Choosing and Celebrating your body as it is, right now!

Belly Dancing

I remember being able to have someone stand on my stomach,

it was flat and toned

Seems like a million years ago

I watched in dismay over the years as i sat on my throne

My stomach began to develop folds

Soon i had lost all control and my stomach developed a mind of its own

I couldnt run no more,

it hurt when it jiggled so

Then lo and behold,

i discovered belly dancing

It gave shake rattle and roll a whole new meaning and basically replaced your mundane jiggle

A convenient table stand for my plate or a pillow for a baby is what makes it special

Aint no one i know who can move like i do on the dance floor with my pot belly

T.D. ( 34, IN)

Going grey

My hair started turning grey when I was 13 years old. So when I was in std 8th in school, when all the girls around me had beautiful dark lustrous hair that they tied in ponies or plaits, I hid those striking greys against the rest of my blacks as best I could. After all, I was a silver haired 13 year old. Going grey even before her first period!

“Hey, you have white hair!!”, my 13 year old classmates exclaimed.

As if I didn’t know already. As if it needed to be said. As if the whole world hadn’t noticed already.

“Put some henna”, “Put some dye”.

So I put some henna. And I put some dye.

Then they exclaimed-

“Hey you apply henna?!” “Hey you have dyed your hair?!”

As if I didn’t know already. As if it needed to be said. As if the whole world hadn’t noticed already.

And so my 13 year old self fought a losing battle in front of the mirror trying to tie her hair in a way that hid those greys as best as possible. Efforts went mostly in vain.

But soon, I was not 13 anymore. I grew up. I matured. I grew out of my inhibitions. I grew out of the inhibitions society threw me into. So what if I have greys? Now this 20-something me sports her greys without feeling ashamed. Perhaps, even a little proud…

Yashada, 25, India.

Fractured hip

My right hip fractured in a fall had surgery

which was in a way a blessing

because my hospital stay was a good experience

that gave me an opportunity to interact

and help other patients even while I was in a wheel chair

so I just love my hip

which since then has been the favorite part of my body

– Bertha (U.S., 87)

short top

If my body was longer

I would be able to sport sexy tops worn inside my waistband

and thus display my long legs

I have learned to accept it

as my shorter body draws attention to my long legs

– J.J. (U.S., 60 yrs)

Hips Don’t Lie

I am a dancer’s hips.

Rephrase – I was a dancer’s hips.

Now I just don’t fit.

In my clothes.

In my movements.

In my image of me.

When will I return to me?

When will my lazy master work off the excess?


Ashifa (29, Mumbai, India)

My Hair

Schoolbooks taught us that hair was provided us to protect us from the elements. One wonders : for thousands of years we have been living indoors, why does hair grow on our scalps, under the armpit, on the crotch? The hair should have fallen off, as in case of some of the African tribes whose scalp hair does not grow beyond a few curls no longer than the tip of our smallest finger.

A doctor couple I know, when migrating to one of the Carribean islands, took the barber’s set of instruments along. The male said there are no barbers on that island, people’s hair does not grow. That sounds like some impending evolution.

Females shaving off the head is not half as startling in half of India, the Southern half, as it may be elsewhere. How people react to a shaven head depends upon the culture itself. Sheaves of poetry has been written in Persian and Urdu, where a woman’s hair is counted as one of the most erotic parts of her body.

Logically the entire orthodox Islamic world would be shocked on seeing a woman without any hair but then the same people also wear the hijab, the naqab, the chador or whatever, always covering this erotic portion, so it leaves us guessing.

Gujarati culture looks unkindly at short hair in women, unlike the profusion of short haired professional executives in other parts, most of whom cannot afford to waste two hours in preserving, grooming and tending their long hair. For decades in Gujarat, only the mentally disturbed destitute ladies used to have shaven heads apart from the Jain Sadhvis, who are said to have plucked each single hair out with their own hands… that’s some sort of penance, or self-fortification against pain. These stereotypes often force the modern Gujarati girl to avoid having very short hair though the influx of youngsters from the West has been rising, and customs are changing.

Short hair is common, but very short hair and shaven heads are not. Those of us who spend a fortune on all kinds of shampoos, hair conditioners, pomades, lotions, herbal extracts and a thousand other formulations, often agree with the grandmas who look at the modern young girl and curse the whole hair care industry – many old ladies often tell them you are driving the goat out from your house and letting a camel in. This can be paraphrased as you are trying to solve a small problem whilst creating a much larger problem.

The fact that in USA the cosmetics industry is 33 times larger than the general engineering industry speaks volumes for the obsession the females there have about their bodies and how they look. Jane Karo, an advertising executive hit the nail on the head when she quipped : If the average woman wakes up one fine morning, slaps her forehead and announces, I am happy with my shape – entire economies could collapse. No doubt about that.

– Max Babi

The “MC” of my life!!

(I am not writing on behalf of a body part, but rather, a body condition….. the PERIOD!!)

Since you were 11, I have been a faithful companion to you.

Every month, on schedule, I have been with you.

Sure, there were a few delays here and there, which scared you in your early twenties…!

What to do – I have to bow down to the wishes of these temperamental things called hormones

But for the most part, I was regular.

When you decided not to have a baby, I was delighted.

It meant that our partnership would continue without breaks! For some women, I can bring on the most painful experience. But for you, I provided quite painless 4 days every month. Till you crossed 30.

In your 30s, I couldn’t help it. You had fed your system with completely un-nutritious food and exposed it to weird working hours and stress and nicotine addiction. Sorry, woman, but that doesn’t work for me. That’s when I introduced you to abdominal pain.

I did it gradually – I was considerate.

Then the hormones started playing up, and they brought depression and migraines. Not me, mind you. In your 40s, this situation continues, pretty much. You still don’t learn to eat proper food and keep a healthy body. What can I do??

I am phasing out slowly now. I have already given you some indications. I have become irregular. And too bloody, sometimes.

Now you make me into an excuse – for not doing your work properly, for being moody – “PMS”, you say. And you expect everyone to understand!

I am telling you again – you start taking care of your health and I will phase out silently and honorably. After so many years with you, I don’t want to keep any grudges, you know.

(Anupamma, India)


My chosen body part is not a body part at all.

It’s the mirror.

The mirror lies to me, I like to think.

My limbs look fine to me when I look at them.

These hands have done so many things with me.

Helped me write, hold, caress, squeeze.

My arms are large.

I like to think of them as strong.

As I flex them, look I think I see a muscle.

These legs have held me up high for so long.

They’re so familiar I really have no idea what they look like.

I know their aches and pains and cramps and itches.

But what they look like?

Alright I suppose.

These thighs I understand are larger than they should be, but from my point of view up high, they look alright.

Look if I stretch they look almost lithe.

But then I catch a glance of them in the mirror.

I think it lies to me.

I hope it does.

Aditi (29,Atlanta)

A gift called Eyes…window to the world

For a long time i have had this thought in mind that i should have been ‘Blue’ or ‘Green’ eyed..

instead of dark brown.

Few days back when i was thinking about taking up a new project for my Self expression & Leadership program i thought of  doing  some work with blind people.

The moment i thought about it i suddenly realized how gifted i was to have eyes …

to have a clear vision…

my good friends that was an eye opener …

& that moment i not just accepted but truly fell in love with this unique gift called eyes.

Prachee A (India)

The Middle Terrain

A round mid riff.
Some stretch marks in attempts of attaining the flat shape.
But all the chocolates, ice creams, desserts: Bliss!
My stomach is happy because i eat when i am hungry.
I love my shape even if it is round 🙂
Priya (26, India)