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A ‘Kaddu’ in Hindi means a pumpkin, ‘motu’ is a pet name often given to friends who are a little on the heavier side. Abha Mondhe, an editor at the Deutsche Welle, describes her distress, anger and her challenges on the road to reconciliation with her perceived weight problems.

Kaddu , motu  were the names I was given by my friends.  It was, of course, their love that made them think that they could call me by whichever names they liked. I never stopped them because I didn’t want to hurt them.  Whenever I think about these adjectives given to me, I think about why people call me so, because I never called them ‘thin-ny’ (like fat-ty) or ‘Chhotu’ (tiny), because they were or are thin or small.

With my age, my discontent and frustration with myself also grew. My first love didn’t want to be with me because I was not of a ‘normal’ size.  Naturally he never said that, but his actions were very clear. The whole market was and still is full of clothes made for thin and ‘beautiful’ girls. The bigger sizes were like shapeless gunny sacks.

I have been a very successful  table tennis player and a dancer, but wherever I went, people taunted me.  My frustration grew so much that instead of going to the doctor and finding out the reason, I started doing crash diets and using machines which could “melt and suck the fat”.

It gave me some relief for some years, but when I got married, the “fat devil” started taunting me again. This time, my lower abdomen  was totally out of shape because of those machines.  Fortunately, by then I was in Germany where no one is seen as fat or thin but as a human being.

Still, my fight with being overweight was going on.  I stopped dancing because I thought people wouldn’t like me. It happened when I was performing a Kathak dance at the university in Hamburg and someone commented on me being oversized. It made me so depressed that I stopped performing and when I did, I did it with great hesitation.

It was last year’s performance at Wuppertal which brought back my confidence.  I am still overweight but successful as a dancer. Now I know the cause of my obesity and I have stopped fighting with myself. The only thing I learned in my time of irritation and frustration was, let people think what they want to, you need to be happy and be healthy and full of confidence.  I now stop my friends whenever they call me Kaddu or Motu.

Abha Mondhe

Abha Mondhe is an editor at the DW-Hindi service.


17.08.2012 | 14:54