All good things in life, I believe, come in small packages. This theory is all right as far as stars and peanuts are concerned, but what about short people who are so ‘looked down’ upon by the tall stately ones? I've always envied people who can stick their nose up in the air — my attempts to do so only results in some one asking me if I am suffering from spondilitis! How gracious those tall women look with their hair piled up- so sophisticated- to the envy of the poor short! I succeed in looking like I'm going for a shower in the community well. If my Angel were to grant me a boon I'd crave for a few inches more- that’s more useful than riches!
It is so demoralising to see all my cousins whom I had dangled on my knees growing taller than me. They look indulgently at me when I stand on my toes to bestow maternal kisses. They ask me about the weather down there as if I were an observatory at the foot of a hill. "Don't worry", they often console me, "when you lack in length, you will make up in breadth", as if that helps!
How many avenues are closed to shorties like me! We can only build castles in the air but can never become air hostesses, we end up only as an ‘also ran’ in beauty contests. Where does that leave us? School teachers and linen keepers. Those ‘wanted bride’ columns are also taboo for us, for, the basic qualification is ‘tall’! So we sit like patience on a monument waiting for a Prince Charming who needs a stool to get down from his horse to marry us!
'You are lucky to be short' says my friend Sheela talking from somewhere between the clouds. "You can buy any saree you like, whereas I have to wear only mill sarees." Like, it's true! Those, fashion Magazines say 'no big borders, no bold- prints, no geometrical designs - no bright colours', whereas for those tall ones — sky is the limit. They can wear anything and steal, the show. So there we go again in baby blue sarees with forget-me-nots.
Not for us too those 'groovy' elephant pants and flowing maxis unless we wear heels that feel like stilts. My sister writes that she shops for me in the 'Junior' section of the department stores in Germany.
My husband kept his keys above the wardrobe. He said it's to discourage me from reaching it and going through his pockets. Even my sons kept all their collection of moths and caterpillars on the top-most shelf of their cupboard.
But every cloud has a silver lining: When short people have some advantages. For one thing, we are believed to be younger than what we are. Then in buses, we need not stand for we can't reach the straps above, so someone takes pity and gives us a seat. In long queues we can look defenceless and jump the line. And best of all, in life we always ‘look up’ which is a more positive thing to do than ‘look down’ like the unfortunate tall ones do!