(Painitng courtesy - To the artist)
She was little.
Babies must be chubby they said.
She was given bottles. When her tummy felt full.
It was relentless.
She had a gag reflex.
Her grandma would feed her right after she vomits.
The parents would compete.
The kitchen was her mom’s weapon of choice.
Food was the control.
Food was addictive.
Mom would make it. Hot, just the right level of spice, and delicious.
It felt like mom’s love.
She could never get enough of it.
And then she was married off.
She would go to restaurants with her husband and children.
They would order whatever they wanted.
She would wait. For the leftovers.
Saving money, saving the world from food waste.
Eating soggy pizzas with cheeses bitten off.
Being asked to finish up the last bits of rice as she is cleaning up in the night.
God will punish those who waste rice.
She dissociates from her stomach.
Feeling fullness is scary - she would have to stop otherwise.
Feeling hunger is rather inconvenient.
Women cannot have needs.
And incur the wrath of the Gods or the society.
Her gait changes, her girth changes.
She puffs and pants. Breathing feels heavy.
Patriarchy and victimhood sit all around her belly.
Or maybe it saves her from the lecherous male gaze.
Maybe then she is not her mother’s competitor.
She gets judged for slowing down.
For looking portly. Rotund.
Her partner makes her the butt of his jokes.
She dissociates further.
Her kids take her to the doctor.
Her slowing down is rather inconvenient.
The doctor shames her.
Asks her to stop eating rice. And lose weight.
She “goes on diet”.
With no idea what hunger feels like, or satiety.
And then she dies.
Leaving behind a legacy of children and grandchildren.
Who looks forward to the sumptuous spread, especially the fried root vegetables,
every year on her death anniversary celebrations.