Ask Bhabi Ji: Will My Indian In Laws Accept Me If I’m Fat?
Updated: Oct 11
In this series 'Ask Bhabi Jii' I publish questions from readers along with my response based on my opinion and personal experience. I encourage fellow readers to reach out and share your experiences and opinions so that it may assist the writer and any future readers in similar circumstances.
In the interest of privacy the writer's identity will always be kept anonymous. Therefore questions are edited to change any information that may be revealing. No nasty or distasteful comments will be accepted, this is a supportive community to share experiences with no judgement.
Will My In Laws Accept Me If I’m Fat?
This post has been modified to focus on only one of the reader’s questions, as many of the questions have been answered in previous posts.
Dear The White Punjabi Bride,
You were what I needed to read about, thank you. I have so many questions.
I’ve been dating my beautiful Sikh Punjabi man for a year now. His father passed away years ago and his mother is happy that I’m trying to learn her recipes and replicate them. Which I love! But we are headed to India soon. I love this man so much so that I’m soooo scared to meet his family. He’s met my parents a few times now, they’ve visited us a few times and we’ve also visited them. Which I’m so grateful for!
However we’re headed to India soon and I very much want to impress her. I’ve been to rural towns and cities across Asia such as China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea,Vietnam, but never India. The culture obviously differs between cultures albeit they’re similar, however I was travelling with work so the circumstances are different. I’m worried about impressing his family and being comfortable. I want to show my love for him and his family. I already know so much about them and care for them deeply.
I have many questions but my main concern if you could help is;
I’m what most people would consider fat. Will his family be concerned about my body size and comment about it? You look like a gorgeous woman. But you know meeting the in laws is a lot of pressure and trying to figure out outfits can get you down. I’m usually a confident woman, but because of my larger figure I’ve had people comment on my size when I traveled to other Asian countries. Naturally it hurt, but we were there for business and I let it go. Though I’m worried, are people going to laugh at me for my size?
It's lovely to hear from you.
That's exciting to hear that you are travelling to India to meet your in laws. I assure you that you will have an amazing time albeit it can be overwhelming at times. I can tell you I was not slim on my first visit to India when I met my partners family.
My partner ,ashamedly, pleaded with me to lose weight before I arrived in India, given he was worried about me fitting in. Since majority of people are naturally slim due to their active lifestyle and healthy diet, which is simply due to culture rather than them actively being mindful of their weight. As a result of this my partner was worried I wouldn’t handle this well emotionally since Punjabi’s are very blunt and upfront. Due to the cultural barriers they don’t realise they’re being rude by doing so. Though you shouldn't let what others think worry you, as people should love you for you.
During my first stay in India, my partner’s friends and family would call me 'motto'. Which is supposed to be an endearing word they use to call a chubby little baby. It essentially means round as I understand. Every time my friends and family would greet me, they would pinch my cheeks and call me motto and tell me how cute my round round face was. It didn't really bother me too much, as I was happy to have a bond with his friends and family. I also knew that they meant it in a loving manner.
However what did bother me is how people would talk about my weight. During my second stay in India I was back to my usual size and everyone would comment on how much weight I had lost and how I used to be such a fatty. It was like a backhanded compliment always smacking me in the face. They would basically say to me, "You are so skinny now, you used to be so fat!" which was their way of saying you look good now.
They didn't understand how rude it was to be insulting me whilst complimenting me at the same time. Especially since during my first stay they would tell me how beautiful I am and so on, which to me was rescinded when they would tell me how fat I used to be. Besides the weight gain had been a side effect of medication that I had been taking and no longer needed. Once I stopped the medication I immediately lost the weight again. So it wasn't nice to be reminded of that all the time.
Though just because I had that experience doesn't mean that you will. I just happen to be fortunate and be married to a man that is obsessed with gym, therefore so are all his mates. Don't let your weight ruin your time in India as you should just enjoy yourself and let your true beauty shine through. That is all that matters. If they see how much of a lovable and caring person you are then that is all his mother will care about. There are big women in India too not everyone is skinny.
But I will add that being big busted and a larger size in India made it impossible to actually buy clothes that fitted. Clothes also fitted differently as many are designed for a slim figure therefore look entirely different when worn on a larger figure. It was a nightmare as Indian women are so petite and they have no bust, even larger Indian women seem to have smaller busts. So I had to get everything tailor made. Even shoe shopping was difficult with wide feet. Therefore you too may have to get outfits tailor made. Which is what the locals do anyway, they don't tend to shop online like I do.
I hope you enjoy your time in India and hopefully this helps to some extent. I'd love to hear how everything goes when you return.
The White Punjabi Bride
Dear The White Punjabi Bride,
Thank you so much for your thorough and honest response! I have checked out some more articles on your blog since I contacted you. It is definitely helpful to hear your thoughts and experiences! I appreciate you getting back to me and your advice.
Thanks again! I will let you know how it goes!
Dear The White Punjabi Bride,
A while (years) ago I wrote to you about meeting my Punjabi boyfriend’s mother and family. Your quick advice helped me gain courage and insight, in the end everything went well. We are about to celebrate two years married and I thank you for my relationship with his amazing mother.
I can cook amazing food for us, although not as good as her but she taught me so much. Your reply to my email helped me navigate my first time in india with my boyfriend and meeting his family. I just needed some confidence before that first meeting and you helped so much.
Although I haven’t been following your blog I was thinking about it tonight and was happy to see you’ve still been posting. I will read up on what’s going on with you but I appreciate you writing back a couple years ago when I was terrified to meet his mother.
I hope you’re well and I thank you for helping me in a scary moment.
This is why I love doing what I do. It’s amazing to hear all the good news stories that people have and to be a part of that. Thanks to this reader who still kept in touch years after they first contacted me. Although I may not always be able to get in touch immediately, as raising a toddler and keeping a husband happy take up a lot of my time, I will always endeavour to respond. I’m also always checking my inbox even if I may not be actively posting. So please do reach out.
So what do you lovely readers think?
Have you been criticised for being a larger figure when in India?
Has your weight impacted your relationship with your in laws? I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts on the matter.
If you have a question or would simply like to share your experience, then be sure to contact me. I’d love to hear from you.