Eggs, bacon, bagels and croissants; her favourite meal of the day sat right in front of her alluring her to have more, some more, a bigger portion…probably just this one day. Her hand reached out for the last croissant; “STOP” said her mind! “PLEASE” begged the nineteen year old heart. She could feel the tires around her waist, weighing her down, emotionally and physically. She pulled her arm back, eyeing the lush croissant, which would have been hers, only if she had not decided to follow her dream — a dream so far fetched, which seemed nearly impossible.
But there she was, she wanted it, and wanted it bad! A fantasy of a teenager to fit into the beautiful peacock green bikini. A trip had been planned, to the city of beaches, by her huge group of friends and the trip included her. She used to sit dejected listening to her slim friends discuss about the kind of clothes they have purchased and how short each of their skirts were and how beautiful they looked. She wanted to be among them discussing her size and see their expression change from surprise to admiration; and so she decided.
Up and down, back and forth, her life jolted by vigorous gym sessions, her scale; her worst nightmare smiled at her happily, as it moved away from the bigger numbers, bit by bit, slow but steady. She was overjoyed, she felt it, from within, as she stood in front of the mirror — analysing her reflection and measuring her inches. Click opened her wardrobe and proudly hung the bikini, but it wasn’t time. She removed it admiringly, stroked the fabric and visualised herself on the shore of a beach, flaunting her curves — bikini clad.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the knock at her bedroom door. She heard her mother scream out for her. It was time for supper and back she was with her bowl of assorted vegetables and her best entertainer — the television. She zapped, ate, zapped, reaching for the last lettuce leaf in her bowl, only realising her stomach craved for something extra. It frustrated her that she could feast on her favourite fried chicken, mashed potatoes, Oreo biscuits or additional helpings of Hazelnut Choco spread. She had been through this a dozen times, but this time it was different, she wanted to be someone else, someone popular, and someone that made heads turn. She had to compromise. So she did, with a little reluctance once in a while, but a whole new chapter of determination. She wanted to be the topic of harmless gossip among the ones in school; she wanted to be out dating on Saturdays, partying on Sundays, shopping in skimpy outfits, which she had dreaded to wear till now.
Weeks passed, her patience started to die away, she once in a while treated herself with an ice cream, the fat was stubborn and refused to melt fast, but the time did. No matter how less she ate, she still looked awfully plump, which annoyed her and she was ready to call it quits. She sat on her fluffy bed and wept an entire evening, ignoring her dinner. Her tears dried up, leaving her cheeks cold, she lay down on her bed staring at the ceiling, letting random thoughts pass by her mind.
She hadn’t realised but her bedroom was hot and stuffy, she leapt out of her bed to open the windows. The wind blew into her round pale face. She stared outside her window and watched a mother treading along the footpath along with her son. The boy would have easily been older than twelve, the woman looked very familiar; maybe she was someone from her apartment. She watched closely as the son held on to his mother’s saree and plodded along with her. His head bent, in an awkward gait, made him look a bit abnormal. She closely watched them enter the apartment; they stopped to talk to another mother, who also had a teenage son but a much normal looking one. Standing near the window on the ground floor and only a few meters away from them, she could overhear their conversations, though she had to strain her ears a little. The usual small talk, recipe exchange and the latest saree in fashion, bored her and as she stepped away from the window, she heard one of the lady say something about a special school.
She immediately turned towards them and observed the mother of the abnormal, waiting for her to react, in a furious way, or probably a wretched expression. On the contrary, her face blossomed and she began raving about her son’s painting skills, and his ability to play the guitar even without learning.
The middle aged woman added, “My child is special, and every child is god’s gift. It doesn’t matter what’s on the outside, inner self is what matters.”
Standing in her bedroom, through the window she gazed at the boy playing with a Rubik’s cube, his tongue curving as per each turn of the cube and his eyes fixed on the colourful object. She ran to her closet and saw the beautiful looking bikini sitting inside. She took one last look at it and stuffed it inside the top shelf. She looked at herself in the mirror and, her flesh noticeably bulging out from her denim and her belly sagging down. She met her eyes’ reflection and said the words aloud, “I am a beautiful person.”
She smiled at herself and looked around her bedroom, her space where she became what she was; where ideas, thoughts, desires and hopes were given birth to and for the first time in life, where she found her true self!