Going by Indian standards, I am tall for a girl. At least for my generation. Aaaaah, I feel a sharp pain to admit that I belong to an older generation. But when there are people who are walking the earth for the first time, 25 years after you did, it is time to accept that you are growing old. Anyways, mez always been tall for a girl.
I dont know exactly when, like in the Complan ads, I became a growing girl and started shooting up. I think it was around the time I was living in Calcutta. I like to blame my height on the enriched Ganga water in Calcutta. Whether the Ganga-jal washed away my sins or not, it did a great job in making me taaallll. I was soon too tall for my age. Some impertinent people even had the audacity to ask if I had flunked a couple of classes when they found that I was not studying in as high a grade as they had expected looking at my height. Hmph!
Anyways, when I returned to Chennai, I was invariably the tallest girl in all of my classes. Not that I minded too much - being tall meant that you couldn't be asked to sit in the front of the class and I happily stuck to the back-benches. However, when everyone around you is shorter than you, you kinda start sticking out like a sore thumb. So there was this phase when I used to try to withdraw my head into my neck like a tortoise hoping to look shorter.
And then all these Miss.World and Miss.Universe contests happened with our own Indian beauties winning the prizes. And, all these beauty queens were taller than me and suddenly it was cool to be a tall Indian girl. Not that it changed the height of the people around me. But at least I did not feel quite so odd about my height any more.
Then it was time to go to college. I had only been in all-girls schools right from fifth grade. My college was co-ed and I thought, finally, many of my classmates (the guys) would be taller than me. Surprise, surprise. Turns out that the average height of the Indian male wasn't as high as I thought! Sigh! So while I was no longer the tallest in my class, I was still well above the height average. I finally settled down to being referred to as the "tall" one throughout my life.
Then two things happened. My cousins started growing up. And growing up. And Growing Up! All of my younger boy cousins have long since towered past my height while my girl cousins are not far behind. Now, when I almost get a neck-sprain while looking up and talking to some of them, I wish I was taller.
The second thing that happened was my arrival in the US. Here, far from being considered tall, I am just about near the average height. Note, I am not talking about the East Asians here. When in a crowd of pucca Americans, I sometimes even feel tiny - heheheh!
Hmm, why did all this suddenly pop into my head? Well, the other day, while at work, I was walking down a corridor and was just about to turn a corner. One of my American colleagues, G, came around the corner, reading something. So he did not notice me and though I had stopped, I was pretty sure that he would walk into me. So I instinctively put my hands in front my face to avoid a total collision. Fortunately he too stopped on time and there was no collision. As I walked past G, I thought about my reaction. Normally, to avoid a collision, I put my hands in front of my body and not my face. Then why did I shield my face this time? The answer struck me. It was because right in front my face was where G's torso was. I only came up to G's neck. Bye-bye, tall girl! Welcome, shortie!
p.s. I have purposely not mentioned my actual height in the post. Height is relative :-).