Twenty years ago there was no Internet and no PSP’s, people walked more for leisure rather than exercise. Kids played real street cricket rather than virtual street; when the most popular games were “chuppan-chupai”,(hide and seek)”pakdam-pakdai” (tag), “land or water” or “tokkudu billa” or hopscotch.

When the best treats we had were “orange goli” (boiled candy), popcorn,”kismibar”, a “cream roll” or “glucose biscuits” or a “goli soda”. We were not allowed to watch late night movies except on weekends that too with the entire family. Women ground flour, in the stone mill and chutneys with a mortar and pestle and didn’t have the luxury of full-time maids and kitchen processors. Men worked hard in the fields or any of their paternal business. Now most men and women have a cushy life cooling their derriere on a chair all day long, sipping cups of coffee and tucking into subway sandwiches.

I joined the gym four years ago when I had piled on the pounds and I was ashamed of my own size. I was always scrawny thin but then continued medication piled on the kilos. It was with great trepidation that I entered the gym and with the negative emotion of not losing any weight as I had almost given up on myself. But then within 3 months it was my niece’s wedding and I set small time goal and was lighter by 6 kgs by then. This was a great motivation for me and without a trainer within the next 12 months I lost 15 kgs without dieting. I felt so light on my feet and strutted around in all the clothes I wasn’t fitting into these past years. I thought I had achieved my goal and became complacent with life and with the gym. I have put on weight again these past few months due to minor accidents and age maybe and the battle of the bulge is again ON. It never ends’s a continued struggle.

I always keep to myself in the gym. Do my stuff and am out. One day I paused and looked around to watch my fellow gymmers. Each one was there with the same purpose-losing weight but the reasons for being there are varied.

There are –Males

  1. The Bodybuilder types who give the other men a real complex about their bodies.
  2. The pot-bellied businessman who is huffing and puffing to get rid of his signature tummy.
  3. The young hero who wants to be a macho man to impress the girls
  4. The teenage guy trying to ape his celluloid hero.
  5. The aging middle aged man trying to hold on to his youth by fighting the settling flab
  6. The aged Uncles who are fit but want to keep looking and feeling fit.
  7. Men who are there just because their friends are at the gym and it is fashionable to be seen there
  8. Men who come all dressed in the latest Reebok, Nike, and Adidas gear but dunno how to pronounce the names. They are loud and showy, throwing their weight around, ordering the trainers to hold their water bottle, napkins, and iPhones
  9. Then there are those who come just to ogle at the women and make a general nuisance of themselves.
  10.  There is this poor guy who is abnormally obese and can barely fit into the machines but is still trying to be regular and lose weight.
  11. The gadget show-offs who step onto the cardio machines with their latest iPods or funky earphones
  12. The health freaks who burn 600 to 800 calories on the treadmill and cross trainer and hardly give the others a chance to get onto the machines.
  13. Frowning husbands who are tossed out of bed and pushed out of the house by wives who are smart and want the same from their partners.

There are-Females

  1. Ladies who have put on weight after having their babies.
  2. Girls who are a little fat and want to get to a normal size to ensnare the perfect groom.
  3. Girls who are real thin but still obsessed by the size zero that Kareena endorses
  4. A really thin lady and a mother of a 5-year-old trying to PUT ON weight for a change.
  5. Really obese aunties who never thought twice before tucking into the tenth pakora(fritters) or desi ghee paranthas and now forced by the doc to sweat it out
  6. Girls with an hour glass figure giving the others a huge complex (me)
  7. Homemakers who finish all their chores and come to the gym at 11 am for some nice juicy gossip and a slow workout
  8. Working women leading a sedentary life at the office come to burn up all those pent up calories.
  9. Young teenage girls who are fed on butter and cheese and fast food by their loving moms and now realize that it’s piling on.
  10. The shy ladies who walk in the first day in a salwar kameez and dupatta(Indian ethnic dress) and by the end of the week you see them in Capri’s, ankle socks and a short tee
  11. The young lassies who come to the gym to feast their eyes on hunks in the gym.
  12. The serious fanatic ladies who workout as if there is no tomorrow and compete with the guys in the number of calories burnt.

There are those men and women too who come to the gym for a workout but never take the stairs to the second floor. They wait for the elevator and enter the gym and leave it too with their powdered noses intact! I can’t help but smile to myself.

All these and more dedicated body worshippers can be found in any gym these days. If only the good old days were back and there was no need to fight the battle of the bulge ever.

But I believe that “Thin people are beautiful, but fat people are adorable.”

Well if weight is a number then mine is unlisted!!



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