Chalo, so I’m a little overweight. Only by Mumbai standards, okay. In Punjab they say admiringly, “Eh...hatta-katta banda hai.” In Gujarat, they ask pityingly, “Su Rahulbhai, tamme ghee nathin khatha? Kem, diet par cho?” In Goa, “Bugger Rahul men, you’ve filled out, huh...what hitting the gym or what?” But Mumbai is different. We are an intensely weight conscious, size-zero city.
So a blue whale in a suit can waddle upto me and croak, “So how are things, dude, you’ve put on some weight, what’s happened?” And you want to retort, “I’ve put on weight? Do you even own a mirror? You should be put back in the sea, that’s how obese you are.” Instead you look at his quadrupled chin and say kindly, “Uhm, Kulbhushan, you look, uhm, prosperous? How’s Khushboo?” Budding Bollywood starlets are asked, “So how do you prepare for a role?” And they answer, “You see for my role in Rani Jhansi, my breakfast comprises oatmeal with dhaniya, dates and dahi, which my mummy makes. I follow A+blood type diet like my co star Akshayji.”
And the newspapers filled with large close-ups of walnuts, with headlines that scream, ‘GO NUTS THIS YEAR’. And those before and after ads that I’m convinced are never of the same person. Man, I’m so done with all this food advice? What’s good, what to avoid, what to eat in the summer, what is an indulgence. And then the damn worldwide nutrition research that changes at the same rate as Navjot Singh Sidhu lets fly his meaningless proverbs.
Carbohydrates at night. No carbs at night. No sweet after 4 pm. (Not even fruit, gets stored as fat). Almonds are recommended. Almonds are fatty foods.
Egg yolks have cholesterol, only egg whites. Egg yolks are ok. Only brown rice. Okay, white rice in moderation. White bread is bad. Cornflower oil is in. Sunflower oil is in. Olive oil, great for the heart… Arre but you can’t fry pakodas and bhajiyas in olive oil, yaar ! Wheat is bad. Bran is good. Green salads are in. Green salads are out. Vegetable juice in the morning — sugarcane, carrot and watermelon. To add taste, put some beetroot. You’re kidding right, add beetroot, for taste…where in jail?
And then there’s the whole vitamins angle. Take Vitamin B12 complex— it reduces depression, while it restores your nails — yeah great, so I can pop two tablets and say goodbye to both my psychiatrist and my pedicurist. With all the money saved, I can fly down to Jindal farms, eat cucumber for a week, drink only fresh nimbu-pani, lose 10 kilos and return to Mumbai and put back the 10, plus two. Yeah, I’m done trying to lose weight. I’m moving to Punjab. At least there, I’ll be ‘changa’!!
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.