The bugle was sounded…the battle cry was heard…Conflict was imminent …I had declared war… There wias to be a full fledged battle…the <?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = ST1 /><ST1:CITY><ST1LACE>Battle </ST1LACE></ST1:CITY>of the BULGE II. There had been a <ST1:CITY><ST1LACE>Battle </ST1LACE></ST1:CITY>of the Bulge I in 2002, the historic details of which I shall chronicle later. How complacent I had been all these years…avoiding looking at anywhere below my face in the mirror…I hadn’t realized that I have a mammoth problem in my hands…er… I mean… all over! It all started with the <ST1LACE>Europe </ST1LACE>tour that was in the cards… Someone said, ‘You better get some jeans. It will be very cold there.’ I had planned to visit <ST1LACE>Europe </ST1LACE>a la K.R. Vijaya…as my jeans days constitute my medieval history…nope…prehistoric era as the historic part of my existence began after I conceived the twins. ‘Watch out,’ said Rat, my sister… ‘You may not get your size anymore…I found it difficult to get my size…so …!’ Hello!’ I told her… 'Speak for yourself,’ ignoring my ‘obelixity’. Well… A fatso and her illusions are soon parted! After my Herculean efforts at getting into a dozen different pairs of jeans…, I found one my size – with a tag saying L ... er...with a few kisses thrown beforehand…Ahhh! I looked myself inside the trial roomfitted with mirrors all around! Oh my! I could see that I had problems ahead…Sigh! I had problems behind as well! When did I start becoming the store house of unadulterated lard? Why didn’t I pay attention when people had in the past suggested that walking is good for health. I had thought they were uttering aphorisms. Now I know…they had been subtly warning me. Okay…I told the big tubs of lard all around me! You are going to shed some of these tons… you and you…and you! I decided to diet and exercise even if it killed me… Reaching home, I purposefully strode towards the contraption in the corner of the bedroom. I removed the towels and Sarees I had hung on the handles of our treadmill. I removed the cartons of paraphernalia we had stacked on the belt. 'Okay,' I said…'The bugle has been sounded…It is war now… ' 15 minutes on the confounded treadmill and I came to know that the battle strategy was wrong. For one thing, it was boring to walk on it because you never got anywhere even after walking for such a long time. And the dull wall that stared back at you was no inspiration to reduce. Maybe I needed a pin up of models who look deadly thin. Besides…my phone kept ringing and if I didn’t answer, the mobile would ring and if I didn’t answer that , the call would go to the neighbour, who would ring the doorbell…It was too complicated a communication system. Rat gave me an idea. Why don’t you walk to Al Falah Plaza every morning? And buy yourself a box of salad from there? Eat that for the day. Seemed like a good idea. So every morning I walked to the mall…25 minutes…shopped for 15 minutes…walked back carrying my shopping …30 minutes. Okay…Operation ‘Walkan hour’ on! The only hitch was that I had started spending an average of 10 to 15 Dirhams everyday. Very expensive exercise regimen. Anyway…I stuck to it. the shopping part was the incentive. And I found could survive on fruits, oatmeal and salads… and I did . But then RP took me out to lunch in Chappan Bog where I had a punjabi thali…and Poof! All the good I had done in the past week went down the drain! In the evening I went out with Mangala to shop for some shirts… The whole world seemed to be obsessed with size or the lack of it! I mean there was nothing in a mall that a decent fat person could wear ! It was so unfair! I mean, look at the Russians..look at the average Americans…They are huge but they get clothes to wear…Why was it that in this part of the country all clothes were made for those who had the stature of the Chinese or the Philipinos? Why can’t they store clothes for normal…I mean slightly larger…okay…okay… for XXXXL women??? If the consumer is the king…there should be king-sized apparels, as well… right? I demand my pound of flesh …Now wipe that silly smile off your face…I have pounds of flesh to spare, I was just being metaphorical!