Growing up, I was the text-book example of what kids now days would call as a ‘Geek’.
A bob cut, giant owlish glasses and a forehead full of pimples. I could usually be spotted lugging heavy books under my arms or with my head buried into the latest Harry Potter in the school bus.
I loved to read! The only thing that differed from me being a stereotypical “geek” as shown in movies was that I wasn’t a star student or even very good at academics.
I barely managed to pass in Math and Science, and was one of those students that teachers look through in the class. I was just a happy, average child.
As a kid, it never bothered me. I made friends easily and my habit of constantly eating and laughing, made them crack up a lot. It was going great!
Then, teenage struck.
Suddenly, one day I woke up and realised that I was chubby, I had glasses and my hair was the very same style as my neighbour’s five year old boy.
My best friends were these beautiful girls with glossy, long hair and fashionable clothes, who were suddenly discussing fashion statistics from Cosmopolitan and cute guys.
I, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to slip into my loose shorts and t-shirt, as soon as I got home from school. As it is, I had begun feeling a bit distant from my girl-gang as they had all opted for Fashion Designing as an additional subject, whereas I had chosen English Literature.
I decided that I definitely would have to change my appearance to keep up!
I bullied my mother into buying me contact-lenses and for many mornings after that, I could be seen crouching on the floor on all fours, searching blindly for my fallen contact lens, while my mother screeched in the background “Don’t step on it! Don’t step on it!”
I remember, once I stole my sister’s eye-shadow and wore it to my friend’s birthday party. As soon as I entered the party hall, my friends howled with laughter on seeing me and I quickly made up a fib that I had only put it to make them all laugh. I danced myself crazy in that party with all my funny steps and my friends said- “There you are! You had disappeared for a while there.”
After some time, I gave up on all this as you can only pretend to be something that you are not, for so long.
As I entered my twenties, I met a guy who seemed to love me in all my geekiness. He kept saying to me,
“Please don’t wear girlish clothes. They don’t suit you at all! Same goes for contact lenses…You look much better in glasses.”
I knew I had met my man. I was the first one amongst my friends to get married and I realised that all the ‘aunties’ who used to tell me- “Act like a girl or you won’t find a suitable groom” did not know their stuff after all.
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Fast-forward seven years…
Nowadays, my facebook is full of pre-wedding and post-wedding photo-shoots that all these lovely young people share on their profiles. I look at these gorgeous new brides in their shimmery attire, perfect hairdos and bright red bangles, and can’t stop gawking at how pretty they look.
Light years ago, when I was a new bride myself, I went back to my superhero tees and favorite skinny jeans, the day we left our hometown and arrived in Bangalore. My very Punjabi mother-in-law, was super chilled out about it and never told me to wear the traditional ethnic stuff in my everyday routine. I felt myself lucky to have a husband and a mother-in-law who supported my choices.
Looking at these stunning, young girls of today, I wondered if I deprived my new family of a glowing, new bride that they could show off to the society? Would I do things a bit differently if I got a chance to do it all over again? Maybe try a bit more…some make-up, nice clothes…..?
Nope. Definitely not!
The world would be a very dull place if we were all the same and it’s the incredible diversity amongst people that makes this planet such a fascinating place.
We can’t all dress up the same way, act in the same manner or most importantly, be comfortable in the same environment. To live in a world where women are regarded as people and not decoration, we need to stop making comments on other people’s appearance as though it is our right to do so. We’ll truly be doing each other a favor.
Many women look beautiful in feminine clothes and carry it so well, whereas when I wear a ‘saree’, it seems as if it has been draped around a new-born baby giraffe, who is learning how to walk for the first time.
To each his own- That’s what matters!
Speaking of looks, another thing that I have always struggled with in my life, is my insane love for food and keeping my weight in check. I have forever been this plump girl with round cheeks, and after I turned eighteen, my mom finally stopped insisting that it was the “Baby-fat”. Hashtag Indian Moms.
I can’t begin to describe my relationship with food. You know how husbands bring flowers to make up, when a wife is angry over a tiff? Well, my man brings me food.
I love that! I love to eat and I love to cook.
People would often jokingly tease me that this much compassion for food is not “healthy” (Pun intended). They’d say to me, “ What good can come out of loving food so much? It will only increase your weight and you know you don’t need that. Apne khane ka obsession thoda kam karo.” I would nod, but it wasn’t fair!
Then last year, my husband and my sister suggested that I channelize my craze for food by starting a Food Blog of my own.
At first, I laughed the idea off! I mean, who would be interested in reading about my cooking? I mainly baked lots of cakes and desserts and they urged me to start a blog, for my own record, if not for others. Well, I had oodles of time on my hands….hmm, why not?
So, October 2016, I started my food blog- A Foodie Housewife!
What a fantastic journey it has been! I feel grateful everyday that I embarked on this path which has given me so much in these past six months. I crossed 300 followers on my blog yesterday and feel overwhelmed each day when readers from different parts of the world leave appreciative comments or helpful feedback on my recipes. I have made amazing new friends and learn ample of new things every day from them. This blog has given me such an enormous amount of self-confidence, that I cannot express in mere words.
Many years ago, I had tried working as an HR intern in a corporate firm and truly hated it. I didn’t feel even a little bit excited by the role and thus, I was really very bad at that job.
You need to love what you do, period. Write this down- if you truly do something that you love, work really transforms into fun. It is not a cliché! My love for food did do me good afterall.
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So, don’t let anyone tell you not to love something that you are mad about. Explore yourself. Channelize that passion. Make your own rules.
My husband and I pride ourselves on our balanced lifestyle where we enjoy long, brisk walks, yoga and a healthy diet to keep our health in check, but also happily lose some weekends to pizza and potato chips, to keep alive our mutual love for delicious food.
If we start treating ourselves with love- healthy food, good sleep, happy thoughts, enjoying regular exercise, doing the things that make us most happy and crucially- accepting ourselves for what we are, the way we look will reflect how much we love and care for the bodies that we have been given.
I’m proudly not perfect, and I believe that loving yourself for what you are, is the route to a healthier life. That’s what being a real woman is about. Loving yourself doesn’t make you vain. It is liberating.
Take it from a housewife, a nerd, a plump foodie and an average student- dance to your own music, and you WILL turn out to be the happiest you have ever been in your life. I am still very much of a geek. Only now, I am a confident geek!
If you are even a little conscious about the way you look, I’d like to show you the picture of my gorgeous 80 year old grandmother, who for the first time in her life, put away her ‘Saree’ and adorned a Punjabi attire to participate in a Baisakhi themed party. You see that stunning, million-dollar smile? That’s what confidence looks like! Isn’t she beautiful?
So, to all the gorgeous women out there in every shape, size, height and complexion, I’ll just say this-
The world will adjust.