The Preface-Prologue-Disclaimer Thingy –
Ok. My first blog. Big deal right? (Not!) Nowadays many want to do it. Most don’t do it coz they don’t find a good topic to start with. C’mon lets face it, others don’t want to know when you woke up today or why you scratch your *** only in odd numbers right away! I found myself in a similar dilemma. I did plan to write about heavy metal, a Tarantino movie, White Tiger (which I still haven’t read btw) or any other pop-centric trivialities, as most do write about them and others (me included) write pithy comments under them. Its not that I won’t write about them (chances are they’ll be all I’ll write about), its just that I needed a simple idea. Coz I don’t know how these things go- their length, their content, their punctuation (or the lack of) or the optimum funny-ness in every para. So I chose ‘me being fat’. Coz that’s the only thing I have truly done in quite sometime-be fat. What follows is a mostly true partly fictitious account of my coming-of-weight episode. Also try and not get distracted by the rather liberal use of brackets. (I’ll use less of those in the next one!)
The Catch-38 Thingy-
On January 5th 2009 (totally made up !) while I was looking at myself in the mirror (don’t ask why) I realized that I am fat. It was more like OMG I AM FAT! An epiphany of sorts. As the seconds passed I realized why most people addressed me with apparent misnomers like fatso, jad, jadya, gubbya, mote, lathth among (many) others. As (a few more seconds passed) I thought about it and it occurred to me that they all were true. Why I was Alok’s chubby friend or Anuj’s big-boned brother or the healthy fella at Nikhil’s wedding or That Fat Guy On Third Floor (ok…you get the gist right?) I felt guilty. I remembered all those moments of honesty in which I told myself ‘You don’t fit into those jeans anymore…..buy new ones’. I got the answer to the seemingly rhetorical question- ‘Mirror mirror on the wall…who’s the fattest of them all?’ (Overkill?…)
I got over the moment (rather quickly) and found myself standing on our very loyal weighing machine hoping for a refuge. That bastard! That twofaced, back-stabbing liar! ‘Omega-R200’-us you too!! I couldn’t believe it. I was 82kg! Overweight by 17kg. That’s a lot for my rather small, vertically challenged stature. But why? I always considered myself to be on the wrong side of seventies. This was just unacceptable. I was not planning for this. I had never planned for this. As I dug deeper into my loose T-shirt and my mind for a remotely conceivable reason I realized (yet again) that it was inevitable.
For the last year and a half I had lead a life of absolute freedom. You see I was working in Bangalore. Where beer flows like water and people drink it like water. The quintessential pub-infested, rock loving Shangri-La that undergrads long to be in. In Bangalore it is hip to be fat (pun not intended!). IT geeks come together on weekends and chant ‘If you are fat then you are doing well. Then why not eat more, so more you will swell. If you are not fat….work harder and catch up rat!’ This ill stated maxim guarantees a 38 inch waist if not a promotion. These IT geeks flaunt their bulging waist lines like sultry starlets do with their plunging necklines. Flab is a sign of opulence. May be the following can perhaps elaborate on this:
IT Geek 1: Hey look at my waistline. I got the Catch-38
ITG 2: Been there done that. I did that last quarter. I’m a 40 now!
ITG 3 (To 1 and 2): Keep it down you two! Did you see the email HR has sent us? We need to have an average of 41 from last Feb. Else all our leaves will be cancelled!
ITG1: Damn it…Hey isn’t that our T.L. Mr. Lippofatsrulerao. He’s a 42. They say he’s trying hard for a 44.
ITG 1, 2 & 3 (together) :Sighhhh …
Well such conversations can be overheard quite frequently. So I was quite intrigued with the Catch-38. I mean who wouldn’t? You get to have two of the three best things there are-beer and money (third being girls). I was hooked. I started drinking beer with monotonous regularity. I went to beer-buffets. And beer makes you hungrier (a world known fact!). So I used to order the cheapest side dish available in pubs-finger chips. Also, after a delightful evening at the pub why ruin it with a heavy dinner? McDonalds, KFC here I come!
In retrospect I can only say,” It figures!” (Quite literally!).
With renewed enthusiasm I started to think on deciding when I should join a gym…..fourth attempt in the last eighteen months (the previous three were compromised because of my rising faith in the now fabled Catch-38). Joining a gym is a natural response to any urban youth dealing with weight issues. So like any other urban youth I confirmed with this established notion and decided to join a gym. Me and a couple of other guys, in our college days had always fancied joining a cool gym with a spa and a lounge. Me and my buddies wanted to join such a gym primarily to gawk at the girls (who appeared out of nowhere) who adorned the treadmills and the blessed ‘aerobics floor’. These things were now reachable (not affordable) since I had made a few bucks by tricking an MNC into hiring me.
Without my friends (who are a 40 and a 41 now….rich buggers) I joined the most renowned fitness club in the city called ‘Exorbitance’. It was love at first sight. The gym is in a multiplex. They have a greeting desk where members have to do a fingerprint check to punch their attendance. They have glass cabin which sells those frighteningly big cans of whey or wheytever and have pictures of even more frightening guys with impossible abs and biceps. The men’s changing room is bigger than my previous gym. The person at the ‘greeting desk’ even farts in English. All the ‘Customer Relationship Executives’ are female (my first sight!). One such Petite, Impressive, Mod and Pretty C.R.E approached me. I think our conversation went like this:
P.I.M.P. C.R.E.: Good Morning Sir! How are you today?
ME: Oh…Good Morni….
P.I.M.P. C.R.E.: Is there anything I can help you with?
ME: Yes….I was planning to joi…..
P.I.M.P. C.R.E.: Please follow me in to the office Sir.
(I am pleased to follow her into the office)
P.I.M.P. C.R.E.: Yes Sir. You were saying?
ME: Yes….I was planning to joi…..
P.I.M.P. C.R.E.: This is our membership inquiry catalogue.(handing it over to me)
ME (going through the membership inquiry catalogue): Ummm…
P.I.M.P. C.R.E. (without being asked): Sir the weightloss batch is included in our regular hours.
ME (without taking offense): Oh…ok….then I think I’ll opt for tha….
P.I.M.P. C.R.E.: Will that be cash or card Sir?
I was out of the office in less than three minutes with a considerable deficit in my already desiccating finances when an intimidating man with burly muscles approached me and introduced himself as Chandrashekhar. The P.I.M.P. C.R.E. then happily informed me that ‘C’ will be ‘handling’ me. ‘C’-as helpful as he was- took me through a guided tour of the gym. He showed me all the machines and their use. He also informed me that in my ‘case’ I should do more of calorie-burning exercises (which basically meant that I will be confined to the fat corner). My workout for that day was
1. Jogging for five minutes
2. Elliptical cycle for five minutes
3. Lifting miniscule looking dumbbells over my head in a variety of rigid patterns
4. And stretching-apparently the most important one ! (I couldn’t get my hands below my knees)
I went home that day totally exhausted. I decided to stop eating junk food (my first idea was to stop eating), stop snacking, no drinks- NO BEER! It was a sacrifice I had to make in order to dissociate myself from the other f-word.
It’s been almost a month now since I joined Exorbitance (I think the name is making sense now!). I have not missed a single day. I haven’t lost a single kg. But I have learned that cardio-exercise and thrash metal is a pair made in heaven. With Hetfield and Mustaine screaming in your ears who wouldn’t be charged with energy? I still gawk a girls on the treadmills. I want to be back in the comfortable seventies. I want to use those discarded jeans again (yes I still have those….everybody does). I want a helmet that fits. I want my relatives to recognize me at a wedding. I want to look in the mirror without an epi-funny. I dont want a 38 inch waist anymore. I want to be thin again.
J. Heller Forever.