Every day, people who are beyond a certain weight or considered ‘fat’ in societal terms get nasty or funny looks, even in this day and age when social media is abuzz with concepts of body positivity.
That’s where Delhi-based duo Ameya Nagarajan and Pallavi Nath hope their podcast Fat.So? will help. While they are not trying to break barriers or reform society, they are certainly hoping to open some minds, and help some people escape internalised fat-phobia while appreciating and accepting themselves and their bodies.
37-year-old Ameya, who lives in Delhi but is originally from Hyderabad, and works for a media development startup, recalls, “A common (now) friend hosts these incredible events in Delhi through a project called Gather Around Sisters. They are women-only events and usually centre on themes and issues that concern us and our experiences. I went to one on journalling about a year ago, and then to a few more. Pallavi hosted the evening on being fat, and I was very excited to go. That’s where I felt a connection with her and we got going and became good friends.”
Meanwhile, 40-year-old Pallavi, who is divorced, self-employed and also living in Delhi, has a 17-year career in the corporate world apart from being a lifestyle coach. She has been on the body positivity journey since 2014 and all the conversations she has had on the subject reveal that even talking about the issue has an impact on people and their thinking — fat or not, everyone ultimately wants to be at peace with their body.
When Pallavi pitched the idea of a podcast, Ameya already knew the founders of Suno India, so they collaborated on the project and brought it to life. Describing the content of their podcast, Ameya says, “Our main intent is to fight the fat-phobia that is deeply ingrained in society. We talk about all the facets of our experiences as fat women, and other people’s as well.”
However, it has not been without its share of challenges. “The main challenge we have faced while collaborating has been being in the same place to record. We both have busy lives, and we both travel, but that’s where technology helps,” she explains.
When everyone is joining the YouTube bandwagon to get their voices heard, the duo has taken a more nuanced approach. “A YouTube channel involves far more investment of time and money and is not as intimate as a podcast. This is also a very difficult subject to discuss. The beauty of the podcast is that it creates a space of intimacy, you feel like you’re sitting there in the same room with the host and they’re talking directly to you, while the host enjoys a degree of distance and anonymity that video would not have,” shares Ameya.
So have these podcasts altered any relationships or situations? “There’s been no negativity towards it. In fact, we have seen overwhelmingly positive responses from friends and family. It has been emotional and affirming,” says Ameya, who adds that even audiences have responded with a great deal of love and support. On a more personal note, she reveals that she loves returning to Hyderabad to stay with her parents in Vayupuri, and to eat biryani and Osmania biscuits. “People love my style, which I owe to fabrics like Mangalgiri and Ikat, all bought in Hyderabad,” she concludes.