The list is endless, but I will try to list a few every now and then.
The feeling of “weightlessness” flies the moment you land. Meaning? Everyone thinks you are fat. A walking blob of adipose tissue made in the US. People might have seen your pictures and have had a visual update of how you transformed every year, but nothing prepares them for the first time they look at you in person, painstakingly dragging huge suitcases et al at the airport. You have just survived a 40 hour flying experience half way across the world amidst erupting volcanoes and are glad you made it in one piece. You are tired, jet lagged, bloated, and haggard from 2 days of sitting upright in an aircraft, in between cranky children and snoring desis, dealing with real issues like jetlag, flying sickness, and separation anxiety with the boy friend you have left behind, but the moment you land, the world looks at you in a mixture of awe, utter shock and mockery as if they would be gazing at an animal in the zoo. Worse, people don’t hesitate to call you fat outright on your face. You know it is the result of years of living an American life, McDonald’s and fast food chains and a comfortable, physically less demanding existence and all, but you are not quite prepared to hear it from random people at that rate. Your neighbor calls you fat while chomping on those Hershey’s chocolates you offer her. The milkman gives you a quizzical glance of recognition, yet fails to recognize you. For me, my mother failed to recognize me though I was standing right in front of her. Later she blamed it on the excitement of meeting me after years. How do you excitedly wait to meet your daughter after years, look at her and look elsewhere? Beats me. Relatives and neighbors invite you home and treat you to generous amounts of sweets and savories, lunches and dinners, appetizers, main courses, and 3 rounds of desserts et al, amidst threats of killing you if you didn't eat well and eat them all, and then call you fat. They stare shamelessly at the tummy tires you have acquired, so the dreams of wearing those body hugging clothes you bought from Macy’s can be safely shoved till you reach the Macy’s land again. The more polished people euphemize it by fancy words like “Looks like you are doing well in life”, “You are glowing and look mature”, and “You don’t look like that broom stick anymore” while the more direct ones call you “fatso”, “fatty”, and “chubby” outright.
To be continued …