How do you feel when you get kissed by the first crush of your life and that too after twelve long years???
I am Big. So What by Shuchi Singh Kalra is the story of a not so thin girl, Roli, set in Delhi and Chandigarh.
Is it only in India where people don’t realize that starting a conversation with, “Oh, you’ve put on weight!” is incredibly rude?
Perhaps I should respond with “Oh, you’ve become uglier!” so they get the point.
From stores that do not stock clothes my size to unsolicited advice from neighbourhood aunties, my life—quite annoyingly—is ruled by the numbers on the scale.
What’s the big deal about being big? You may wonder.
Well, quite a lot, actually.
For starters, you get dumped by the only man you’ve ever loved, social situations go from awkward to embarrassing within seconds, and don’t even get me started on the family’s never-ending search for a suitable groom. They just don’t make men my size these days!
Nevertheless, here I am, about to meet Suitor No. 7. Begrudgingly, of course.
Ride along as I navigate the crazy arranged marriage market. And trust me, it’s crazier when you’re more than a little curvy.
Twenty nine year old Roli Kapoor, daughter of an ex-army man, an ex-student of DPS Vasant Kunj, works from home as a freelance graphic designer. Hers is a service based business. She is the arty, dreamy type who loves her cheese, adores desserts, loves baking cupcakes, Bradley cooper, cooking, eating and dressing up. She is pretty but obese. Even as a school girl, she was bullied and humiliated because of her size and that had lowered her self-esteem. Now, over the years, she has come to love herself the way she is. The first thing that people notice about her is her size and often that is all that they noticed. Her nutritionist asks her to cut carbs in her diet, and she has been doing so for three years.
She has a younger sister, who is three years younger and everything their father wants them to be. Monika is her best friend since kindergarten and they have an unwritten BFF code- never to shop alone. Monika is getting married to her school sweetheart, Sanjay, who Roli thinks is a lousy person. To top it all, her boyfriend went absconding on her without an explanation a year ago
Her parents are desperate to get her married but she is not much of an advocate of arranged marriage. They have searched for a suitable groom for her in all the possible ways and she has already rejected six of them, not to mention those who rejected her because she is fat. Their interfering neighbor, Mrs Khurana, Orange aunty, has a match for her, a techie guy. She agrees to meet Suitor number seven, on a blind date, with the thought that this one is her last, if this did not work, nothing would.
So she goes to meet Kabir Wagh, the blind date, an average Joe next door, rather chubby bespectacled face, so regular looking that he almost looked familiar. They part as friends but, on the second date, her past rears an ugly head and she runs away leaving Kabir speechless. Her sister is supportive. She meets Monika and they also fight over something.
She takes up a real-job in a start-up, Cyber Weave, and moves to Chandigarh. Divya, her boss, is more of her friend and coaxes her to join the gym. She is getting used to her life in Chandigarh when suddenly she sees Kabir.
Will she tell him what made her run away? Will they patch up? Will Roli find true love?
The cover fits the title and the story. The plot is simple and has been portrayed in a very simple language. The characters have been developed well, are very true to life and the conversations between them are very realistic. The flow is steady and does not break even when the story moves back and forth. All the characters have an important role to play, be it the main ones or the supporting ones.
The story has been written in first person from Roli’s point of view. Each one of us has one or another flaw and can relate to Roli in one way of another, be it because of our weight, our height, our looks or anything else. The author makes the reader realize that even with all the humiliation, Roli still stands as a confident girl.
The descriptions are funny and I found the six boy-dates very hilarious.
Though the story moves back and forth but the track was not lost.