From the minute Dolly set foot in our office, I knew it was going to be a really chilled out interview. I immediately felt comfortable because I knew I’m meeting a woman who brought with her so much positivity, it made me want to pack my bags and leave office right away and do absolutely nothing later . Her personality was as bright as her coloured hair that is now a shade of lightish pink which was once a bright hue of red.
What’s so special about Dolly Singh? Why was she in our studio? What excuse must she have made in her office [A media company] when she left to meet us? All heads turned when she changed into her Yoga gear, spread that mat and showed us what determination turns you into.
Meet Dolly. She isn’t India’s ‘Ideal looking woman’. Her sports bra isn’t Size S, neither do her hips lie. And that’s exactly why she’s what India needs right now. By now, you may be anticipating to find out what Dolly’s sob story is. Well, sorry to pop your bubble but guess what? Dolly never had a sob story to tell. All she had was a bag full of clothes and a wandering mind that led her to new places every time she decided to.
Until one day, when she sprained her leg and she had to visit the Doctor who asked her it’s time for her to lose some weight. “My sister must have fed the Doctor something, because he just looked at me and said, Dolly, you’re a woman, you need to lose weight or all this travelling of yours will have to end. And I couldn’t part with the thought that I will never be able to travel again. So I decided, weight lose karna haina? Ho jayega!”
Dolly hired a functional trainer who put her through a rigorous diet and ensured she stuck to it. But Dolly being Dolly, she wanted something more. She wanted something interesting. And that’s when Yoga happened.
But before she chose Yoga as her life partner, she had a lot of options in her hand. She tried Zumba classes and realized she has two left feet. She claims Pilates are the worst and she’s clueless about how people are still selling it in the market, she liked kickboxing, she took up running, but finally found her peace in Yoga.
Dolly was 110 Kgs before she found the love of her life which got her down to 73 Kgs in almost a year.
The best part about Dolly’s story is the fact that she always had a support system. Her mother would shut every nosy neighbour aunty up when they asked Dolly when she’d get married. “Wo bohot paise kama rahi hai, usko shadi karne ki zaroorat nahi hai,” says the mother, which automatically makes Dolly’s mother the sassiest mother in India. Her friends never found her different then or now, which clearly pisses her off because, “Dude, I’ve worked so hard to get where I am. At least tell me I look different now,” she says jovially.
And now for the main part – Giving up food. How traumatic was that for Dolly?
“It wasn’t a bitter experience for me at all. Itna mujhe stress kabhi nahi laga. I cook my own food now. I take my ingredients to work and cook there too. I make sure I get the best of ingredients from the best market. What clothes do to most women, vegetables do to me. You can see me mesmerized by a vegetable market in any given city/country. My pallet doesn’t crave for junk anymore. In fact, it’s been 4 years since I’ve eaten in McDonalds,” says Dolly, the last statement was followed by a huge gasp from everybody who surrounded her in the studio.
When asked about managing her social life whilst religiously doing Yoga, managing her job and cooking for herself, she has her head in the game – “I’ve reached a position where if I feel like I don’t need to meet/socialize or mingle with someone, I won’t do it. I make sure my job doesn’t take away my 10:30 PM sleep from me. I need to be in bed at that time at least 4 times a week.” And yet again, I start wondering, what do I do at 10:30 PM? I’m leaving from work. That’s what I’m doing.
Dolly, like every second woman, believed she isn’t ‘pretty looking’, hence, she had to over-compensate for everything. She was good at everything else in school. Elocution, debates, everything that required her to talk. She made sure she never felt the need to change herself. Yet, we wonder, how many women, unlike Dolly, manage to win over their insecurities and rise to become the personalities that they are? Well, we hope Dolly gives all those ladies a message through her actions.
Our eyes are conditioned to see already fit-looking women do Yoga wearing hot, tight, body hugging Yoga Gear in parks. It’s like those Veet ads where women who have no hair are shown shaving like they’ve been hairy bears. So when Dolly visits a park in Bandra and lays her mat on the grass, in her bright coloured Yoga Gear, doing headstands and curling up into a ball, of course she gets stared at. You’ll get stared at even if you’re thin and lanky wearing a hijab. But that was the least of Dolly’s worries. Because she was never conditioned to feel conscious about her weight. And that’s the beauty of being comfortable in your skin.
Dolly made a lot of friends in the park, most of whom were oldies, who started coming to her for tips. She loves the attention because she’s setting a trend and an example amongst people who aren’t used to seeing heavy bodied women do Yoga in parks.
And if Dolly’s life isn’t interesting enough for you, here are some personal things she shared with us –
What’s her favourite guilty food – Ice cream.
Things she didn’t give up after her diet – Chicken and Fish and her determination, of course.
Her favourite fat joke (because it’s okay to take a joke on yourself) – “I haven’t heard any that caught my attention because if someone tries to be snarky with me, I make sure I give it back to you so hard, you’ll feel miserable after it.”
Her future plans – Reach home on time and do an hour of Yoga.
Where can you find her being her fabulous self? – On Instagram here.
Here’s why I chose to narrate Dolly’s story today, on Women’s Day. I’ve been told how I’ve gained weight and need to lose weight constantly since a year. Btw, I am 5’7 and weigh 64 kgs. That’s almost 3 kgs underweight for my body type. But I have a belly that refuses to go back to where it came from courtesy my horrible lifestyle and job that gets my ass glued on the chair like a makkhi on jalebi. The point being, if someone as lanky as me is reminded everyday about being fat, imagine thousands of people struggling to find peace with themselves in their own skin. Imagine staying in a room filled with people you don’t like. Now imagine trapped in a body that belongs to you, yet doesn’t feel like yours.
Sucks, doesn’t it? Dolly’s story is an inspiration to many like her who don’t really give a shit about what others think of them. It’s a story every parent should read because every child should be raised like Dolly’s parents raised her.
On Women’s Day, we hope one story inspires you to get comfortable with who you are, what you do. Never settle down in life. Never settle for less, never let the world tell you how to live. Do it, and show them how it’s done.