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That personal looks would gain such precedence that it had the power of preempting everything else in your life when you were in your early 20's shouldn't be surprising. Kaushik and I exeplified this perfectly. Kaushik, my roommate in Pune, wasn't exactly obese, just slightly overweight with an emerging pot-belly, something that caused him immense consternation. He became most conscious of it whenever he was walking and found a pretty girl looking at him or anything within a radius of one mile.

Pune streets, unlike Jamshedpur's, were lined with a lot of cars. Kaushik would make use of his reflection from the window glass to see if everything was in place and impressionable. So each time a pretty babe would come nearer, Kaushik would frantically start admiring his reflections on all the car windows. His bulging belly would suddenly disappear as he would inhale and hold breath till the girl crossed, after which the suffocating Kaushik would 'collapse' back to his original self.

I used to be as thin as a string in those days and was desperate to gain weight. The horizontally-flat, vertically-convex windows tended to make one look shorter and fatter than he actually was...perfect for my ego. So I loved looking at the reflection imagining how handsome and irresistible I would seem to the ladies if I managed to gain some weight. I flattered myself often this way. So each time Kaushik and I walked together, we wouldn't spare any of our reflections each time we saw a stalled car.

Cut to the present. I've gained the much needed weight and some more. In fact, I've overshot. If I dare look at those reflections again, I'm sure I'll look more wide than tall. Unfortunately, escaping reflections isn't always possible. Our company lifts have interiors so shiny, they double as mirrors. And I just can't get used to what I see on the other side. There stands my alter ego, disdainfully staring back at me. And I guess the interiors of the lift are just as convexing. How else could I look this fat?! I compare the reflections of others with their actual selves. I haven't really draw any conclusive judgment yet on my suspicion.

Here's what makes the situation all the more pitiable. I often take the lift to reach the cafeteria for lunch or a quick snack. But each time my ominous reflection meets me in the lift, I lose my appetite.

After helping myself anyway, I feel infinitely guilty on my return trip. I swear I'll starve myself to death before adding another pound of flesh.


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