In her latest stint as an actor, Nimrat Kaur essays the character Bimla Devi in the social comedy Dasvi (2022). Playing the role of Bimla required Nimrat to put on an added extra kilos and she took to social media to share a journey that helped her gain a deep insight into how society functions when someone does not belong to the norm.
In a post captioned, “Weigh on it”, Nimrat shares some food for thought. The transformation journey to Bimla required Nimrat to size up in an attempt to be unrecognisable from her own self. Albeit struggling to accept what she’d need to embrace when she looked into the mirror, she recounts how the support of her loved ones made the process quite enjoyable, and she began to embrace it. Society however did not.
“Watching me eat high-calorie meals already being a few sizes bigger, some people around me felt they had the right to comment on what they thought I was doing wrong,” she writes. These comments came in the form of ‘a snide remark, an uncalled-for joke, an unsolicited piece of advice’ on what she should be eating.
Not feeling the need to explain why she was gorging on desserts and high calories foods, Nimrat emphasises that we as people need to be more mindful, sensitive, and empathetic towards those who don’t fit into the ‘myopic pigeonhole prototype’ of the norm.
“Don’t make someone’s day worse if you can’t make it better,” is her advice.
“In the age of heightened expectations regarding what we ‘should’ look like, at all times – gender, age and profession no bar, I’m sharing a small chapter from my life that brought with it learnings that shall last a lifetime. Bear with me as unfortunately there isn’t a ‘bite sized’ version of this 10-month long journey…
Born with what’s typically categorised as a small to a medium body type, with Dasvi came the requirement for me to size ‘up’. The idea is to be as unrecognisable and physically as dissimilar from ‘being Nimrat’ as possible.
There was no target number in mind, but by the end of trying to achieve the desired visual impact, I was a touch above 15 kg of my usual body weight. Initially, I was rather petrified of an unseen reality I was going to have to own and embrace.
But as I steadily and lovingly along with the support and encouragement of my loved ones around me began right conversations with myself, I began relishing the process of becoming Bimla. However, this isn’t about how I eventually began to love this gift of a journey of indulgences and inhabiting a body I’d never been in before. This is about what I began to notice along the way.
Ever so often, watching me eat high-calorie meals already being a few sizes bigger, some people around me felt they had the right to comment on what they thought I was doing wrong. It would be a snide remark, an uncalled-for joke, or an unsolicited piece of advice on what I should be eating instead of a dessert I was enjoying very much. This voyeuristic license and entitled permission are what came to the forefront.
On purpose, not always would I declare the ‘why’ behind what I was looking like or consuming. But always did I observe the ease with which people made my ‘larger than usual’ body and/or meal their business. I could’ve been unwell, under medication, hormonally battling something, or quite simply very happy to eat and be me whatever size that was. This entire exercise taught me as a girl and an actor both, how non-negotiable it is for each of us simply mind our own business.
Having completed the circle of this journey and back to physically being me, today in the truest sense I’ve learnt how not to let an outside perspective decide my relationship with me. I share this to add to the larger dialogue of all we could all do with more mindfulness, sensitivity, and empathy. Especially towards those who don’t fit in the myopic, pigeonhole prototype of what the ‘norm’ expects them to be ‐ whether it’s being too dark, too thin, too short, too fat, or too many of these berating measuring scales from the lens of the conditioning they come from.
Recognise that everything they say and observe is a reflection of a mindset. Not who they’re beholding. Be kind. Be sensitive. Be graceful. Don’t make someone’s day worse if you can’t make it better. Be responsible.
Make only your mind and body your business. No one else’s.”
Edited by Yoshita Rao