Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Poor? Then, you're healthier than me...

Near our apartment, there's a sprawling slum. Filled with louts, loungeabouts, and of course, lithe women. Oh I forgot, there're lots and lots of little children too, always running about.

The women, especially the younger ones, are quite beautiful. But become careworn quite quickly. Yet, they are never, ever fat. Not even when they're pregnant (which is quite often, let me tell you).

When big C and I were trying desperately for a baby, I was sickened by the irony of it all. Here we were, seemingly gifted couple, earning well, own flat, own car, good food, and all that. And just not able to conceive. And there they were--beaten black and blue by their men, with god-knows-what to eat, but yet, but yet, pregnant with such ease!

Of course I didn't known then that my body was/is differently-shaped inside. Or that we'd eventually have our own little miracle.

But my original soul-searching was about why they were healthier than me. Why I had wonky periods, why I developed poly cystic ovaries. Then it dawned on me. I used to eat out every day. I ate pastries, sweets, pizzas, burgers, ice creams, "fresh" fruit juices and yes, oh-so-healthy salads draped in mayonnaise.

These women-of-the-slums though, they only eat what they cook. Which is basic gruel, some vegetables, mostly rice, maybe some chapathis and rarely, if at all, some chicken or meat. So their bodies don't receive any chemical additives or preservatives or unhealthy fats. So they stay healthy. And slim.

Actually, I don't known why I am going through a Eureka moment at all. I was like them, once. When I first came to Bangalore and shared a place with two other girls at Rs 500 a piece, I invariably dined on plain white bread, milk and bananas. Which is all I could afford on Rs 4,000 a month. I never put on weight then.

Over the years, my pay packet and food options increased. I now realise I earned my way up--in rupees and inches.