From “hanging on monkey bars will make you taller” to “economy seats men business seats k mazay” to “qad berhao werna shadi nahin hogi” .. have heard all kinds of weird things growing up as a petite little thing. The most innovative one was when someone remarked (though not directly to me) how weird my view of her would be, meaning being short, I was stuck for life staring and talking to people’s boobs, pelvis, shoulders etc. given my eye level would never be at the taller species’ eye level. Matlab eye contact hello?! Just imagine if it really worked that way then our kids would be talking, for the first 10-16 years of their lives, to don’t know how many different parts of our anatomy!
Anyhow, having heard so many snide remarks about my cute little shortness, some jokingly and some not so jokingly, I can now actually have a good laugh about it. However, if I were to say those comments never affected me would be a lie. Most of the time they really didn’t, thanks to the fact that I was blessed with a sharp mind naturally (nothing I can take credit for) and this made me excel in everything academic plus extracurricular so at school and around my friends I was what you can call an almost popular kid (I hate this word but can’t think of any other way to describe it). But, it was at those aunty gatherings, where the only trait a girl as young as 13 is judged upon is how she looks and if you are, in any way, below the set pedestal of our society (read lambi, gori, dubli but not too dubli etc.) than you are in for a treat! You suddenly have the properties of a magnet that attracts these unwanted comments which, apparently, is also the only way these ladies know of making small talk. It’s really sad and quite concerning as it reflects how morally screwed and discussion-topic devoid these people are and to think it is done in the name of showing love and concern makes it all the more worse. Bhai pyaar araha he to duaen de do!
Luckily I had a family, specially my father, who always told me to ignore the ignorant comments and focus on the stuff that mattered. He often used to joke “Jao Allah se ler jao as only HE can change the genetic makeup or put some sense in those people!” First was not possible and second was even more impossible LOL..there is no way you can explain the logical science of hereditary genetics to these enlightened people because if you try the next thing you know, you (or your mum) might be handed over a homeopaths contact who is famous for having this magic medicine (read powder) that defies all of nature and science and voila! Lambaaaa qad! And yes am not exaggerating, been there seen that!
The key to ward off this negativity is to avoid such people which is practically not possible as in order to do so you have to live like a hermit. Another option is to consciously channel your mind to not give such imprudent remarks any power over you which although not impossible but needs stubborn levels of dheetness! In my case, I often wonder, what if I didn’t have anything to fall back on. There is a possibility I would have been just fine and happy but there is also a possibility that as a child and a teenager, the trickier phases when you have lots of energy but not much reasoning capacity, I might have suffered emotionally. The fact that I put all my heart and mind in setting and achieving my life goals, which were actual goals rather than just aspiring to Shadi (which for me always meant a beautiful and natural relationship a person should have without trying to sell themselves like a bakra at a bakra mandi), definitely worked for me. Did I achieve those goals? Yes, mostly (except becoming some big shot but you can call it work in progress ;)). I went to one of the better schools, college, university, had a ball of a time (concerts, movies, crazy giggly girly sleepovers and what not) with my tribe of friends and cousins, secured a decent corporate IT office job right after graduation (proudly the first female in my family to do so) AND despite my SHORT height even managed to get married to a good enough insaan (hope He reads this) at what is considered “the right age”.
I am not saying all this to sound arrogant but to highlight the fact that I didn’t do anything extraordinary but achieved the ordinary which any female from the same urban middle class Pakistani background would have but the growing up journey could have been so much better without having to deal with that subtle bullying.
Am sure most of you must have heard things along the same lines with a different heading like kala, mota, dubla etc. Don’t you just wish this cycle would stop and that we don’t have to see a repeat telecast of the same script with our kids as the new cast in the same roles. I sincerely hope so!