Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Long And Short Of It

A few days back, I came across this article in a newspaper “Can being small in stature drive ambition?” According to it, vertically challenged celebrities suffer from the Tinker Bell complex. Tinker Bell who? She of the Peter Pan fame, who needs you to believe in her for her to exist. Pretty much like Lady Gaga, who lies down after each performance with a “You know how Tinker Bell will die if you don’t clap for her? Do you want me to die? Scream for me! I can’t live without you, I need you to scream louder”. Scary!

Scarier for me because at 5’1”, I am far from tall and then a random research goes on to suggest I most likely suffer from a complex with a fancy name. It makes me feel slightly better to know that I have illustrious company – Dolly Parton, Kylie Minogue, Shakira, Cheryl Cole to name a few and our home grown Rani Mukherjee (if only she hadn’t acted like a lunatic on steroids in “Black”, I would have liked her more). The correspondent further goes on to write that “petite women have been petted and patronised since childhood and emerge as undersized adults with an overwhelming need to prove themselves in a grown up world”.

I felt rather offended thinking that my drive, the fire I have within me to achieve, has very little to do with me and everything to do with my lack of inches. Of course, the term petted-with is something I am quite familiar with. As a girl growing up, I had to constantly put up with “so cute” more often than I would have liked. I would seethe inwardly while heroically attempting a plastic smile.

My Mom was driven too and she is far from petite. To make me add inches, she would wake me up early in the morning and expect me to hang by my arms from the collapsible gate frame. Do you honestly expect a groggy eyed teen to resort to simian tactics for the sake of a few measly extra inches! Well my Mom did and I didn’t comply. I would promptly go back to sleep, the moment she disappeared from sight. Not the type to give up too easily, she then enrolled me for swimming classes. I managed to nearly drown and spent the rest of the session dawdling in the pool, listening in fascination to the “hot Didis” lamenting about their voluptuous frames.

In the school play, I was invariably cast as the naughty kid. Always made to stand in the front in the assembly, in the class – I used to hate it. Only while singing it was an advantage, with me in the front row, in the vicinity of the mike (think me being a reasonably good singer also helped). As a senior I always looked like a junior. The fact is I have never looked my age and it’s only in the last decade that I have started taking it as a compliment.

When I started my career as a teacher in a senior school, my first day in a class was always a nightmare. The kids would treat me as one of them and no amount of entreaties, cajoling, glaring and even screaming would help. It didn’t quite help that most of my students would tower over me. I had to work doubly hard to earn their love and respect and it helped that I could make my class erupt in laughter while unravelling the intricacies of Boolean algebra.

Now, as a Mom to a teenager daughter, things haven’t changed much. Ok, granted nobody calls me cute anymore. But my daughter still thinks I look adorable every time I try to be strict with her. At our last school reunion one of my batch mates greeted me with the almost forgotten “you still look so cute”. I narrowed my eyes, gritted my teeth and put on an evil bahu expression. I swear I saw his wine glass tremble.

PS: Buoyed by her success, Purba is now furiously auditioning for scheming saas/bahu/sis-in-law roles. Unfortunately, she had to let go of her serial-killer dreams. The casting director apparently thought she looked too cute. He was last spotted nursing a black eye.

Hey, if you liked the story Digg it please?

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I am participating in the WeBlog's Sleepy Sunday contest! You may read other participating posts">HERE


  1. A smooth read, Mrs. Roy!

    Enjoyed it thoroughly.. specially the "P.S," part :D.. full marks on that!

  2. True, small size lady always look cute. They are in fact cute !!!
    Have a nice day....

  3. That was hilarious! Tell me about it though. "As a senior I looked like a junior" Too familiar words. I have walked the same path and still do to an extent. And sigh, I have to put up with that patronizing attitude even now! :(

  4. It's Mrs Ray, Gopal. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Dess..Now that makes me feel so much better!!!!!!

    Shail..Sock it them, I say. Loved your post :))

  5. Oh, I am extremely sorry for such a blunder.. Please, I hope you forgive me this time!

  6. Lovely post! Liked the way you have narrated everything by remaining focused on the issue ,i.e., 'SIZE':)

  7. Claps! Claps! Claps for you Purba!! Loved reading this!! And the humour...simply too good!! :)
    Cheers :)

  8. Whoa !! I was of the conception that size 'really' matters...
    That was very interesting once again, from Mrs Ray :P

  9. I also feel that girls look very cute if they are not tall.Dont be concious.

  10. That was hilarious. But, I don't thing 5.1 is too short. You should be thanking God that you aren't less than 5.
    And I'm glad now that I'm neither very tall nor short.

  11. Hi ma'am!
    Dunno if you remember me.
    Just stumbled upon your blog. Awesome read :)

  12. haha...lovely post ! u hv a gr8 style of writing...all te best...keep up te good work !

  13. Awesome write up, expressed in a cute way.. Yes ofcoarse slim girls look cute.. I enjoyed reading it..

    I wish you a good luck for WeBlog Sleepy Sunday Contest - I

    Saravana Kumar - Last Wish

    Yours Frendly,
    Saravana Kumar M

  14. magicye...To some idiots it does.

    Jaspreet... Thanks a ton!

    Shilpa...Bows and tries hard not to look cute ;)

    Mrs Ray thanks Apoyando

  15. cute is better than you have lost weight!

  16. Saurabh from BIS and you have your own blog? Wow, i have to read what you have to say to the world :))

    abhishek :))

    "just a pen in my hand"...Glad you liked it

  17. Saravana...Thank you and best of luck to you as well

    Nalini... That's why I make sure I don't put on weight :))

  18. BK Chowla...Never was, never will be.

    Nethra..Actually Nethra I care a damn about it.

  19. So simple yet so hilarious!! gr8 going :)

    Do read how a drug dealer teaches a game of chess to another drug dealer:

  20. Another good one Mrs. Roy!
    Forgive me, but I'd like to make a judgement about you based on all your posts I've read.

    I'm sure you must be the kind of person with the very naughty sense of humor who says the most 'Howlarious' things with a very straight face! Am I right?!

    Really very fresh and different. Great style!
    Keep writing :)

  21. CB..Read it and commented

    Avi..Oh dear, the Mrs Ray has really caught on.

    Yes, I do love making people laugh, hopefully for all the right reasons.

  22. Loved your post..It was hilarious.especially dawdling in the pool part, had a bit of experience there.

  23. may be calling it Napoleon Complex make u feel better.

  24. hey Purba , thanx for te lovely comment to my post! all te best to u !

  25. cute and humurous...
    Men r always fascinated of the short ones...

    But u could have tried high heels atleast when u were a teacher

  26. Perception...dawdling is an art.

    Tanu ..:))

    Nishu....actually Tinker Bell sounds better. Am aware of the Napolean Complex :)

    Jon.. As a teacher you are expected to go up and down the stairs and occasionally to the playground, to drag an errant student from there. High heels is a very-very bad idea.

  27. I started shaving before I could grow a beard just to stop looking cute. Fellow hostlers harassed me night and day calling "Chikna". And would never let me stand in the last row for the class photograph.
    If it's of any consolation to you, a guy's life is much harder if they are short. Almost never got proposed from the girls of my age.
    To top it all, in class XIth, a girl of VIth standard fell for me. It was frustrating fending off her advances while fellow chaps teased me with her surname.
    You are lucky Di... very lucky for not being taller than you are. BTW, I always dig a girl who is shorter than me :-)

  28. Its okay, short and cute people can get away with anything :)

  29. ROFL..that was really interesting,nee,interestingly funny,Purba.:)I look at short people in a new light,after reading this post..:)But then,as they say,it's finally not the exterior,but,what's within you that matters..right?and,of course,I know many people who use their lack of inches in height, to the fullest buying a half ticket in a bus..hehheh..(err,did u ever try that?):)

  30. Lol...that was funny..i could almost imagine you seething with anger everytime anyone called you cute!

    Well written!

  31. Gosh I have been through some of this :)

    My six feet tall dad got me books on Yoga and was sure I'd be taller if I finished my milk :) Somehow (maybe they made sure it didn't) it never really bothered me at all.

    Lovely hilarious write up :) I am with your mom though - I made sure my kids swam, hung, played, drank soya milk and ate well and I have been taking the credit for their heights too! :)

  32. They say ... " all good things in life come in small packages though you are not a thing but an animate "cutie" !! I am short too and I think my chances of getting any taller are very "small" !! Loved the post Purba. Your writing makes the reader want more ... out of each post and the next one. Good Luck !! Break a leg !!

  33. Harsh...Ouch, that hurts. But you must have grown out of it. After all who cares a damn about a bunch of nincompoops :)

    Ana-treek... Now you're telling me!

    AmitL..Never too late for anything.

  34. Ketan...:D

    IHM... Ironically most of us are more driven as Moms. As kids we are more complacent. Now, when I see my daughter turn procrastination into an art, I seethe and bubble just like my Mom.

    And glad you liked it. Btw your site is an education.

    LEB...I did, this weekend and now nursing a sprained foot :(

  35. we tallies have problems of our own too.... gives me an idea for a new post..

    thanks :)

  36. 5 ft ppl have their advantages too, if you know cricket, you would know about Sachin and Lara who used their medium height to good effect...

    post-script was hilarious..

  37. Would love to read your version, Rishi.

    Sundeep...Am sure we do...thanks for letting me know.

  38. At 4 feet 11 & 1/2 inches - and an ex-teacher of 18 year old boys - I think, I'm qualified to comment on your post ;)
    Loved it...and your blog too - blogrolling you, Purba.

  39. Long tales:

    hope u like it... :)

  40. Thank you Corinn, btw tried commenting on your "gratitude" post but couldn't.

    Rishi...Read and commented :))

  41. na... the comment was welcomed... my post didn't make sense to me too... but i try.. sigh Sigh...

    I'll keep trying... may be sometime later I'll write something good

  42. I instantly thought of my mother, my mother-in-law - both of whom are really short. A couple of friends as well.

    You write really well and have a way with words.

    All the best for the contest!


  43. Rishi...Just don't get all serious about it :))

    Hiya..Hey, thanks :))

  44. My wife in only five feet tall, but she hasn't talked so much about the "Tinker Bell" complex. For men, this is often referred to as the "Napoleon Complex." It's just one more example of the many ways that people are judged by appearances. Great story.

  45. I didn't either, till I read this report in the newspaper.

    Thank you, glad you liked it :)

  46. Like your post and your sense of humor

  47. Hi Purba,
    Well, how should I describe your beautifully written post...?
    I guess that's the apt word...
    Keep Writing such wonderfully uplifting pieces.

  48. Mucho thanks Ritu and Vikram :))

  49. Love your sense of humor - keep it up!!

    Do check out my post here. I promise it’ll be funny :)

  50. Oh Purba..I so so relate to this and so 5"...I agree with every bit U say..I hated always standing in the front rows..& being stuck with the jokes of how cute the chotu looks while I was cringing..thanks for a lovely post could so relate to it :)

  51. The post was good ...

    But that last part was Howlarious ....

  52. have heard, 'the best things come in small packages'.The flip side of the story is.. My pint sized boss clings on like an unwanted second opinion :) Good going Purba, was a good read.

  53. True, small size lady always look cute. But Nature is very Important.

  54. I do get your point, but I found it funny! In fact, I was imagining trying to imagine you trying to increase your height by hanging! :D

    Have a heart! Napoleon Bonaparte, Chhatrapati Shivaji and Adolf Hitler were just an inch taller than you and they changed the history!

    Loved the post!


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