The word ‘fat’ had followed me around like a shadow since I was eight years old. That year, my mother brought home Japanese karaage, or fried chicken, and from the very first moment I bit into those juicy hunks of meat I developed an addiction to them. I devoured them every chance I got. Needless to say, I ballooned in a short span of time. As a kid who towered at one hundred and seventy-five centimetres and tipped the weighing scale at eighty-eight kilograms, I became the object of ridicule in school. The constant name-calling and taunting destroyed my self-esteem. For the life of me, I just couldn’t understand why I was being picked on for enjoying an activity that evoked unbridled happiness. Once, I was having lunch by myself at the canteen when one of my bullies marched up to me and hectored: ‘Move, fatty. I want to sit here.’ Now powerless against the blood-curdling fury in me, I spat the spoonful of rice that was in my mouth at him. I can still remember the ensuing look of shock on his face. The only thing I regretted was wasting precious food on him — I felt so good about this act of defiance. That particular bully never bothered me again.