Before the rains actually set in, some of us were invited to the Bata store to take a look at their monsoon collection. In an outfit suited to the season, we picked the pairs we liked most and posed for a shutterbug. Do I get a thumbs up for my monsoon ready ensemble?
It’s a funny story of how Vibha and I got in touch. But read about the book and our chat here:
Rinki and her wolf pack (that’s how she thinks of Robin and Sudha) are back in action! And they have company. In the form of Google (Mr. Know It All. ‘If I don’t know something, chances are neither does the search engine’) and Adit (Mr. Goody Two Shoes. ‘Life is short. Study hard’). At last, Rinki has her wish. She has two boys fighting over her, er, mostly with her.
Meanwhile, Rinki’s brand new grandmother, Mausiji, is raising hell at home. Her Dad, lucky fellow, is away in Coimbatore. And it’s all up to Rinki to cool tempers down. Mom and Mausiji are always on each other’s throat. And so are Google and Adit. Aiyyo aiyyo.
At school, things are no better. Board Exams are looking large and the Princy is making her feel smaller than ever. Her grades are shrinking and her waistline is growing. Tuition classes are keeping her up at unearthly hours and the syllabus is putting her to sleep. Her gym routine is like her love life. Non-existent. For the very same reason. With all the madness, where’s the time?
School life is about to get over. But not before things get a lot more crazy. Read the next installment in the Rinki series and discover why turning seventeen is no walk in the park!
Seventeen and Done has been published under the Penguin Inked arm:
Inked is a hip new imprint from Penguin Books India with a focus on the best writing for teens and young adults.
Who is Vibha Batra?
Movies (the soppier the better). Meals (think unlimited South Indian thaalis). Mad sitcoms (compulsive viewing, season 1-100). Just a few things that make Vibha happy. In addition to mails (the gushing kinds) from readers, of course. She wants to keep writing till her last breath (or carpal tunnel sets in, whichever comes first). She wants to win an Oscar for Best Original Song. (Best Adapted Screenplay for any of her books will do just fine too). She was last sighted at a quaint café in Chennai, hunched over the laptop, writing away like a woman possessed.
Alice’s conversation with Vibha:
Dhruvi Shah: Even from your bio and what little I’ve read of the book, you’re largely influenced by pop culture. I believe we all are to a certain extent. How do you incorporate that in your writing?
Vibha Batra: Hey, I’m trying to have fun with it. Keeping an eye out, ear to the ground, tongue firmly in cheek. I suppose it’s a case of ‘If you can’t run away, run with it’.
A heated conversation and chocolate dipped butter cookie later, I’m writing this post. It started with a compliment, “I like the way you carry yourself”, continued with “don’t you think you would look even better if you lost some weight?” and ended with “It’s alright. I was just talking to you as a friend”. As well-intentioned as that conversation was, it wasn’t the first and certainly not the last. Let’s rewind 5 years ago. I was fresh out of college, thin and taking on my first job. In 5 years I’ve progressively put on 15-16 kgs. That’s a lot right? I know it is. The alarm bells never rang for me. Until I was ‘marriageable’ age and my parents thought I was overweight. I started working out – power yoga. It was the most ‘in’ and ‘seemingly effective’ form of exercise. I consulted a dietitian – altered my diet for six months. I lost 5 kgs? I was still 10 kgs overweight. I still am.
There are some people you meet and you come away with thinking of them as ‘fat’. I don’t consider myself one of those people. There are also some people who try really hard to lose the extra weight and succeed. I’m not one of those people either. You see, I’m a rebel with a cause. I don’t want to lose weight because the prospective boy I’m going to meet is going to reject me. I will only lose weight when it’s a health concern. Is it? I’m going to find out very soon. I’m scared shitless. I don’t want to find out that in addition to everything else, I have to worry about a major health issue.
So what is my problem? The freaking double standards. Every time someone so little as comments on my weight, I wish they would take a good hard look at themselves and tell me they’re fit and healthy without batting an eyelid. Most times, they can’t. Being underweight comes with its own problems. Of course, there are the boys who want their girls (friends or dates) to be ‘slim and trim’. Do they have a six-pack, are they good-looking, are they strong? No. Very few of them are.
Why, as Indians is it our national hobby to talk to people about their weight? Why is it that we can’t accept and flaunt our beautiful curvaceous bodies? Why is it that our actresses are getting skinnier? Why is it that we concentrate so much on weight when obesity is a national concern for another country? We have far bigger issues, as a people, to worry about!
I didn’t always look like this and I’m not going to either. I’m constantly changing and so is the structure of my face and body. I’m a beautiful person and I believe that. I don’t need to convince anyone. I know my body type, I dress accordingly and as of last week, I fit into a dress sized M from Forever 21. I take tests when I’m asked to. I don’t always follow-up with the medication. I want to be mentally healthy as a top priority. A fat girl doesn’t reside inside me. You can point out all my bodily flaws all day long but you won’t convince me.
Health is important. Weight isn’t. Love, family, support count. Judgements (especially other people’s) don’t.
Every now and then some of my friends talk to me about weight issues. Despite flared conversations, we don’t reach conclusions. While it feels great to fit into a bikini and college denims, it feels equally great to bite into chocolate and a cheesecake. The solution is balance, containment and contentment. The answer is to do everything guilt-free. Enjoy it all. Live a good life. Because that’s what matters.
Ask yourself this. When you meet someone new, are they going to remember you as a ‘fat person’ or an interesting person? And how they do is a good enough indicator of whether you want to continue knowing that person. Do you have enough clothes in your closet to take you through a month or a fortnight? If yes, you’re doing just fine. Do you have a good set of friends and actual well-wishers around you? Then you know who the gossips are. Do you have someone to hold your hand when you take tests, lean on if you are suffering? Then you don’t need someone enjoys your misery.
Make informed choices. And just work towards being happy. We have so much to take us down. A real superperson is one who knows how to uplift themselves.
I want to tell all of you, my friends and readers included. I’m comfortable with who I am. I’m aware of my flaws and I also know how to work them. Yes, there are days it doesn’t seem like it. But I’ve learnt to accept myself. You should too.
I’ve just about recovered from the rabbit hole‘s jumble sale and I’m already planning the next event. Thanks for the great response you guys despite the heavy downpour. Some of you wanted to know what I wore. I went with a black racerback hi-low dress and polka dot faded denim vest, both from Forever 21 and neon pink thong sandals that Sole D’ Shoes was kind enough to send. Love it or hate it?
Phew! That’s a lot of brand names in the title. As my sister likes to put it, I’m a ‘prankster’. So I wore my newest Elle dress to the Allen Solly & Vogue ‘School Of Style’. It’s a different print for me yet within my realm.
We finally have a legit outfit post. Thanks to my sister, the ‘photographeress’, you can see the details of my look.
Dress – Elle FashionWear | Earrings – Mom’s | Belt – Elle FashionWear | Bag – Sister’s (from Mango) | Shoes – H & M
Do you think our looks work? Apart from the fact that I need to lose weight (just being honest), did I do okay?
As I wander away, I have to mention how excited I am for the first Elle FashionWear bloggers’ meet. I have to dress for a ‘mid-day in Paris’ and I’m looking for inspiration. Feel free to throw ideas at me. Thanks!