Body images


There are things that I see that I totally do not digest. I just see them and move on, but yesterday I learned lots of little and unknown things.

It started with a trip to a shop in the walls of the City Palace. I watched two aging village woman, resplendent in jewels, colours, big bundles on their heads as they walked along chatting.

Their legs are always very thin, and these two were no exception. They both work heavy silver anklets, but one had hers wrapped, probably against the heat. I had just been aware of my neck being burned by my own silver chain, and I suddenly wondered what do they do about the jewellery on the legs after death.

I asked the driver who said that they cut off the feet to get the leg jewellery, but as the bracelets are quite thin they cut them off rather than the arms and all is melted down to make new pieces.

”Do they cut off the feet before or after cremation?”
“ Ahh”

I had not taken in that tuk tuk drivers always wear khaki. I have seen them here for 16 years and never seen it as a given. I just thought it was the dirt. And then I was told that all taxi-car drivers have to wear epaulettes. Again, I have never taken it in.

The marital, family, religious and work status of everyone here is totally visible on their person. There is nothing that cannot be read about them from how they tie their turban or their sari, what type of bhindi or tlak, their jewellery, beard, moustache, shoes and smile.

I need to buy some particular saris here to change the way the Devotion stand looks at shows. I can get them in London, just near the shop, but I like moving through towns with a purpose.

I was taken to the street of sari whallahs yesterday. It was an interesting experience in good boundaries. The assumption is that I do not speak any Hindhi, (which I don’t, really,) so it becomes a wall of young men, (as one never deals with women here,) who just hurl insults and filth with gay abandon. Of course all their friends around them laugh and join in and me, the white skinned one or gora munda, has to resist the temptation to retort. It is just like working in the film industry but in another language. At least one is spared knowing what they are actually saying. Madge has done us white girls no favours at all out here.

But it was a Hindhu market and I think I have to go to a Muslim market. I wonder if it will be the same run of fun.

And the last piece on body image is the flash of anger that I feel rises up in me when I am told here that I am huge. Of course I am, I am three times the size of most of the women here, at least 9” taller than most men, I am strong, healthy and scary. But I still flash inside. Time for a change.

Must learn not to. Hell is my resistance.