The other day, a friend of mine dropped in. It was more than a decade since I saw him last. I extended him a hearty welcome and asked him to take a seat. He sat down and his eyes sized me up to my utter discomfort. ‘My god’ he said at last. The conversation started. ‘You must be at least 15 kgs overweight’ he told me after giving me a look from top to toe. ‘You must knock it off your system as quickly as possible’ he added. ‘Do you think so?’ I asked him. ‘Everyone who looks at you will think so’ ‘You are also liberally endowed though not as liberally as I am’ ‘I am just 2kg overweight’ he answered me. Liar! ‘Let us stop this mutual weighing game. With all that fat you are carrying, you are on your way to disaster’ ‘What disaster?’ ‘At your age, every kg of excess weight means one year knocked off your life span’ ‘So for 15 kg overweight, should I multiply it by 15?’ ‘Cut all that crap. Can’t you see I am serious?’ ‘If I reduce my weight by 20 kgs, will I live beyond 100?’ ‘Tell me, what are you eating everyday’ ‘Food’, I said. I could see his blood vessels knotting themselves on his forehead. ‘Ok, ok, I eat rice with the usual paraphernalia.’ ‘Three times a day?’ ‘It would be four times on Sundays and holidays declared by the government’ ‘At your age, you must take life a little more seriously. You must cut down rice and eat millets’ “But I don’t like their colour’ I like pure while things like polished rice’ ‘Polished rice is great disaster. When it concerns your life, don’t be too colour consciouses’ ‘I am not. When I was young, I wore shirts of all hue. I used to be a trendsetter. I was the first one to introduce bleeding Madras cloths in the college’ “We are talking about food’, he reminded me. ‘Do you eat papaya?’ he asked me. ‘You mean those shapeless fruits?’ ‘They may be shapeless but they are good for your shape and health too’ ‘How many glasses of water you drink daily?’ he went on with his probing into my dietary habits. ‘I don’t keep a count. Three glasses a day perhaps’ ‘At three glasses a day, you would have died of dehydration long back in Chennai heat’ he said and laughed at my stupidity. ‘Plenty of water will help you to lose weight by keeping your system clean’ ‘You know there is serious water shortage in this area. We have been advised to take bath once in two days and drink not more than four glasses of water daily’ ‘I know there is that problem’ he admitted condescendingly. ‘I think we should discuss all these health issues only after the water situation eases here’, I said in an effort to divert his mind from my fat torso. ‘Do something about your size’ he advised me and rose up to leave. He loosened a button in his shirt as he rose and said that it was stitched long back. ‘Shirts tend to shrink over a period of time, you know’ he added smilingly and took leave of me.