Delicious Desi Aunties
I will never have a washboard-flat stomach no matter how many sit-ups I do. And these hips are here to stay. I can't help it, I'm Punjabi.
I recently saw a photo of Demi Moore at 43 and a TV advert for some torturous exercise contraption featuring a 50-year old woman (or "grandmother" as they kept calling her). They both had skinny, rock-hard bodies and ageless faces as they strutted in their scanties. It made me droop with exhaustion thinking of the standards they represented as normal for the average woman and desirable to the average man. When is it going to be okay for a girl to become a woman who fills out and ages anyway?
Remember film legends Sridevi & Babra Sharif who enticed us to follow them over the green hills of Bollywood and Lollywood screens? They wore clothes that enhanced and hugged their womanly figures and millions adored their voluptuous beauty.
It used to be that South Asian girls had busts and hips, and, in fact, lived in the hopes of developing them. They filled out a sari or shalvar kameez properly. They saw Moghul miniatures, temple carvings, homegrown actresses and models, and heck, the Aunties all around them and knew that a buxom beauty lay within their reach. Nay, it was their genetic destiny.
But that was before the Murdochization of South Asia and the accompanying pre-adolescent body ideal invasion.
Although certainly not as bad as the Kate Moss rage in the West, desi women from the silver screen on down are feeling the pinch as they try to squeeze themselves into smaller and smaller sizes. Bony socialites and models are in, tall slim beauty queens compete for international titles (the only difference between them being skin color and even then none are too dark), actresses retire just so that they can finally eat, and everyone is perpetually on a diet or exercise machine - most often simultaneously. And to have a bust now is simply passé.
It wasn't so long ago that a little extra weight delighted everyone and was termed "healthy." Oh, Pinkie? Yes, I saw her yesterday. She's become so healthy, na! Give me the old days when a woman dug into her parathas with relish. When Lollywood Punjabi film heroine Anjuman frolicked like a baby elephant around mustachioed, bloodshot-eyed, & equally-large Sultan Rahi. When a girl relaxed into fertile belly posture immediately after marriage out of sheer relief to have got all that over with.
Remember delicious desi aunties? The ones that elbowed you out of the way as they attacked wedding buffet tables with zeal? You can see them on the video afterwards, setting their plates on their stomachs (which double as tables) & throwing gnawed bones over their shoulders with abandon and little concern for the cameras. They revel in maintaining their deliciousness and have the deep satisfaction of offering that much more of themselves to the world to love.
Delicious desi aunties still exist everywhere in spite of skinny desi "blondes." And I'll tell you a little secret: they exist inside of you. You can huff and puff on those machines and deny yourself the dosa but somewhere along the way you too will embrace and celebrate your genetic destiny - just like Sridevi and Babra did.
Now, pass me that chicken tikka - and hold the salad!
Delicious Desi Aunties
- » Published on January 28, 2006
- » Type: Opinion
- » Filed under: