Before and After Pictures

Dang it!!

Between Mindy Kaling and Brooke Birmingham, they really ruined it for me. I was working towards this grand finale, when I would announce to y’all “Look at ME, I am a Size Right”. I wanted to lose the last two vanity pounds, reach my goal, and then post the before and after pictures. Alas, looks like I left it too late.

All those discussions around Shape magazine’s refusal to publish Brooke’s photograph without airbrushing, despite her remarkable success story, (She lost 170 pounds, in case you’re wondering) led the media pundits to discover ( Eureka!) that women should be proud of their body image regardless of shape and size. And suddenly, almost overnight, “before and after pictures” became politically incorrect. “Who’s the Biggest Loser” was declared a poor way to motivate weight loss. The super talented Mindy, in her inimitable style revealed that she is a perfectly normal size 8, and called out journalists for giving her backhanded compliments about “being successful despite her size”. Even Monica Lewinsky jumped in to fight fat shaming. Yeah, the last two months were not good for the weight loss industry, and their slightly frightening advertisements featuring Barbie look-alikes. Continue reading Before and After Pictures


In My Mother’s Hometown

My earliest memory of my mother’s hometown is of waiting.

Braving the heat of the noon, my brother, sister and I would wait impatiently at the gate for our grandfather to bring us the “pal-payasam” that gave the town its fame – straight from the cauldron, right after it was offered at the temple, before tourists clamored for their share. The payasam was a rich chocolate brown in those days, not rose tinted as it is now, perhaps because of the slow cooking wood fire and the unpasteurized milk from the grass-fed cows that roamed freely. We would squabble for extra helpings, making grandfather laugh… he knew that it was too heady for us to drink in large quantities. And sure enough, soon after a heavy lunch, and the payasam, we would all sink into exhausted sleep. Nothing much happened in the afternoons anyway, except the elderly folk chewing betel nut.

Continue reading In My Mother’s Hometown

Work-Life Balance

The digital signboard  at the strip mall showed  Saturday, 8.00 PM. The camera panned to a young man who had his  laptop propped open on the  hood of his parked car, and  was reading out from the screen  into his cell phone. There were a few bags of grocery strewn around him and a toddler balanced on his shoulder. Continue reading Work-Life Balance