I recently discovered one significant, yet unnoticed fallout of crossing the dreadful 30-year landmark of life.

And that is losing the ability to laugh hysterically at shallow Agony Aunt columns.

But before I spread panic and anxiety among my readers, let me quickly suggest that you relax and take a deep breath. That particular source of inconsequential joy life offers us is not entirely under threat. Regardless of whether you are 30, 35 or 60.

In my case, I am finding it increasingly difficult to laugh at one particular column that deals with the problems of the young adult audience. This column addresses the agony of late teens and twenty somethings that have social adjustability problems for whatever reason.

This particular Aunt, with a name Martha, has one solution to ALL problems. Consider a few –

“Hi Martha, I am Teju from  Colaba, and I hate college because I don’t have any friends. I feel no one wants to talk to me because I am fat.”

Hi M, I am Lucky from Chandigarh. My classmate cum best friend from the age of 2 and I had a bad fight yesterday. I feel very depressed. I don’t know what to do. Please help!”

“Hi M, I am Evenmore  Lucky from Chandigarh. I finally managed to pick a really bad dirty fight with this girl who has been annoying me from the time I was 2. We ended the fight on a very bitter note and it has given me great hope and now I look forward to the rest of my life. My worry is, what if she wants to make up? Please tell me how to keep that bitch out of my life. She pisses the life out of me and I don’t want her again in my life.”

Hi Martha, I am an 24 year old girl and I have had 3 crushes so far. Once when the lock fell on my big toe, the other time when my dad ordered the orange flavour and the crush came in a nice cocktail glass. The last Crush I had was in my iPod – by Jennifer Paige and someone deleted the song by mistake. Do you think it is normal for me to feel this way? All my friends laugh at me and even my elder sister keeps giggling when I tell her about my crushes.

And Martha advises:

Teju from Colaba: Teju, you sound like a very nice and sincere boy. I think you must not feel bad about being fat. You suffer from what is called a bad body image. It is the personality inside you that is more important. So meet more people and find more hobbies to do. You will be happy with the results!

Lucky from Chandigarh: Hi Lucky, I am very sad to hear about your fight. Learn to love yourself for what you are. Look at the mirror everyday and say “I love you”, “you are a wonderful person” say this 40,000 times each and every morning(if you lose count, you must start over from 1 again). Such incidents will happen less frequently because it will leave you little time for anything. Soon you will be able to have a better body image and like yourself for the way you are and others will stop fighting with you!

Evenmore Lucky: Hi Even More. Your friend seems to be a horrible person and a rotten pain-in-the-donkey clinger. But you must learn to become more comfortable with who you really are deep down inside in the hollow depths of that mindless awkwardly shaped skull. When I was young I felt that way every time I had a fight with someone. Especially when I hear a loud crack after slamming a big cricket bat on the persons head. But I took a long time – about 9 years and 49 cracks – to realize that though there was some joy it was short lived. You really need to make peace with yourself and love yourself more. A good body image helps a lot.

Hi 24 year old: You haven’t left a name, so I can’t really help you a lot with such limited information, but I think nothing is bad. Everyone is normal. The next time you have a crush, ask yourself what is really affecting you. If it is because you are a little more plump than the other people in your age, then you know what your problem is. A bad body image can give you many sleepless nights. Begin to like yourself and you can yourself give a crush to that cute boy in your office that you like – in fact you can make him scream and beg! Just find a right moment and sit on him! 

That’s Martha. The great Agony Aunt.

Why I cannot laugh anymore is because when I think about it, no matter what problem of mine I write to Aunt Martha about, she is going to get it right about the biggest problem I have in my life right now.

Yes, my dear faithful reader. I have a bod bady image. And I hate to admit it so much that I had to mis-spell it. If it wasn’t your unshakable love for me and your faith and obsession with this incredible blog, I would have little in life that would give me a reason to push on.

Sigh.

It’s true.The first signs began in September last year. My neighbour knocked on the door and asked if I was OK.

“Yeah I am. Why? Should something be wrong?”
“No no. Not at all. Just dropped in to say hello. So, Hello. (Hehehe.Muahahaha)”
“Hello.”
“OK… Bye”
“Bye”

I didn’t know it then, but my neighbour was actually wondering why he didn’t anymore hear my mad, hyena-like hysterical laugh every Wednesday morning. For, you see, that is when I read Aunt Martha’s column.

A few Wednesday s later, I stared at the situation in the eye and understood the deeper undercurrents.

I enrolled in a Gym. And the swimming club. For three months it was incredible. I enjoyed every moment in the pool and every stretch in the gym. I lost 4 kg and was my average 71kg self again.

And then as usual bad luck struck me. My Airoli days began. And the pool went out of one window and the gym out the other. And back came the 4kg flying. Bringing a 2 kg friend along.

And the 6kg now weighs me down. I can hear Aunt Martha’s hysterical laugh in the distance. I can hear Teju, Lucky, Evenmore Lucky and the 24 year old girl who left no name, all laughing in lunatic Ecstasy. All of them rolling about the floor holding their stomachs as if to prevent their humongous guts from spilling out.

I nod my head in disgust. And immediately stop shaking my head when I feel my fat cheeks and the flab in the neck flap about in the air causing low pressure in the room. I look up heavenwards in dispair. My cheeks restrict the view and I suddenly can relate to how the world may look to a horse wearing blinkers.

“If you ever come back home rolling, I’ll never open the door for you” Said mom when I returned from Baroda 7 years ago with a waistline that went from 29 to 32 after being introduced to Gujju food.

I now have spare keys. I wear size 34. And I think I may need a new wardrobe.

But the brighter side is that I have a plan of two action points.

  • Learn to have a good body image.
  • And then get rid of that image.

Hmmmm. Sounds like a good plan. But the only reason I hesitate is that it might make my die-hard fans sad, for they will have less of me.

Troubling visions of upset fans, hunger-strikes and self-immolation bids tear me apart and compromise my resolve.

Life, like Aunt Martha, is a Bitch.

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