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She could understand that I suffered from an inferiority complex which arose from the conflict between the desire to be noticed and the fear of being humiliated.
While all girls meandering in the age bracket of 16-19 years have “many fascinations” coming their way, when they splurge maximum time of their day gazing in the mirror. Most of them get enthralled with their beauty and their features which gradually change when they are on the path towards adulthood and can see all those beautiful curves and beautiful features blossoming in their bodies and pretty faces. However, I was a tad bit different.
The Hormonal Locha (literally)
I have always been a cute chubby girl as a child but when my time came of turning into a young girl who also wanted to take pleasure in typical experiences of admiring self in the mirror, to indulge in dreaming about the Prince Charming who would madly fall for me and for my striking beautiful features, I was bombarded with a hormonal disturbance.
I know that many changes occur in a person due to fluctuations of the hormones but for me, it was not sheer fluctuation, it was a disturbance because it not only affected my body but it affected me emotionally too. My cute chubby girl looks were getting transformed with a plump body. Though I was not at all ugly, I was not like all other girls around me especially my tall, lean sisters. The best friends of my age also were growing into beautiful ladies but I always looked different… an odd one out.
This was a little unacceptable for me to look different and in my language, it was horrible. Slowly over a period of time I not only was suffering by deploring about self, but I was also losing my confidence. I was not socialising with people. I started fearing to go to college since I was nurturing a strong feeling that I would be a source of laughter for the students in my college because of my looks and my body. Gosh!! That was being too brutal with myself but that’s the way my journey was during that period of my life which is supposed to be the most colourful and exciting phase in any body’s life.
My elder sister Reetu who is only 2.5 years elder to me had just stepped in her twenties. I never knew that in spite of the fact that she herself had also crossed her teenage and must have definitely gone through her share of difficulties, she had started noticing my body language and my behaviour pattern.
Elder sisters are a blessing!
It took her almost a year to understand that her younger sister (which was me) has become a loner and has been walking towards losing her self-worth. She could understand that I suffered from an inferiority complex which arose from the conflict between the desire to be noticed and the fear of being humiliated.
She used to frown at me whenever she noticed a self criticising remark coming from me. To have an affirmation, initially, she just kept registering and recording my comments about myself, my isolated behaviour of and avoidance of meeting people.
I was like, “Nobody in the world understands me as to what’s going inside me” but I was unaware that someone was looking deep inside me and was eagerly waiting to give a helping hand and pulling me up to my normal confident state. I wasted almost all 3 years of my graduation in that grumpy state. Those years are the most precious years in anyone’s life which got wasted because of my own complexes.
I am sure more than me, Reetu was struggling hard to understand what can help me to make me a confident self-loving person. Reetu was not mature enough to deal with this situation but her intentions made her my anchor. She started talking to me openly about everything and in some of the other way she would talk about what would I like to look like, what would I like to do and so on….anything and everything revolving around me. She ensured that she is there whenever I need her. I wasn’t sure if I needed her because my world was a different world and somewhere I was making it a comfortable place by being with myself and cutting the entire world who would just laugh at me for how I look. But Reetu knew that this would take her little sister to a darker world which she never wanted to happen.
Acceptance is the key!
With time and so many efforts, I was able to open myself to her. I wanted acceptance from the world. Reetu kept on reiterating to me that acceptance is something which one gives to oneself first before seeking it from the world. It was hard to understand but slowly I could understand the depth of what she used to tell me. She talked to me so much in that period that this philosophy got engrossed in my mind slowly and steadily. She also pushed me to take medical help which further helped me getting my real shape which was acceptable to me (though it took long for me to understand that as well).
Life gives so many upheavals to test you whether we are in a state of truly believing such philosophies or not and so I too faced so many different experiences which always pulled me back to the same dull state and I had to check and recheck every time what Reetu had told me and I would successfully bounce back every time.
I sometimes think that I was lucky to be noticed by somebody (luckily by my own sister) that I was in trouble because confidence is one thing which is a person loses, can lose his/ her identity. There are so many people in the world who go through even more troubled phases in life and they are not so fortunate to have some help from anyone around. The lines from Victorian Christina Rossetti from her famous poem “Goblin Market” stands so true for me as well.
‘For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather/;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray
To lift one if one totters down
To strengthen whilst one stands.”
She fetched my confidence back in the stormy weather of low self-esteem and I will never forget the beautiful gift she has given me in this life.
Today Reetu is a successful coach but luckily I was her guinea pig when she herself didn’t know that she has that knack of helping people psychologically.
The image is a still from the movie Saathiya
Ruchi is a new person who has dared to break all walls of monotony in life, a dreamer, a learner and likes to derive inspiration in all situations she is into.
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She would serve everyone fresh food and serve herself the stale rice and curries from the previous meal. Some days after finishing the leftovers she was so full she would not even be able to even taste the fresh food.
When I married the first time, my MIL told me that during the Navratri the lady of the house should not eat stale food. ‘Gharatlya bai ni shila khau naye’ — in refined upper caste Marathi.
I was just 26, eager to please, not versed in patriarchy or feminism, and it seemed like a positive thing — respect for the goddess in woman.
But soon I realised she spent the remaining 356 days of her year finishing leftovers. And that I was expected to do the same.
Story - Beauty: Shreya wondered, ‘Are they talking about me?’ ‘But what is the use of inner beauty if the exterior is unattractive?’ Ravi asked. Her heart skipped a beat, and now she listened with the utmost alacrity.
‘Beauty is skin deep, Ravi. In the long run, it’s the inner beauty that matters. I know Shreya is smart and I find her attractive.’ It was Chetan’s voice.
Shreya had paused for a moment on the open door of Ravi’s flat when she overheard him. It was the morning of 27th March, and she had come to give Ravi his surprise birthday present. She didn’t want to eavesdrop, but the conversation had caught her curiosity.
She wondered, ‘Are they talking about me?’