“I’m not fat anymore but I believe my soul still is.”
Tall, dark, handsome- the perfect recipe for a perfect looking man. Remember drooling over Milind Soman’s topless figure in Alisha Chinoy’s Made in India or those guys in the undergarment ads with Greek god figures? Or for that matter, the Greek gods with their perfect look and figure? Ever seen an overweight superhero? A gay Superman with Pink Chaddis or a not-so- good looking Batman? A model who’s not-so- tall? A black prince? Even our comic heroes have that perfect nose and almond shaped eyes!
And you thought it was just women who are being body shamed? Men undergo body-shaming, too and it’s high time we realise that such issues and shaming are not female exclusive problems! From getting bullied on weight to hair loss and skin colour to being called effeminate for certain behaviour, a large section of men have faced body-shaming at some point in their lives. Varun Grover also couldn’t escape from it!
“I was a fat kid. The stigma and bullying have shaped my personality more than anything else I know. Being fat in school, that too being the only over-weight kid in class, meant I had to be alert all the times. Anybody could come and pinch my butt or stomach, throw a verbal variation of mota, or treat me as incapable of doing simple tasks like playing cricket. Most of my energies went into proving them wrong or pretending that I was not hurt. Nobody wants to make friends with people who get teased easily and break down. Crying is a sign of weakness, especially in our skewed definition of masculinity, and being fat AS WELL AS ‘sissy’ would have been the end of school social life,” writes Varun in a post on the Facebook page, Individuality.
Varun, who loved watching and playing cricket never got selected in the team because of his weight! “My fatness was a liability nobody was willing to carry. Even if selected in the team (the last to be picked), I’d not get a chance to bat or bowl. So I’d put all my efforts into fielding well. I’d kill myself to get that throw from the boundary right,” added Varun int he same post.
And just to show that he was cool with this treatment, Varun offered to play the umpire. “That way, I’d get to be on the field at least, get to hold the ball at the end of every over (just for a few seconds before I toss it to the next bowler) and be treated with respect by both the teams. I’d apply myself to the task and be the most unbiased, observant umpire. Sometimes, I’d get to play a few balls or bowl an over – and I believe that became possible only because of the bridges I made as an umpire.”
However, this bullying and body shaming has already marred Varun’s way of looking at life as somewhere he’s still the same shy kid who’s scared of losing friends.
“Since then, I feel I have been the same kid always. Slightly afraid of losing friends, unbiased, and observant just to make myself likeable and ‘useful’ in some way.”
And I guess, nobody deserves this!