In my late teens and early twenties, I struggled with my weight. Or rather, the lack of it. Unlike popular perception, those who are underweight can also be a target of humour. Especially if you are in India. Not that it is funny, and definitely not when you are the one at the receiving end.
Indians prefer their women rounded and with flesh. Good thing about that is that unless you really are obese, fat is good. On the other hand, being thin is a sin. The culprit? Food. Unlike how overweight people are constantly tormented with accusations of overeating, thin people are accused of not eating enough. If possible, the entire society gangs up against you and if it could it would force feed you (it’s not illegal there. In fact, it’s illegal NOT to force feed your child. If you don’t force stuff down the poor kid’s throat, you are not trying hard enough to feed it and are = bad Mom). Nevermind that you could be eating a horse for dinner and an elephant for breakfast. My poor Mom had to deal with constant accusing stares of being a bad Mom as she obviously didn’t feed me enough. Too bad she couldn’t tie me down and funnel food down my throat just to get the ‘well wishers’ off her back. Privately, we all knew I was running her kitchen pantry empty.
The elders in my family constantly worried on how I might find it very difficult to secure a match (marriage being the be all and end all of my existence, you understand). I could never buy jeans, they didn’t make my size.
I was underweight to the point of being skin and bones, though I wasn’t unhealthy for most part. But I could be dying for all that mattered. The stress of gaining weight made me resort to all sorts of fad and foods. My doc prescribed a plethora of health tonics, and even an injection that build tissues, tackled anaemia and helped gain weight .
The best yet came from a parent of one my students in a school where I taught kindergarten. He introduced himself thus: “Remember me Ma’m? I am the guy who runs the pharmacy where you buy your health supplements and get your weight gain injection from.” LOUD. It boomed off the walls. Heads turned.
Did I mention I was sitting in the middle of a large hall in the midst of a Parents Teachers conference with many other teachers and visiting parents?
Yes, I died in embarrassment and was reborn fat. Or, in Indian terms, “healthy”.
Of course, now I look back and laugh. And even miss those days, hahaha! Because now, all my foods and fads are mostly directed towards losing weight, and I don’t get very far with that either.
- Two pieces of white bread
- 1 tsp sour cream
- 1 tbsp milk
- 3-4 slices tomatoes
- 2-3 slices of cucumber
- salt and pepper from sprinkling
Combine sour cream with milk and make a paste
Apply liberally, reserving some, on a slice of bread. Pile with sliced cucumber and tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Apply the rest of sour cream mixture on the other bread, cover the pile with sour cream side in, and press. Cut out the edges.
You can wrap these up and store them in the refrigerator for later use.
Tip: Soak the top of the bread pieces with a little milk before storing. They will stay soft and moist and won’t dehydrate in the refrigerator. Grab some as you are running out the hosue or pack them for lunch at school or office.
Some good Coffee:
This was our way of making hot espresso coffee as youngsters.
- 1 tsp instant coffee
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 coffee cup hot milk.
In a cup, mix sugar and coffee vigorously, till it forms nice, thick foam.
Pour hot milk, stir gently and enjoy.
Tip: This is a leisure activity so do not attempt it when you are trying to find keys to start the car.