! Thanks for putting this together :P

  5. rads Says:

    You've covered them all Usha :)

    Have you heard of the one that affects the weight becos of the region one belongs to? As in Tamils, telugus?! A hilarious thing happened couple of weeks ago, this AFTER I lost a few lbs with great difficulty.

    Maybe I should do a post.

  6. Usha Says:

    Arundati: Please help yourself - all for a good cause. Happy to help, anytime. LOL

    Shilpa: It is bad enough with one's own insecurities and then there is this helpful neighborhood to remind you. :)

    Jane: Thank you. It is tough for you with the children and school run , the book and so many things. And your being such an excellent cook isn't helping matters I am sure.

    Altoid: Hahah. But what I cannot understand is whar TYOU would do with them - you meed them like a fish needs a bike.

    Rads: No, I don't know THAT one. Please tell me all about it. Awaiting your post. And on your determination, way to go, girl!

  7. Jane Turley Says:

    That made me laugh! No, my being such an excellent cook does not help; it makes all those prepackaged goodies and chocolates so more tempting! If I had to live off what I cooked I'd be stick thin! Which is probably why the kids have wonderful athletic bodies(obviously inherited from me; especially the legs!)

  8. Mahadevan Says:

    It is a fantastic post.

    The Arun Ahliani stuff is very imaginative and it would certainly keep off any intruder in your 'pound' privacy.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I know of some ppl who can say the darnest things at the most inappropriate time- oh I forgot, you have met most my relatives:D!

  10. hijabiamma Says:

    lol, what a fantastic post!

  11. anamika Says:

    haha..good one! Enjoyed the tongue-in-the-cheek jokes of yours!

  12. Lovely post Usha ... just so I am clear on the nuances ... are these responses to be practiced to go with "Dirty looks" or those looks are reserved other important situations ?? :)

  13. Anonymous Says:

    "After all, isn’t it the supreme duty of a woman to be how her husband wants her to be!"

    LOL at that!!! These tips are superb!!! :D :D

  14. aMus Says:

    this was a fun read...

    i think weight and kids, you will always have someone else telling you how to go about it...


  15. La vida Loca Says:

    Loved #1
    Will use it where appropriate. Thank you.

    Have to say though I belong to the lose X lbs club :(

  16. Art Says:

    haha.. this is hilarious...

    I am surrounded by people who crib about their wieght.... Its so annoying... and that inspite of being so thin and wearing clothes of size (S or XS)!!!

  17. Artnavy Says:

    i have memorised this much needed list!!

  18. Mama - Mia Says:

    weight watchers, watch out! i am armed! not the biceps variety! :p

    i use the medical condition card! which is almost genuine! PCOs! :p

    and ofcos with baby and work, where is the time is another fav! :)

    LOVED this post!



  19. When people used to come and tell me that I have lost weight, I used to tell them, you go have a baby and run around after it, you'll lose it too. Pretty much managed to shut them up. :-D
    Sigh! Note the "used to"

  20. Ads Says:

    Wow! I can't agree more! My google reader recommended your blog and looking at the title i zeroed in on it!! Thanks a ton for tips!! I dont know if I have it in me to retort but I surely loved where you are coming from and the simplicity with which you are able to articulate it!

  21. KoolKap Says:

    hahah good one... even i am facing this problem these days... i had never been fat... n use to wonder how can people not reduce there weight now i understand y...

  22. Hip Grandma Says:

    With my less than 5 feet height every pound gained gets noticed.i have 2 God gifted weight watchers in the form of daughters who make me squirm with guilt whenever we meet so do i have to tell you how grateful i am for your tips.I find suggestion no.4 & 5 particularly good.Thanks.

  23. Hip Grandma Says:

    Any useful tip to shut them up?

  24. Anonymous Says:

    hilarious post!

    Here's another oft used (by me) to khaate peete ghar ki nishani hai

    (its not fat, its a sign of prosperity)

  25. DotThoughts Says:

    Quintessential Usha! Made my day by giving me an arsenal to work with :)

    oh and guess what the word verification I have today, just below.. it is potfully. oh the ironies :)

  26. Anonymous Says:

    I loved your tactics...specially #3.

  27. Anonymous Says:

    hahahah nice one :)

  28. Anonymous Says:

    I read someplace that fat is a feminist issue. What a healthy way to adopt!

    I want to shed those kilos that are killing my knees, but a strange mix of sloth, defiance and temptation keep them back.Those extra kilos are my babies:I carry them on my hips even if they keep growing!

    And now, pass me a big slice of that cheese and butter bake please.

  29. Bhavna Says:

    Onset of middle age has made me turn into the kind of woman I always despised ' one who would always be on some diet or the other', not eating carbs, no life indulgences like a cheesecake. While physically I may look more svelte now, my hubby's complaint is that I have become a boring dining companion. Weight is so just in the mind of the ..weightholder.
    Good post, Usha

  30. hillgrandmom Says:

    Thank you Usha for these great comebacks!
    'A very comfortably over-weight grandmom' :-)

  31. mnamma Says:

    'Parumanitis' was ultimate! Enjoyed this post so much :)Thanks for the witty retorts!

  32. Anonymous Says:

    Ayyo... don't ask! I am 28 and look much older thanks to my weight.. When did I put it on? I've been putting it on for many years.. a lot around the time of pregnancy... Worst of all is the tummy.. it never went away after my daughter was born.. So, now I think I would rather like being pregnant - that way I can have a guilt free tummy and not lose sleep over how to best camouflage it!

  33. Its good to know it was minor fire and you all are safe. I am glad you posted your account, these newspapers create unnecessary fear. After Uphar and blasts in thatre on specific occasion in Delhi, families are reluctant to allow us to view movies :(

    It does affect a movie-love like me.

  34. diya Says:

    I agree that the friends are always on your case, but in my case my mom is also after me to lose weight while my mom in law thinks I am losing weight. But the bump on my tummy tells a different tale!

  35. Anonymous Says:

    Nice way to kill the topic. But you haven't told any way killing the age topic. We can say "I am acting with Kamal in a movie as an old lady. This is part of my make up." I guess there is no weightage for talking about weight or age :)

  36. Anonymous Says:

    ROFL! This is priceless! Arun Ahliani takes the cake!! :)

    Just discovered you from Rads'. Will find myself lurking more often!


  37. shilpa Says:

    haha thats hilarious..Ahh to be 'healthy'!
    I always use the excuse that I am a happy person, I need the weight to keep me from becoming crabby!After all never seen a thin Santa have we?

  38. lol...good one...i'm loving excuse no.1...god bless our indian culture and male supremacy :) i'm sure even some of those feminist chicks use this excuse now and then ;)

  39. send flowers Says:

    Wow!!!!!!! what a fantastic post!