Confession of a Size Extra Small Indian

“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”

Clearly Kate Moss has never been to India!

For some reason all my relatives, friends, friends’ parents, neighborhood aunties and uncles feel it’s their birth right to make faces or snide remarks about my extra slim body type. When I retort by letting them know that I naturally have the exact physical configurations of a US size 0 and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it, they either think I am crazy or that I am boasting. No; I am NOT anorexic. I have inherited genes that shape my body the way it is. Unfortunately, in our country the notion of fitness is as twisted as the variety that gives rise to the ideal “Unity in Diversity”.

While 0 is the new 2 in Europe, a size 4 is India’s 2. Starving one’s way to a particular size is definitely not the way to go but then is overload of food justified? A typical Indian thali consists of a balanced diet. Sadly, a typical Indian festive thali consists of unearthly quantities of oil or ghee, sugar and/or salts and spices. From the marination to the cooking to the dressing and serving, all need an excess of not-so-healthy ingredients in order to make the food appeal to Indians. This in turn gives rise to an ideal body type sliding towards a heavier side.

All fashion designers know that Indian models are always a size up than their counterparts in other countries. The reason being, the idea of beauty has always been that of a fuller body in our country. In times like these when the youth is blindly aping the west while the middle-aged remain traditionally Indian, you’re criticized no matter how you look. The image of ideal beauty is fast dissolving into a culture that airs thoughts like: Fat is poor and Skinny is rich. The exorbitant prices of fitness regimes have something to do with this.

Tragedy is that Indians have forgotten their roots. We come from a culture that promoted a healthy and balanced diet, rich in all kinds of nutrients alongwith essential exercise. Sports like Kushti, Malam-Yudh, etc, were an intrinsic part of ancient Indian lifestyle. We are the fore-runners of Yoga and many forms of mental exercise. If what they say about history repeating itself is true, now is the time to revert back to our age old ways of maintaining a proper exercise-work-life balance. Eccentrically craving for a slimmer body is unhealthy. Also, mind set needs to be changed. Not all fat and skinny people can control their weight. So, looking down upon them is uncalled for. What’s needed is a big paradigm shift under which health should be given the first priority without making it an obsession.

Hygiene is the first step towards a healthier India. Stop littering around! The earth is not your spittoon. Cleanliness has to be ensured not just by the municipal corporation but every individual. Ultimate way to make yourself fit is to take out 30 minutes for yourself out of your hectic schedule and dedicate this time exclusively to whatever exercise you find best for your body. Eating right is necessary and drinking lots of water is instrumental in adding charm to your looks. Pick up a sport, revisit your dancing school, join the aerobics club, hit the gym, meditate and add a zing of yoga to your life, whatever you do remember it’s the best gift you will ever give to yourself! Treat your body like a pious temple and it will work divine wonders for you.

And please, stop giving me those “Why are you stick-thin?” looks! Thank you. It would help me breathe easier. Trust me.


  1. The judgemental Indian mentality is destroying the spirit of progress and improvement of other humans. Reading this confession and being a ‘size extra small’ myself, I can totally relate to each and everything word by word. I was bullied for all this but thanks to the kind people around, I rose above all the odds. The strong message conveyed by this article is indeed inspiring and serves a hope to many others like me and the one who confessed in this article.


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