About Me

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Study life, study literature. Eat food. Lots of it.
Also, I use a lot of adjectives- working on that, so bear with me.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

I'm a Tiny Person, So What?

People tripping on air, animals wearing tuxedos, internet memes: they're all pretty funny. You know what isn't funny at all? Making fun of people because of their size. Fat or skinny, it's not exactly a source of humour, really.

If you know me, you've probably heard me say "I'm a tiny person" very often. If you know me, you also probably know that I am a tiny person, underweight and relatively short as well; what many may call skinny. I've generally accepted my size and the pitfalls and the advantages it brings and learned to develop a sense of humour about it. However, in the last couple of years, I've experienced some more weight loss, and one of the consequences has been my anger, so this blog post has been a long time coming.

Some sensitivity has developed in people in recent years, and there are many who refrain from cracking jokes about obesity or people who are overweight. Sadly, the same courtesy doesn't always extend to the other end of the weighing scale. Just because someone is underweight does not give anyone the right to call them out on it, repeatedly. Showing concern for someone's health is one thing, but using that as a starting point for a joke, no matter how harmless the intent, is still malicious.

Sure, you want to ask if I'm unwell or if there is a reason why some of my clothes seem a size too large, go ahead. But implying that I'm losing weight on purpose or that I use less than healthy means to do it is just asking for pain. Physical fitness is a great thing, necessary even- but not everyone can achieve it, can they? You probably aren't perfect, I most definitely am not. Let's stop defining people based on their size and looks. If you're one of those people who've told me how I'm supposedly lucky because I lose weight without making an effort, I'm not. If you've managed a laugh out of telling me that "Farheen you're like a stick" or "Ants wouldn't get crushed under you" or "You'll probably fly away if it gets too windy", you should probably stop. Its not like I hate you for these things or that I'll have any contempt for you, but its just not nice. I've often been vocal about people who comment on my healthier friend's sizes, but I haven't really had anyone do that for people who make fun of me. To be honest, I don't even let it show that those comments hurt, because usually I can take it in my stride, but thanks to a recent increase in such 'observations' from the relatively saner company I keep, I've decided to speak out.

Body image issues are rampant in people my age. I'm not claiming to be a victim of them, but people don't really let you breathe easily if you don't look or dress in a certain way. I'm not even going into how these issues tie into the supposed structures of femininity and masculinity and what makes a person "hot" or "curvy". Whole different ball game, I tell you. Unknowingly even I've often made such derogatory comments about others, and I apologize to anyone of you who's reading this. But if you are someone who says you're scared of hugging me because you think I'll break, open your eyes, dude. Maybe the hug will help you and me both.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Reflections on a Jet Plane, Mostly.

It's been a while, isn't it? Lets just say, real life has seriously been an irritant in the path of my blogging pursuits. For those of you who may not know, I've been on holiday, and the moment I came back into town, I've been plunged into tons of work for my college. Anyway, excuses aside, I kept wondering all these days what my next blog post should be about. The sights and sounds of my unbelievably amazing holiday? The problems of working 14 hour days immediately after a holiday? The experiences of heading the admission process of your college?

In the end, I kept coming back to my holiday. Now I don't mean to make you jealous, but as a very generous birthday gift from my parents and my sister, I got to spend 10 days with them in the United Kingdom. Having spent some time in Edinburgh and London, I knew that I could spend days just writing about my experiences there. However, the idea of an ordinary travelogue-ish blog post did not appeal to me much. The one thing that kept bouncing around in my head after I returned was the constant comparisons that I kept making between their people and ours, their culture and ours, their behaviour and ours. In no way do I mean to create a divide, nor do I mean to sound racist. But, the differences are very obvious, and not in a really good way.

I'm making a generalization, but the people of UK, not just the English, seem to be far more happy than most of us. This happiness isn't just in their own lives, but in the way they treat others- friends, colleagues, random strangers on the road, tourists.  Maybe its the weather, maybe its their infrastructure or maybe its just the great food and alcohol, but the people are much nicer than most people we come across everyday over here. Every one has a smile on their face, no matter how tired they are. Even a bus driver late at night wishes you a good evening when you get off, and when you run into someone else's shopping cart at the grocery store, they turn and apologize, even though they don't need to. In India, you and I will probably just mutter under our breath and turn away.

Call me a cynic with a major case of the Greener Grass on the Other Side Syndrome, but there's more. During dinner at a restaurant in Edinburgh, we forgot my sister's rather expensive camera in the restaurant, and we realised this later when we were back in the hotel room. After much panicking, we found the bill and called the restaurant, and to our surprise, they immediately told us that they'd found it and kept it safe, and that they'd stay open longer if we wanted to come and pick it up immediately. In another instance, my father lost an important document at the Tower of London; one which he would have needed for the rest of the trip. A while later, when I went to the guard's cabin to ask for help, he handed me the document with a smile on his face saying that someone had found it and had returned it to them, when they very well could have earned easily a hundred pounds simply by using it themselves!
On the contrary, when I landed in India, on the Mumbai International Airport, I found someone's thick woolen jacket on one of the chairs, with no one else in sight. Having experienced the agony of losing something necessary and the joy of finding it again, I picked it up and carried it to a nearby counter to give it to the airport support staff. They seemed least interested, and if that wasn't enough, one of the gentlemen standing around had the gall to scream at me,"Leave it yaar, why are so worried? Bhaad mein jaaye." So much for trying to be helpful.

Again, I'm not one of those foreign-return tourists who can only find faults with everything we do. I understand the limitations of the opinions I form from a mere ten days there. That doesn't mean that our faults don't actually exist. Both you and I need to wake up from our reticence, and stop being hypocrites who go on about our polite and welcoming culture all while breeding intolerance and unease. Lets learn a lesson or two from others as well, shall we?