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Image and Identity
Shrawani Mukherjee
My mother tells me that I broke my new pram soon after they bought it. My parents used to take turns carrying me from one lamp post...
When people see me, they immediately dismiss me as being overweight. I distinctly remember an incident in school when I wanted to take part in the 400 meters relay race. The team judging me by my size, laughed and even asked, "How can this fatso run?" I was kept as  back up. As luck  would have it, the fourth runner sprained her ankle and I had to run in her place. I was the first to cross the finishing line.
As a child I cried when I couldn't fit into a dress made for my age group. At seven years of age, I was wearing XXL clothes. People around me were not helping either. They kept reminding me that I was too fat. Soon the words healthy and chubby were replaced by overweight and fat.  My aunt made it a point to remind me of my size every day: I couldn't have an extra helping of butter; I was forbidden an extra scoop of ice-cream. I was becoming an embarrassment to my family.
At school too,  I wanted to be accepted by the popular group where all the girls were considered smart, fashionable and had all the boys hovering over them. Of course being popular meant that I needed to know the latest fashion trends, and have weekend slumber parties to gossip about clothes, make up and boys.  That didn't quite fit with what I was interested in.
I found other ways of being comfortable with my image. I remember noticing how clowns in the circus laughed, cried, made faces and everyone always laughed at their antics. Like those clowns, I begun making fun of myself in front of others before they could make fun of me.
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