The paunch was growing gargantuan and the sizes of my jeans rocketing. I stared at my roly-poly shape. The elevator doors opened and instantaneously I hungered to bury my messy fleshy self somewhere in hell, as even God wouldn’t have vacancy for an elephantine like me in heaven.
It was Aman! Why did these out of the world situations happen with me always? A scruffy I, and a handsome Aman dressed in his gym wear goggled at each other.
“Hi Ruhi, wanna accompany me to the gym?” His movie star like lop sided smile made me even more conscious of my unpresentable and chubby figure.
“Umm… I’m tired and Mom would be waiting.” I attempted in making an excuse, which would sound flawless. My fat obese body hated one locution, THE GYM! I saw Aman stare at my enlarged, huge bloating tummy and give a sympathetic look. The fat from my sides hung and my waist ballooned. At least these loose, ill fitted clothes concealed the puffiness.
After being neighbours for five years and recognizing my unhealthy routine, Aman pitied an overweight friend, who often cried on his shoulders about her deleterious life.
“Why don’t you carry on?” I suggested, trying the escape route. This drop dead stunning guy would not even look at a roly-poly, stocky girl like me.
“Yup, catch you soon. Hey, Mahesh is at your flat waiting for you.” With that Aman jogged off.
Irritated, I banged my massive sized feet on the floor. My gut felt sick and the little desire I had to go home disappeared at the thought of facing the ra*cal. I detested him in every possible way.
The glass elevator gave an explicit reflection of the curvy, full-figured shape of my potbelly making me guilty for not taking the stairs. Aman always used these sparkling glasses to set his hair, while I turned away avoiding my broad beaming thighs.
I reflected over how to deal with my mom’s boy friend Mahesh. My mind stepped back into the dreams of the past when Dad waited for me to be back from work and we had our hearty dinners together. What a perfect family it was. Dad, Mom, Karan my elder Brother and I. Aman had been so envious of us.
“You all make a great family,” he would say, but heaven quickly refashioned to hell!
Somehow good things like melting mouth-watering chocolate never last long. Dad met an American woman, for whom he deserted us. Karan went with him and I was stuck with Mom. Though lately I wished Dad would’ve taken me instead of Karan.
I had been so traumatized by Dad’s absence that I sulked, only whiling my time at home, crying over the family that had dissipated. Putting on twenty kilos. And that was when my life had taken a topsy-turvy turn. I plunged myself into things that bought me trivial fulfilment and cheer but the outcome was only a broader waistline!
To top it all Mahesh, the man who had ruined my life further, why the hell did Mom have to choose Mahesh, couldn’t she find someone more appropriate?
I was sure she was not sex starved that she trusted this moron. Noticing the door to the flat half open and the television blaring, I walked irritatedly towards the hideous looking man.
Mahesh lay lounging on the sofa where Dad and I had spent most of our time playing scrabble, his smelly oily hair staining the sequenced fuchsia cushions, and legs hanging loose off the three seater, his black suede shoes still on, while the television screamed a football match between Argentina and Brazil. Mahesh leered at the half nude woman on the Cosmopolitan magazine, his burnt cigarette ashes staining the mahogany coloured Montana motif carpet.
“Where is Mom?” My eyes searched, for the woman who had managed to get this twerp into the house.
“I’m waiting for her too.” His darting, smoky eyes inspecting me from top to bottom and ceasing at my breasts!
“How did you manage to get in?”
“Your sweet Mom gave me a spare key darling.”
“Can you lower the volume?” I threw my bag on the dining table and got annoyed with Mom for allowing Mahesh to indulge in our privacy whenever he wanted. How could she trust this malicious looking guy?
“Hey fatty, don’t get annoyed.”
“How dare you say that?” Fire ascended in my eyes.
“Aren’t you a fatso?” He mocked at me as I opened the refrigerator for a bottle of cold water. “Don’t you think you need to shed those well padded cushions?”
“Mind your business and get out of my house before I throw you out of here!” I felt blood hitting my cheeks.
“O my God, this chubby pot bellied girl gets angry too.”
My eyes filled with tears, no one had spoken to me in this fashion. Was this the man who my Mom was going to live with? He was scoffing at me!
“Now, Ruhi, don’t cry. I was just having some fun.” Ambling towards me, he exhibited his not required concern. His cold, hard hands cupped my now red-hot face. The mean stinging eyes looked into my wounded ones. I shrugged him off, hoping he would leave my zone. “Get away Mahesh, Please go away!”
“I was only joking with my girlfriend’s daughter.”
“One doesn’t speak to a girlfriend’s daughter in this manner.” I scowled at him defiantly.
Touching my shoulders, “o come on Darling, you are so sexy. I would have fallen for you and not your Mom if you didn’t carry this fleshy belly of yours everywhere.” His ebony brows came together. “You have everything a man desires in a woman.” his gruesome looking face so close to mine I could smell his cigarette, “ appeal, sensuality, allure, and the thirty-six inched breasts.”
“Can you stop that nonsense?” I interrupted him, wanting to scream. But my vocal cords seemed paralysed; they just wouldn’t open, making me claustrophobic. But Mahesh wouldn’t stop; he had chosen the perfect setting, the precise timing, to reveal the man behind his flawless public façade.
“Your Mom is old, she is my colleague and I took pity on her after your Dad deserted her. She needs a shoulder, a little sex and she is a good puppy. Are you the same?”
“Would you shut up, and get out of my house!” My voice getting its pitch back, I looked straight into his malign eyes, hoping to hit him with the crystal vase. “Get out or I’ll have to call for help.” I yelled with all the vigour I had.
He had been using Mom and she just couldn’t see through him. I had had my days of distress after Dad had walked out, but I didn’t find solace in a vindictive man like Mahesh. He was a ghastly creature making advances at ME.
Aman had never ever tried to do that. We had been alone so often, but he had maintained his composure and self-respect but this man was a womaniser who my Mom was sharing her bed with.
“Come on baby, Let’s do the hanky-panky.” He moved closer and pressed his hard body against mine. “Mommy, isn’t home and she wouldn’t mind her baby having a teeny bit of fun, she likes me.”
I picked the phone in rage. “I am going to call the security if you don’t leave right away!”
Snatching the phone from my hand, “Hey, don’t do that, your Mom should be here any moment.” He looked at the door. “Ah! She is right here.” He strolled towards her leaving me in a devastated state. “How was your day Smita?” Giving her a big hug.
“Not so great.” She sighed looking at me from the corner of her soothing eyes. “Hi Ruhi, what’s wrong? You look as though you’ve seen a ghost.” She dropped her brown leather bag, popping with files on the pink satin flowered chair. “What is it? Did you have a bad day?” Her warm thin arms encircled a drained me.
My eyes swarmed with tears as I burst into loud sobs.
“Mahesh what is it with Ruhi? Why is she crying? Her anxiousness rising, “Are you missing Dad?”.
Yes! I was missing Dad. I was missing him; this ba**ard would have never come into our lives if he had been there. I hated Dad even more now. My future felt deprived and the shooting pain of loss hit me again. I yearned tell Mom about this scou*drel. He had no feelings; all he wanted was a mistress who could take care of his frivolousness.
My mind was baffled, whether Mom would believe me or not? Even if she did would Mahesh make life miserable for her at the office? What if her blood pressure rose again like last time when Dad had abandoned us. I was surrounded with my own assumptions of how Mom would take in this spine-chilling incident.
The only sane thing I could think of was to run into my room, I locked the door and sobbed. Mahesh had rebuked me, tried to act cheeky and made me hate myself for being what I was. Mahesh had played with my self-esteem and compelled my consciousness to feel what a week, feeble, dispirited person I was.
Mom’s banging on the door had stopped and I couldn’t hear them speak anymore. I contemplated they must be in the bedroom. I gasped for fresh air; noiselessly I opened my door, scanning for both of them. Damn! He was still there sitting arm in arm with Mom.
Mom instantly saw me. “Ruhi darling, I’ve been waiting for you.”
His repugnant face inflamed me again, “You haven’t left?” I asked the rogue.
“Ruhi, where are your manners? That’s not how you behave with guests.” Mom looked annoyingly at me.
“This man here doesn’t need etiquettes, he should be thrown out of here.” My voice loud and clear so that Mahesh apprehended I was in open war with him.
“Ruhi! Behave yourself,” mom advanced towards me, “I think your brain has grown thick too just like your belly.”
How could she? How could she not take my side?
“Mahesh is only trying to use you and capitalize on you.” I tried to explain.
“Stop it Ruhi, Mahesh has been so caring towards you, concerned about your weight and he has helped me in forgetting your dad and brother and now you are being rude to him.”
“Mom, he is taking advantage of you, he doesn’t care a sh*t about you or me.” I knew I was hurting her but Mahesh would sting her sooner or later and that would break her even further.
She moved closer and slapped me on my face. Tears dashed down my hot cheeks and I had never felt the pang of loss so hard as now.
Mahesh came running and held Mom, “cool down Smita.” His viscous smile arousing the rage in me again.
“He…he… called me a fatso. A girl whom he would like to have sex with!” My tears wouldn’t stop; I could see the horrified expression on Mom’s wry face. “He is a womaniser, on…ly exploiting you.” “And you say he cares about US?”
This time she listened. She heard every word I said.
“What did you say? He wants to have sex with you?” Mom’s expressions changed.
Her eyes enlarging, “Mahesh, is there any truth in what Ruhi is saying?”
Mahesh stood numb and stared at both of us, “Umm… Smita I wa…ss ju…st, just having some fun with her, Cant’ I?”
“Did you say that to her?” Her voice stern and serious.
“Umm… kind of… you know I was… Kidding!” Mahesh’s voice shaky.
“How dare you?”
“Smita darling, come on you know how I am…I…I just say things for fun.” He attempted to defend himself.
“Mahesh I trusted you, I thought you cared about us. My daughter is everything I have and I wouldn’t tolerate anyone hurting her.”
“O Smita, I thought you were open minded and you wouldn’t mind me sharing your daughter.”
“Get out of my house right now Mahesh, and leave the house keys behind.”
“But…” Mahesh tried to explain.
“Move out and I never want to see you again!” Mom screamed.
I had never seen Mom speak so rudely to anyone but Mahesh deserved every bit of it. She had never fought for herself before.
Mom hugged me, “I am sorry, I should have believed you. I just got blinded by his sweet talk.” Her voice filled with pain.
“He was only after your money and the bills you paid for him.” My voice softened now.
Facing all these losses was gruelling but it was less than the erosion Mahesh would take us into.
Mom hurled Mahesh out of our spirits. To my relief he never came back. Mom and I found a friend in each other. We bonded better than ever;
As for my weight, Phew! I have started going to the gym every day, and have a proper diet plan. I’ve lost twelve kilos and still need to shed more, but I look prettier, that’s what Aman says. My wardrobe has skinnier looking clothes. I don’t know whether Aman loves me or not but my feelings for him are pretty evident. Amongst all the sixes and sevens, I gained Mom and my defunct self-possession back and that was worth the Losses.