Crossing a thin line

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Check your BMI

By Indu Balachandran/The Hindu

July 23: No one I know goes up to a fat person and says, “Hey, you need to eat less.” But many many people have come right up to my face and said, “Hey, you need to eat more.”

Yes, I am a thin person. Yet, I am extremely well nourished, despite my skeleton-like appearance; otherwise my brain wouldn’t have developed well enough to come up with the following repartee, at a recent family wedding.

Annoying uncle: “Look at you! Why are you so skinny?”

Me: “Actually you are skinnier. Because you have way more skin than me. As it has to cover your ample fleshy huge fat body.” (Well I was too polite to say this out loud; but even thinking of this smart comeback made me feel better.)

My inherited skinny genes allowed me to wear skinny jeans through college, but it made the not-so-well-meaning aunts in my family constantly worry, “Who will marry such a thin girl?”

However, despite my tallness and thinness, a career as an international supermodel wasn’t in my stars. (Twiggy, an ultra-thin British model, was a world-wide rage in the late 60’s, remember?) I had decided I’d write for a living, though I was warned that artists and writers seldom made money, and could, er…starve to an early death, like Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allen Poe. Even my most favourite, Edward Lear, died unmarried, sick and alone— despite making millions laugh with his poems. Was it a girl just like me who inspired him to write this hilarious Limerick?

There was a young girl from Orlean

Who grew so abnormally lean

And flat and compressed

Her back reached her chest

And sideways, she couldn’t be seen.

Meanwhile, I plotted my writerly future. I would compensate for my sorrow with dark humour. I would use satire as my weapon to destroy! I’d get my revenge with cousins who joked about my thinness. “I will put you in a story of mine, and kill you in the end!”

I set about my evil plan to world fame.

Well, to cut a fat story thin, nothing so dramatic happened. I became a writer, yes. I became famous, though only in my apartment building. My pay cheques stayed slim, not unlike me. But I’ve decided to help other weight-challenged victims suffering rude people — who make no bones about throwing those same old stupid wisecracks at us boney folk. So dear thin people reading this, here are a set of quick comebacks, as you encounter these cliched observations:

“One of these days you’ll disappear…”

“Actually I will disappear right now. I can’t stand your boring presence another second.”

“Just look how thin you’ve become…”

“Sure. Do you have a pocket mirror? You, however need a wall-sized gym mirror to look at your entire huge self.”

“You haven’t changed a bit since school!”

“Sure I’ve changed. I’m no longer wearing my uniform. But you must be changing clothes all the time, as your size must be, well, tripleXL now?”

“Oh dear! You’ve lost weight again. What happened? ”

“Yes, I lost weight. But hey did you find it somewhere? You seem to have put on all that I lost.”

We thin people won’t take ourselves lightly anymore.

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