April 22, 2015 12:00:24 am
Restaurant consultant Diya Sethi wasn’t always interested in food. At 15, she was anorexic and affected by bulimia. Yet more than 25 years later, her story in The Addict is one of triumph. In her memoir, which will be launched in the city on Thursday, Sethi chronicles the decade-long struggle with the disorder.
The daughter of a diplomat, Sethi spent her early years in China, Malaysia, UAE and France. By the age of nine, she had moved three schools, and it was in Kuala Lampur that the first strains of a disorder took root in her body. Subjected to frequent racist jibes, she sought solace in food and when the weight became noticeable, the downward spiral begun. At 15, she had become an anorexic, and vomiting her guts out had become not just an escape route, but a form of induced ‘high’.
Visits to the psychiatrist did little to allay her addiction, swallowing food felt like “having a fish bone lodged in the throat”; endoscopies became routine.
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While studying international business administration in London, the disorder was supplemented by binge drinking. “I used alcohol as a crutch, it gave me forced courage,” says the Delhi-based consultant. She also had a stint at a recovery centre in England, which she criticises for their failed 12-step approach. “Finding a vaid is a good alternative,” says Sethi, who recovered better after she followed an ayurvedic treatment in Delhi.
Through her struggle, her parents and brother were her biggest support. It was her father who suggested the idea of attending culinary school. Though she claims that she didn’t know how to even boil an egg, she joined Le Cordon Bleu in London in 2000 and graduated with a culinary arts degree two years later.“By then, every taste and sensation became a magical experience. Learning how to cook felt exciting and right. Today, I’m a restaurant consultant today and have a very pure relationship with food,” she says.
Sethi hopes her book, which took over three years to finish, inspires hope and acceptance.
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