Food Poisoning And The Green Eyed Monster


Between my tenth trip to the restroom or back from it, somewhere in that gut-contorting, brain-drain, it struck me. I was sick. Truly sick in the head. So were most of the women around me.

This is not a general, sweeping statement. It is a point of view from where I stand and the view is not pretty. Let me explain. This article is sounding as fuzzy as my bowel movements.

I have been ill with a terrible bout of food poisoning. No appetite, living on liquids since a week, wanting to throw up at the thought of food. I am miserable. Yet I am secretly relieved. My girlfriends envy me. Why? Isn’t the answer obvious?

I am going to lose weight.

Let me quote verbatim, a few messages I have received from friends.

  1. There is always a silver lining. You were thinking about getting rid some of that fat anyway. ( True dat? )
  2. Lucky you! ( Thank you for asking how I am feeling )
  3. First malaria, now this? I hate you! No wonder you don’t want to join the gym with me. (Resourceful ol’ me )

Then it crept up on me, slowly, through the agonizing cramps in my stomach, the black spots in front of my eyes and the trembling in my hands, there it was. Victory. At a heavy price. Light price? I was losing weight and at the end of this harrowing ordeal, I would be a few pounds closer to my target.

The haze of antibiotics has settled and sanity has returned. What is wrong with me? What is wrong with us? We actually envy someone who can shed the ill-gotten gains of fat via au naturale illness. I hear the dark whispers of self imposed barfing, laxatives, diuretics, cosmetic surgery or whatever the quick tricks of the slimming trade. This was weight loss, the organic way, the cheaper alternative too. Be unhealthy to look healthy (read super skinny).

The bottom line. Food poisoning was an object of desire because of the benefits of its side effects. It beat hours of working out at the gym and dieting. The bitter pill of this realisation thrust upon me by all and sundry has brought forth an epiphany.

I am a grown woman who has borne two children, who are old enough to bear children. Yet most women in my generation, (including yours truly) seem to want to have bodies of teenage girls or even teenage boys for that matter, at any cost.

‘I have the body of a mother, not of a model. The only model I should aspire to be, is that of a role model to the next generation.’

If we chant that mantra enough, hopefully one day we will believe in it too.

Hold that thought while I make a quick dash to the restroom.

Alisha “Priti” Kirpalani is the author of “A Smattering Of Darkness: Short and Shorter Twisted Tales,” a collection of short stories of varying lengths encapsulating the grey shades of the human psyche. Her new novel will be released later this year.

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