Saturday, 27 April 2013

Short and Sweet- The Sequel

So far you read about my problems with my lack of height.  I ended with "Don't I have ANY reason to be happy about being short?"
Answering my own question, let me explain scientifically:
Shorter people of the same proportions as taller people, have many physical advantages, say physicists.  Shorter people have faster reaction times, greater ability to accelerate body movements, stronger muscles in proportion to body weight, greater endurance.
They are also less likely to break bones in falling.
Substantial findings have been presented showing that shorter and smaller people live longer.  The reason for this is that bigger bodies have more cells and these cells are subject to replacement due to wear or damage.  Most human body cells have limited capacity for duplication. Since bigger people require a larger number of duplications to reach maturity, they have fewer potential cell doubling left to replace defective or dead cells. Thus the functional capability of vital organs declines with advanced age because damaged cells cannot be replaced.  A new study also showed that oxidative damage to cells increases at a higher rate with increasing height. The current thinking is that oxidative damage leads to aging and death.

Once, describing my woes in being short, I asked a question in the net if there are any advantages in being short. I was surprised to get many responses from taller people complaining about being tall.  One said, ”I am 6’4” and I haven’t been able to find a decent shirt or pair of pant in my size for years”. Many had similar problems of not finding appropriate clothes and shoes. Another said, vehicles are made for short people, and taller people found it uncomfortable to stretch their legs in buses or while sleeping on the berths of trains. One complained of bumping his head to the ceilings of buses every time he stood up. And as I mentioned earlier, someone said, shorter people are closer to the ground and they have lesser chances of hurting themselves as badly as taller people.  The best answer was that shorter people always look younger than they are.  And people are attracted to them especially if they are petite short females. Isn’t that a good advantage?
A thought that has frequently bothered me was, if people have acrophobia, do they feel dizzy whenever they look down?

          ‘Shorty’ – Most of the lot call me.  Sometimes I am the object of "Guess her age" contest. If some call me ‘tiny’ some others have certified me to be ‘the shortest gal in the college’.  The superlative used in it implying I am the only one of the kind, is fairly elating.  As for the other comments, I don’t move a hair.  Maybe I am used to it. I accept it as my identity, my uniqueness!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Short and Sweet

Being short is such a pain in the neck.  People call you names and tease you a lot if you are short.  You would think they will get bored and stop one fine day.  But that fine day never seems to come.  It will go on as long as you remain short.  In fact they get more and more creative in nomenclature.  Its really not fair.  Nobody teases tall people as much as they do to shorter people.  Taller people are admired for their height while shorter people are sneered at, as if it is all their fault that they are short.

Now why am I making the heights about heights? Well, it is because of my own height, or to be precise, the lack of it.  I have not received just one or two comments on my height. It grates on my nerves when people make use of my height as a standard unit for measurement, like, “She is quite taller than Nivedita”, “The shelf could be made up to Nivedita’s height”.  The worst was “Her temper is as short as Nivedita.”

It is very embarrassing when people so younger to me are taller than me.  They do not want to believe that I am older.  They even think they can bully me.
I still remember that middle school ‘kid’.  She was my friend’s cousin and so I knew her.  When I was in 11th standard, my friend left the school and this girl was left in my shoulders like an incarnation of Betaal. Not that I had any responsibility to take care of her, but that she pestered me a lot.
During lunch breaks when I would hang out with my friends chatting, I would feel a tap on my shoulder.  I would turn to find this girl standing about five feet six inches tall and proud!  “Haaaii…Nive…”, she would say dragging each syllable to 2-3 seconds. “Oh Hi..Wassup!”, I would try to say as brightly as possible, ignoring my friends smirking behind my back.  Now if both of us were in casual clothes, nobody would notice us.  But her uniform was skirt and shirt, and my salwar-kameez told how old I was and how small for my age too.  So people could not help but notice, give funny looks, turn and look again….and oh again or even point shamelessly, while I stood there feeling smaller than I was. She used to ask me almost everyday why I was so short. She did not ask because she wanted an answer to it, but merely for the pleasure of mocking me.  I would somehow shake her off, occasionally by the combined efforts of my friends.

          There was this system of forming lines at school, that everyone from kindergarten to 12th had to follow. It ceased to be strict as we went to higher classes but was compulsory for the lower grades.  We were to fold our arms across the chest, and some teachers would ask us to place the index finger on our lips (Some dared to whisper behind their fingers, while some fingers ventured to small noses ‘treasure hunting’. Heaven forbid!!).  Whatever they did, the line had to be maintained.  And this line was formed according to the height.  Now who would stand first in the line but for me?  Every year I led the line to PT classes, music classes, to the library, mess hall etc. “Stand in a line according to your height“, the teachers would shout.
As we grew, we formed lines only for PT classes. It was awful during mass drills.  Standing at the back, anyone can ape the person standing before him or her.  But being first in the line I had none to see from and had to learn the drills perfectly.  When there were chances to screw up in front of the whole batch, why risk?  Bunking was not an option at school then, though some students managed to develop pseudo allergies and sicknesses permanently.
          At least in the lower classes the teachers watched over us and maintained the line. But later on each stood where he or she wanted and there started the new line, branching from the main one.  When I stood first uncomfortably, the girl behind me would try to console me saying, “The line begins where YOU stand” I was not sure if it was true.

          Don’t I have ANY reason to be happy about being short?

About the Pensieve

Harry Potter readers would know what I am talking about.  For those who are not, let me give you a brief insight.  The wizard world has the benefit of storing their thoughts and memories.  One can pull strands of thoughts with his wand by pointing it at his temple, and store it in phials.  Pensieve is a basin into which you can pour these thoughts and by leaning into the basin you can revisit the scene of the memory and view it like watching a movie. Since we ‘muggles’ (the non-magical people), do not have that privilege, I am resorting to writing things down in order to preserve my memories and thoughts in this blog.  It may contain my experiences; expressing my opinions, moods, the craziest of my ideas or even the whims and fancies of my mind.  Happy reading!