Mamma-why is your bum so big?

I gasped. I gulped. I took a deep breath and pretended I hadn’t heard my little daughter’s question.
“Yeah mamma-why is your bum so big? I mean the rest of you is normal and all, thin and all. But mamma! Your bum! It’s like a car!

See for years i have struggled with my body image. Tried every diet, -the general motors diet, Atkins diet, Pineapple diet, Beverly hills diet, fit for life diet, peanut diet, hay diet. side to side diet-this one ah! The side to side diet was particularly effective for a while actually. Had been recommended to me by a friend-she said every time anyone offers you food or puts it temptingly in front of you, just turn your head from left to right three times(repeat action several times if required, till desired results are achieved) If all that head shaking still doesn’t work try saying the word NO aloud-scream it loudly if you have to -this my friend is the side to side diet.
It worked miraculously till I fell prey to temptation again. Damn! Gluttony is, like they say, one of the seven deadly sins…

Had punishing workouts, binged purged, binged again vomited-actually the vomiting was only once. The time I had two twelve inch pizzas and was so sick i thought my stomach would rip open if I didn’t let the contents out. So I did what i had read Princess Diana did to keep herself so slim-i stuck my finger into my throat repeatedly till my throat felt like lumpy sand paper. Did it again and again -& then faint with the effort crawled into my bed. Called up my sister in law who is a doctor as soon as the dizziness subsided & cried that i tried to puke my pizza out & why was it so difficult? “for Gods sake”-she yelled. “That’s a psychiatric condition darling-please don’t try it again”
Afraid of being labeled a psycho I never did. & the kilos kept piling on. Damn!

I looked at myself in the mirror year after year & saw-fat! fat! fat! This even during the days I made a lot of money as a model smiling into camera and walking into the sunset in high speed. If anyone complimented me on how great I looked I thought they were being kind or they were lying-or they simply wanted to get me into bed “dont beleive what the boys tell you -they only say it because they want sex!” Its what had been drilled into me… or had it? if it hadn’t been drilled into me where was it coming from?

Anyway the point of all this is, after my daughter was born & from the time she learnt to understand things I have made a very conscious effort to not dump my dubious hysterical body image doubts on her. Tried to instill good eating habits to the best of my ability. I assure her again and again that she is perfect-the way God meant her to be and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. Try to make her understand that her heart and her mind and her thoughts and her loving nature are the most precious gifts she has, and what she will ultimately share with the world as she grows and tries to find her way. I no longer diet either -& my body weight has miraculously stabilized. I work out  only because it makes me feel great.

But still, she and her peer group are obsessed with weight and the way they look. Everyone is either too thin or too fat. I have her friends come home and say they wont eat cake because they will get fat. They watch prepubescent girls gyrating on TV and decide what to wear or not. Try to avoid having a glass of milk if they want to go out and play in that belly button showing frock. They are all under ten years of age for Gods sake! Am I to blame for this? That’s what all the mothers I know of little girls are asking themselves….we discuss it often… and have no answers. Will we ever be able to rise above our bodies?

I forced myself to attention as my daughter repeated the question “mamma-why is your bum so big? Really mamma -it’s like a car”

I led her by the hand & took her to stand in front of the mirror and told her gently but firmly
“I don’t think my bum is too big-certainly not like a car! It’s not the same shape and size like the other mamma’s bums you see. Or the ones you see on TV or in the magazines. But it’s my bum and it’s perfect for me-the way God meant it to be. And I am very happy with it ”

My daughter looked surprised, but then immediately rushed out of the house to tell her friends next door the great news. That her mamma’s bum is not too big and that it’s okay the way it is, and so they should stop saying that. I could hear them chatter excitedly in the corridor outside. Soon they had formed a little group and were engaged in an animated excited discussion. I couldn’t hear all of it but just as I thought it was all settled and was feeling pleased as punch that I had finally learnt to appreciate what I had-big bum and all- I heard my daughters friend say to her
” Kaveri never mind about your mamma. She’s all right. But I think Rhea’s mamma-Tanya auntie’s bum is too big. But we won’t tell her that okay. She’ll feel bad -na? So promise okay?-this time we’ll keep it a secret”

20 thoughts on “Mamma-why is your bum so big?”

  1. I don’t normally leave replies to articles that I read on the web. I enjoyed yours so much I just had to reply!

  2. Suchitra ur write up is interesting and amusing!
    The female body is avisual delight.In fact it is
    the bum that give it the charm.A bumless female
    is no better yhan a hermophradite!The celebrated
    Kalidasa in his Indumati Swayamvara describes
    the princess as a deepasikha and a nidambagurvi,
    a moving flame and pot bottomed damsel!
    kaveri when she grows up will realise it herself.
    pay no attention to her remarks now!

  3. Wow I loved your response. Also liked your honesty in writing about your past body image issues. It takes a lot of courage to come out and say that you had issues. And kudos for having surmounted them.

  4. Dear Suchitra,

    When I say this, I mean it from the depth of my heart…

    I have been following your journey from the days when you used to be every ‘nice boy’s dream girl-next-door’, including mine (I am in my early 30s). And then you made your choices and were courages enough to live with the consequences they brought; and that too with immense dignity and effortless genuineness…truly a story of a ‘woman of substance’…

    I have always believed that the ‘greatest privilege in life is to grow up without growing cynical’. Thanks for reminding me of the fact that this saying can be lived…

    May god bless that shine in your eyes and that innocence on your face, which to me, reflects the purity of the being behind them…


  5. suchitra, 1st of all, an ammazing reply.
    2ndly, im a huge fan of yours. All through the 90’s, i love listening to u music. wish you all the best for the yrs ahead 🙂

  6. ha ha ha ha ha enjoyed every moment of the read….. mama’s cannot be held responsible for all the thots that kids have… they can only be cautious in not expressing their neurosis in the presence of the child, every journey its it own dear and we can but offer guidance in the way of light…and finally it is for the child to accept or discard it… the female body has its contours just as the male body has… and each contour is as beautiful as the other. However we all know that there are mammoth frames that hold themselves with sureity and reed like frames that whine with the .1mm gain ))))))))) acceptance of the self i guess is the reality of life that is a constant struggle lol

  7. That is soooo cute 😀 … Kids make even the most complicated things simple.I get questions form my nephew and his friends like..why do u have 2 grey hairs, why are u taller than me,how come hair grows on your face etc.. 😀

  8. You have a way with words, but remember by and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth

  9. This is very well studied. It’s the media culture. As long as kids are allowed to be programmed by various screens (TV, video games, bad movies, internet) and have free access to peers who have free access to all this – it’s hard. A parent CAN and should try to change this. That is our very job! You do it by creating a life and a family culture where children are surrounded by mostly positive influences, little to no screens (yes, it IS possible – we manage to do it after a long time and have a peer group that believes likewise), and most of all, as you said, themselves modeling healthy behavior. Kids learn a lot more from your behavior than your words – as you already know, I am sure.

    Good luck. It’s hard work, but fun! We figure it out as we go along…


  10. Is this the script for “Bum Bum Bole” … 🙂 Just kidding. But a good post suchitra. Been following your blog since quite some time but never left a comment. This post of yours was too interesting not to comment.

  11. Hi Suchitra,

    I am 35 Yrs old now and I love you since childhood when you start appearing in a Jassosi TV Serial might be @ DD1 or DD2.

    Don’t remeber the serial name though.

    That is the one part of the story.
    Although I have family. I love my wife a lot and had 2 kids.

    Just want your attention on the movement arise nowadays named as BHARAT SWABHIMAN.
    Although I know celebrity like you does not like all these movements things.

    But our country is so corrupt nowadays that if you do not pay any attention towards such good things then the Bharat is going to become Finished soon.

    I admire BABA RAMDEV and do Yoga daily.

    I advice you, Pls. see the website related to BHARAT SWABHIMAN and then decide if it needs to be promoted or not.
    If you agree then Pls. come loudly for this BHARAT SWABHIMAN.
    That will really help this country a lot.

    In the last, My love is still as it is for you as it was in childhood. You are so beautiful and charming.

    Thanks and Regards,


  12. A sincere advice:Dont ever lie to your kids , when they discover the truth they will come to hate you whatever the intention may have been in the lies . Try to see as they are: thin or overweight and let them what is nutritious and what is fattening . I mean its the feedback you give them that is important for them to evolve : you dont have to be blunt(with out taking out hope for correction) but honest

  13. What you said reminds me of this: a bird confronted with a preblematic reality: None other than Ostrich
    Bury your head in the sand
    Refuse to confront or acknowledge a problem
    The notion is that the supposedly dumb ostrich believes that if it can’t see its attacker then the attacker can’t see it. This was nicely reformed as a joke on Douglas Adams’ ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, in which the ‘Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal’ was described as ‘so mind-bogglingly stupid that it assumes that if you can’t see it, then it can’t see you.’

  14. If I may take the liberty to suggest that you think not of “weight management via diet”. Instead, think “healthy lifestyle”.
    Also, I suspect you are vegetarian. Have you thought of veganism as a lifestyle choice?

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