Ep22: When dinnertime was a torture to my taste buds but a blessing to my skin


  • Time 4 min
  • Date November 24, 2020

“I am so glad we had this conversation. No more secrets between us.”

We glowered at each other, both equally angry.

And then Shams said, “Ya… tu bol… why were you at Mind & Body?” So, she had seen me but chose to ignore me! This threw me and my little prepared sermon off the hook. I simply said, “I needed help.”

“Why didn’t you talk to us?” Shams voiced. “Is this about that slimeball you….?”, Becca asked. There was no mocking, only genuine concern in her voice. “Hmm… yes”, I replied, “I did not mention it because I did not want to be laughed at.”

“We all have our reasons. Not necessary to tell everybody everything.”, Shams was brutal.

“Everybody? Did you just say everybody, Shams?” I was livid. She looked uneasy, “Oh please… drop the drama. You know what I mean.”

“Um, no I don’t! You tell me everything. Why have you been hiding this from me for three bloody years?”

Eventually, Shams opened up, “You know when I was 14, mom was planning to marry her friend who I knew very well as Satish uncle. It had been 5 years without dad and she thought this would be a new beginning for both of us.”

Of course, I remembered. We were in Grade 9 and the news had really upset Shams. However, aunty had soon changed her mind and Shams was back to her usual happy self. Apparently, it had never been aunty’s decision after all. Shams added, her voice hoarse, “The fuss I made, the tantrums I threw. Eventually, mom cancelled her plans and never mentioned marriage again.” Taking a deep breath, she continued, “Her life revolved around me and work. It’s when I first got serious about a boy at 18 that I realised what I had done. I felt so selfish! TBH, I’ve deprived my mom of a wonderful life. How can I forgive myself? I have no right,” she said fiercely.

Aaaah! That’s why Shams had a string of breakups for no real reason. The monkeys in our mind really mess us up, don’t they?

I hugged her tight, “You are neither selfish nor terrible. Does aunty know about this?” Shams shook her head.

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“I’d rather be fat and fabulous than gaunt and gorgeous.”

As if on cue, aunty entered the room. Shams quickly masked her face, telling her mom how famished we were. Amazing show, I thought. No concealer could have done a better job.  Becca elbowed me, “Yes, we are super hungry, right Megs?” I nodded and aunty told us to come in for dinner.

It was a feast. But I stuck to grilled fish and salad. “Are you on a diet?”, asked aunty. Becca replied, “Dairy = oil = breakouts. Right? But sorry Megs, I can’t resist paneer.” She laughed at my expression and dug in.

Aunty looked at me disapprovingly, “Don’t believe everything that Google says.” Shams laughed, “Mom, you’re talking to Google, DoYou is the go-to for skincare.” She said pointing to me.

Shams insisted I try the paneer but I politely refused. “Your soul needs it”, she argued. “Yaar, what’s the point of dying beautiful?”

Aunty wasn’t amused, “Be quiet, Shamita.” She sweetly offered me more fish while Shams pulled out a can of Coke from the fridge. Surprisingly aunty said, “No fizzy drinks. What’s the point of being young with dehydrated skin and premature wrinkles?” She gave back to Shams. Whoa! These were my exact words the last time aunty had offered me soda! “I have also cut down on salt,” she informed me. “It has reduced my water retention and my skin is less puffy now.” Looking at Shams she sighed, “Wish she would listen.”

“Moooooom, I do cross-fit. I deserve this.” And with that, she took a large gulp. Becca followed. Shams clucked her mouth saying, “Tu hai na, DIY queen. You can help us mask the fine lines and dry skin.” Becca agreed, “I’d rather be fat and fabulous than gaunt and gorgeous,” and we all laughed.

It was a work-night and so, with heavy tummies and heavier hearts we decided to split. I hugged my two best friends, “I am so glad we had this conversation. No more secrets between us.”  Shams added, “Never again. I promise.” Becca was hesitating to say something but just then my Uber intimated its arrival. If only the driver hadn’t landed early…

What’s on your (skincare) plate?

  • Dairy products — good for bones, not for breakouts
  • The more salt in your food, the puffier your skin
  • Opening a fizzy drink = inviting dehydrated skin
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