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.
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I am participating in the WeBlog's Sleepy Sunday contest! You may read other participating posts http://www.weblognow.co.cc/2010/07/weblog-sleepy-sunday-contest-i.html">HERE