“What is that noise?” asked Rahul.
Surbhi clutched her stomach guiltily. ‘Was her stomach
rumbling so loudly?’ She quickly downed some water and tried to school her face
into an indifferent expression.
“There is some problem with the AC” answered Ruchi who had
been investigating. “Why does the cooling in our department always suck?” she
Surbhi let out her breath in a whoosh, idly glancing at the
time. It was just past one. ‘Was it just half an hour since she had had lunch?
If you could call one malnourished idli and one runny bowl of spinach soup, lunch.’
She sighed and determinedly turned back to her work.
She had just got into her rhythm when she saw the office boy
in her peripheral vision. She glanced up to see him holding a box of pedas, the ones with the individual
wrappers, the ones topped with pistachios, the ones she did not like one bit!
She smiled in relief and graciously refused the pedas. Three more weeks of dieting and she would hopefully (please
dear God!) be ready to get into the dress which she had foolishly bought for
her cousin sister’s grand wedding. She had deliberately bought it two sizes
smaller than what she usually bought. The amount of money she had shelled for
the dress was her biggest motivation to lose weight. Surbhi was something of a
miser where money was considered. And now she was being miserly about food!
Surreptitiously she glanced at Rahul’s thin arms. ‘Why did so
many men have thin, spindly arms which they certainly didn’t like and countless
girls had potato-shaped hands?’ she wondered vengefully. Her own arms looked
just the same as always, no thinner in any way. She pulled her chair a little
further towards her desk, screening her body and quickly did some stomach
“What is the matter, Surbhi?” Ruchi asked curiously. “Why are
you breathing so heavily?”
“Nothing” Surbhi replied in a nasally voice. “I have got a
bit of a cold”.
“Have some hot chocolate” Rahul put in cheerfully. “Best
remedy for the snivels”.
‘Really’ Surbhi thought in exasperation. ‘Do this people have
nothing to do except for spying on me?’ Aloud she said, “Really, I am fine.”
“Why are you eating cow dung?” Ankur the office wit asked her
during teatime. His friends laughed obligingly exactly like the canned laughter
in a comic show.
“Don’t bother Surbhi, guys” Tania, the office hottie,
unexpectedly came to her defence. With a wink and a lewd smile for Tania, Ankur
and his cronies left Surbhi in peace. Tania came and sat beside her bringing
with her a strong scent of perfume. Surbhi shuddered involuntarily. Strong
fragrances always gave her a headache. Tania sipped her green tea and smiled up
at her charmingly. “Which diet are you following, dear?”
“Er…the normal” replied the nonplussed Surbhi.
“And what do you mean by normal?” shot back Tania.
“You know, eating healthy, eating less than normal and
exercising” she replied self-consciously tugging her top straight.
“My dear, you won’t lose weight that way” declared Tania. “There
is a science to losing weight. First you have to decide which diet you have to
follow. Then you will have to tweak it to suit your Indian preferences. You
will need one dedicated resource whose job will be only to prepare and present everything
that is required by your diet at the proper time.” She paused and unwrapped a block
of cheese. Surbhi’s eyes widened seeing the cheese. Tania noticed her and said
importantly, “Yes, I am having cheese on my diet. Because I am following the
keto diet. High fat, low carb, you know. If you want, I can make a weekly diet
plan for you.”
“Thanks Tania” replied Surbhi, uncertain where this was
going. “But I don’t want to trouble you.”
“It’s no trouble” Tania waved her off. “I enjoy turning fat caterpillars
into dainty butterflies.”
Surbhi looked at her suspiciously wondering if she was being
nasty. But Tania was not like that. Sudden tears pooled in her eyes. ‘Was that
how she looked to strangers?’ She wordlessly took the sheet of paper with her ‘diet
plan’ from Tania, thanked her and put her mess of oatmeal into the garbage bin.
Once home, she weighed herself. She had lost 2 kgs! 2 whole kgs
in 1 week! At this rate, she would just about make it into her dress. She sighed
happily and nodded her head as if arriving at a decision.
“Maa” she called out to her mother. “I am going out. I won’t
be having any dinner.”
Ten minutes later, she handed over her gorgeous, impossible
dress back to the shop attendant.
“I have changed my mind” she said. “I would like the same
dress in my usual size please.”
Without batting an eye, the attendant took her measurements. “Madam,
your usual size will be a little loose on you.”
“I know” she beamed at the baffled attendant, unwrapping a
bar of chocolate. “I want it altered to fit the thinner me.”