Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Roly-Poly, Well-Buttered Punjabis


Disclaimer: this will be a rant.
The more I see, the more I believe in the truth of it; Punjabis see being obese as a show of strength. A skinny person is a diseased person who can easily be blown away by the wind or a simple huff and puff. Rather than being told I look skinny, I’m told “Tu agge naalo lissie ho gayi aa,” which translates into, “You’ve become weaker than before.”
My grandfather is constantly complaining that as a child I had a face like a mountain lion—yeah, it’s supposed to be a compliment—and now my face has shrunken into tininess. My uncle told my parents that they’ve dried their kids out and should begin feeding us butter and milk more often. And yes, these comments sound just as absurd in Punjabi as they do translated into English.
The word for overweight in Punjabi: masculine-takrha, feminine-takrhi; this means strong. Or they are also referred to as being quite healthy individuals.
There was a time when most Punjabis were farmers. Their hard work through the day required them to be sufficiently fed and they easily worked off any harmful impacts heavy foods may have had on them. There’s a reason that diabetes, heart attacks, and other health conditions are becoming prevalent in the Punjabis in India and abroad. We’re not farmers anymore for the most part. If we do have agricultural land, we’ve hired others to be the laborers.
It’s high time for mothers and wives—because they are still the chief cooks in Punjabi households—to begin taking a proactive role in maintaining healthy lifestyles for the whole family. Especially with the male children. Mothers dote on their sons in every culture; it’s a universal truth by now. But mothers fatten up their sons in the Punjabi culture; they make sure that the boys eat more than any growing or grown man could possibly need in an average day. Then there are video games and television shows to make sure that everybody is sitting on the couch for the majority of the day. And if exercise happens by accident, mothers will bring out the tub of butter, “Son, you look weak, you need to eat more butter, I’ll bring you a jug of milk.”
Seriously, stop fattening up your families like pigs going into the slaughterhouse!
Reminder: It’s not bad to love food. It is bad to love food to the extent that you can’t do anything else.
Rant concluded.