A for alluring, B for buxom, C for curvylicious -twenty-one year-old artist Apurva Pandey’s body shaming dictionary redefines women and how! Drawing from her personal experiences, Apurva’s project, `She Talks Buxom’ highlights issues faced by Indian women on the `heavier side’. “I’ve been through a lot of body shaming as I weighed around 80 kilos when I was a teenager. I always wanted to lose weight, which I did when I moved out of home for further studies,“ she recounts. “I was told that I looked `prettier’. It made me think -does fat mean ugly?
The association of beauty with body weight has always been beyond my understanding,“ adds the artist.A student of architecture, Apurva’s hobby of sketching and drawing led to the birth of the project. Armed with markers and fashion magazines, she started drawing voluptuous women over ideal models’ figures. “It was a travel pas time activity , where I ended up learning anatomy in the process,“ she says.

Giving details on how she started working on the project, the artist says, “I began with doodling. Then I started adding colours and fancy drapery -a swimsuit, to be precise. Later, I drew nudes and added more details. Since I belong to a typical Indian family , wearing short skirts and dresses was prohibited, as I wasn’t thin. So, I took revenge and made sure that my women wore short dresses.“

And what’s her folks’ reaction to that?
“There is no artist in my family -only doctors and engineers. But my father has always been supportive of me.Even when he saw my sketches, which were mostly nudes, he was pretty chill about it. In fact, just a while ago, he bought me a canvas.My mom wasn’t so okay with it initially -she was awkward -but has made peace with it,“ says Apurva.

During a talk to a bunch of students from Ramnarain Ruia College, the project connected in a big way with the young girls there. “The experience has been empowering and changed me as a person. I have stopped complaining about my body and am more comfortable in my skin,“ says Apurva, adding that even men have written to her about the proj ect. While she’s pondering over the offer to come up with her own merchan dise, she also hopes that body shaming gets the attention it needs. “It’s a sensitive topic.

But the current situation in India is so terrible that it’s not even considered an issue as we h a v e many oth er problems that need to be addressed,“ she concurs.