It was 5.50 a.m on a Monday morning.
“Budtameez dil yeh jawani hai deewani” from the new movie Jawani hai Deewani was blaring loudly. Several young and no so young men seemed to be doing some pointless activity such as lifting some heavy items and then putting them down. Some others were running on a continuously moving belt and going nowhere. Few gentlemen with rippling muscles were striding briskly up and down instructing few helpless individuals to contort their body in difficult directions.
This was the new Gym I had joined.
I walked in confidently into the new Gym I had joined due to cajoling and threat (to foot the bill) from my elder brother. It has six treadmills, five cycles (going nowhere), six steppers and several formidable looking machines to pull weights up and down (pointlessly and without any output from that machine), several benches in which a person could lie in impossible positions to lift weights of different kinds in odd directions.
I started serious gymming (going three or four times in a week) from the year 2000. It ensured that I could keep track of my regular increases in my body weight in a digital machine. This was more due to my irregular attendance than anything else.
Exercise, like much other physical activity, can be addictive. So, in any gym we will observe a few individuals who have enviable muscle filled body, cardboard stomach, chiseled face and so on. Most of such individuals are regulars who will be there when I reach the Gym and will be there an hour or so thereafter. (May be I am jealous).
Gyms have unisex (a coined word like KODAK) timings. This ensures that few plump girls and women with a motivation to shed some extra kilos also get up before the Sun God displays his presence and reach the Gym. For some unfathomable reason, they seem to gravitate to the rippling muscle category instructors with endless smiles and conversation being exchanged. Middle aged men (watching such exchanges) privately express disapproval at superficial appreciation/attraction by members of opposite sex when more eligible persons with better “grey cells” are around. I am too proud to agree to such ideas. I know that my grey matter is far superior and it is their loss and not mine.
There is an irony here which escapes most individuals. Much of the early part of life (till mid 30s) is spent in ignoring the signals which our body sends. We skip breakfast or gulp it down hurriedly (my colleague eats it in the car on the way to office). Lunch is not savored in a leisurely manner and is mostly an intrusion in between busy office schedule. Evening snacks consists of unhygienic street food or deep fried and tasty items which settle down in potentially protruding parts of the body. Night dinner is for gorging all that is missed during the day. The results slowly become visible after a person crosses 35. But remedial action starts at best 10 years thereafter. By that time the waist size crosses 34 inches or 36 inches. Then it is a serious and mostly losing or lost “battle of the bulge”.
I have a theory that other things being the same, a lean and fit person has a better chance of getting a new job break as compared to a person leaning towards obesity or an outsize waist. May be a subjective idea, but no harm is putting a doubt in every readers mind and make them look at their waist with a more critical eye.
My personal experience with guided exercise is that it keeps the mind and body alert for a longer time, assists in reducing hypertension and perhaps cholesterol. It is a good antidote for depression.
I have told Padma that like employment, there should be a retirement age for Gym and I will stop gymming when I touch 60 and my employer bids me good bye. Then I will amble through the garden at a leisurely pace. She seems to hold the view that I would become a (more) corpulent mass of indolent and immobile flesh hanging around the house staring vacantly at TV (all MIL/DIL – mother in law and daughter in law- serials in several languages). So my visits to Gym could continue for a longer time.
All this does not deter me from pointing out causally to those who matter that I am up around 5.00 am, rush to Gym where a PT (personal trainer) puts me through a tough regime (tough due to past misuse and abuse of our body) three days a week and balance three days I do Cardio exercises. I am sure others are envious of my ‘disciplined’ approach at an age when ambling pointlessly at certain hours are equated to strenuous physical activity.
I look taller (the stoop has disappeared, though family doubts this claim), slimmer ( my old pants also fit me well), with a more fit body and mind- at least that is what I believe.
Well lazy bones yonder, follow my lessons.