I was born underweight and have remained so ever since. So you could say I’m a natural size zero (or size minus-one if it exists). Now if I were a character in one of the popular chick-flicks on TV, I wouldn’t be so out of place there. Well, sadly, I don’t live in a chick-flick.

The real world out there has been mostly critical about my size. Everyone I know, from family to friends, has had something to say about my weight that is either a comment or some bizarre weight-gaining tip, so that I don’t look my size.

Grandmothers typically came up with special diets such as ghee and pulses mixed, or honey with milk — anything to make me gain a pound or two.

Making her daughter look bigger than what she is at present, became one among my mother’s many missions. She was obsessive with what, how and when I ate. She added ingredients with high fat content and carbohydrates in our daily meal, irrespective of her own shooting diabetes reading.

I thus had the luxury of gorging on rich and fatty food to my heart’s content, but with no effect on my body whatsoever, much to the envy of my normal sister who gained weight if she overate even a little. So I mostly grew up with comments like “you need more latitudes because you have enough longitudes”.

The funny thing was that I was in the midst of this critical analysis on my weight when the whole world out there was going bananas over weight-loss programmes, healthy eating and the size zero phenomenon. When Kareena Kapoor successfully attained a size zero figure, everyone who was beauty-conscious tried the same.

Initially I used to be bothered about the comments and criticism that came my way. I wanted to make myself look the way others wanted me to. I tried to make my grandmothers’ and mother’s efforts a success. I routinely followed my mother’s ‘diet plans’ but with no results.

Eventually I gave up. I wondered: if the world out there was trying so hard to look like me, why was I trying to achieve the opposite? Finally, I am happy with how I look.

It is true that the whole concept of beauty and looks is very subjective. The idea of gaining or losing the appropriate level of weight is rooted in the fact that everybody wants to look different from what they really are. They want to look different and better.

But the problem is that none of us are sure what that ‘different’ or ‘better’ is. To some of us it may be the ultimate size zero, and for others it could be little more of curves. This is also reflected in the society at large when the thin are asked to be fat and vice versa.

Opinions on size also change. Kareena Kapoor and size zero is old news compared to Vidya Balan and Sunny Leone who brought in the ‘curves are in’ situation (no offence to them, but they completely ruined it for thin and lanky girls like me).

But then again, this is also going out of fashion.

So even though I am quite satisfied with how I look, there is still a part of me that is trying very hard to change. The idea of a single perfect body is still an abstract one for me. It either doesn’t exist, or none of us know what it really is.

anjanaravinarayan@gmail.com

More In: Open Page | Opinion