Stand with your back straight and pushing your neck very slightly forward, look down at your feet, by moving your eyeballs. If your vision is not eclipsed by the protrusion of a nasty mass in the abdominal region, then you have prevented yourself from acquiring the ownership of a ghastly disgrace – the Paunch. I say this because the world today is taken by a storm given the concept of ‘thin is in’ and it isn’t a juvenile crime to bear a full-fledged paunch. Believe me friends; having a noticeable paunch can be more shameful than being caught red-handed in drug-trafficking!!

The rounder the belly, the wealthier the man, is now a bygone. Today, the global citizens call themselves health-conscious. There is more than just a marginal difference between health-conscious people and health freaks. The most dreaded activity of these health freaks is standing on the weighing scale. A slight deviation (in the +ve direction) from the subsidized number of kilograms might traumatize them for perhaps the next 13 days. If they wake up in the morning to realize that they have lost 650 gms or more, they get a high which an avid drinker will not relish even after several pegs of the finest vodka. It is difficult for me to picture them further losing weight in the measure of kilograms, as that may result in their total disappearance from the face of the earth. That reminds me of ‘anorexia’. Now, the difference between anorexia and malnourishment is that, the former is a health statement (analogous to fashion statement) and the latter one is a health disorder. Models, who walk the ramp… (Let’s call them the ‘classy dahlings’) are anorexic and street children (the regular earthlings) are malnourished.

Having a paunch has its own set of limitations. You have to safely ignore the ‘looks’ of the ‘toned’ elements of the society. Loose-fitting clothes suddenly become the must-haves of your wardrobe….a measure taken to prevent some major faux-pas. Figure-hugging clothes are meant for those whose figures are not disfigured!! Next, remember that when posing for a picture, avoid a side profile of your complete self. It will only make you appear less attractive (greek god that you are!). If you are used to taking deep breaths and then holding onto them, till your tailor registers your ‘vital-statistics’ for assembling your new wardrobe, then BEWARE… it can be a grueling task to squeeze yourself in those clothes (stitched in accordance with the misleading waistline). It can also give you an impression of having expanded by an inch and a half more since the time of your visit to the tailor and the delivery of your new clothes with an improved size!! So, just whole-heartedly accept the paunch…and be yourself.

After all, it gives you a chance to revamp your style… (now that the tee’s don’t fit you, …kurtas have to cover up ). Having a paunch (already) enables you to crash all your calorie counters without feeling guilty. It also allows you to curtail expenses on footwear, as anyways the feet are nowhere to be seen…thanks to the paunch coming midway. So, why splurge on boots? Instead buy belts that can be wound around your larger circumference, which vividly stands out. The paunch makes you look less vulnerable and can help you in making space for yourself while taking public transport. It is understood that there is no scope for a fourth seat if 2 out of 3 people sitting on a bench in a train compartment, have a fair sized paunch.

But, that does not mean you disregard the bitter fact that YOU are gaining weight (extra weight….to be precise). The paunch cannot be a belonging you will long to behold, caress or treasure. A bit of exercise and a controlled diet can restore the ‘make-up’ of your stomach. It is essential to realize the importance of healthy living because a toned and fit body along with a razor-sharp mind does give you a true sense of well-being.

Nevertheless…..the jubilation of playing ‘tabla’ on that very paunch is inexplicable!

Priya Amrute