From Sham to Glam
From Sham to Glam
"I am not the way others are", "I don't fit into my peer group", "I still look like a child" and "When will people stop giving me advises?". These were some of the prominent and painful lines mentioned in Maya's personal diary.
Maya at 15, did not look like other students of her batch. She was underweight, bespectacled, thin and lean with bony arms and limbs. She always preferred sitting in one corner near the window of her classroom. Sometimes, children would tell her, "Maya, don't open the window, it's too windy outside, you may afloat". Roars of laughter could be heard in the class. In return, she would just pass a smile. Somewhere or the other, she knew that she was not liked by many of her classmates for "not fitting into their category", but she would always share her happiness, her thoughts and ideas with others.
Things gradually started growing worse for her. They would just wait for any moment to sham her body and demean her. Once a senior boy saw her being called names, came to her rescue. Immediately, there was a gossip which spread like a wild fire. Everyone started talking "Look at her, Maya- the match stick, huh! she has a boyfriend that too a senior. She must have cast a spell on him", added someone standing at the door.
All the girls of her class made her the butt of the joke every now and then. She started feeling traumatised, still tried to keep herself calm.
One day during the games period, where children were engaged in different sports, she sat under a tree with a book engrossed in reading. Suddenly, the teacher came and demanded for a reason for not playing. She explained that she cannot play, because her body doesn't allow her too. However, the teacher didn't agree. He didn't force her to play, but commented, "Aren't you fed well at home? I don't know how your parents are managing with kids like you". This came to her as a blow. Till now she bore all the comments passed by her classmates with a smile, but something coming from a teacher was a shock for her.
She started withdrawing herself from school gatherings. She didn't go to any mates' birthday party, never called anyone at her home etc. The matter grew worse when her
relatives and neighbours began showering her with free advises for gaining weight.
Some of her neighbours gave her parents, the best doctor's name and number, some suggested home remedies, some told to drink extra protein powder and quantity of advises kept on increasing day by day. One of the advises was to take her to the shaman so that she looks fleshy enough.
Her parents were fed up of getting those public attention for her daughter. One day, the mother bursted on Maya, "Only because of you, it has become difficult for me to step out, each person I meet on the street, keeps me asking about your emaciated body. Today, I had to go to kids' section to buy you a new dress for the upcoming family function, it was awful experience for me, because Mrs. Rama saw me there.You are bringing shame to the family. Look at Mr. Anand's eleven year old daughter. How beautiful and healthy she looks. Think of your own uncle's youngest daughter".
These words cut her to the core.
That night, she poured her heart out into her diary and mentioned all the comments that she got in school. Now, to add to her woes, at home also things started haunting her. She had no one around to share her feelings, no one understood her. She was growing anxious day by day. By now, she had confirmed the affirmation that she isn't fit enough to be a part of any social circle.
With constant nagging, body shaming and comparison, she was confined in her own self. She was imprisoned inside her own image consciousness. She was slipping into depression.
No one ever made her realise that she is beautiful they way she looks. Rather, they made her conscious and blamed her. When she attained the age of 18 and was in the threshold of entering a college, she met an old friend, who told her to shun all those people who demotivate her. Let's do something big and show the world who you are. She further added,"Maya, one of my acquaintances is a photographer, let's go to her". This idea seemed very welcoming to Maya. They went to the shopping centre and bought few dresses. Maya was overwhelmed because no one had ever helped her. Finally, they went to the photographer and she clicked Maya's pictures and made it the cover page breaking all the stereotypes. The magazine was titled "From Sham to Glam".
It got published with some of the diary pages taken from Maya's personal diary. This magazine became an overnight sensation and her neighbours who saw her on cover page and read her feelings, felt guilty of nagging her to that extent. They felt so proud of her for getting a huge platform in the magazine. With just a small help, she had proven that she could do a lot. According to many people, she didn't fit as per the norms of the society, but she twisted the so called norms according to her and became a popular face.
Our notion of a growing or a middle aged girl is governed by cover pages of popular magazines, where actresses and models pose themselves for commercial success.
We must adhere to the norms of the society, but in limits. Also, one should understand there is wide gap between reality and expectation.