Monday, June 18, 2012

Dumbbells and Whistles

Long, long ago...I had written this post about Yoga . I had been coerced into taking up Yoga because my mother felt I needed some form of 'Anger Management' (She caught me fighting with an auto-driver just outside the house...and using some interesting words in Hindi..most of which she didn't understand, but was smart enough to infer from the context and decide that immediate intervention was needed.)

 But there is just something about group exercise classes and live music singers that triggers the giggle button within me. I can neither exercise well, nor can I sing like a rockstar...but being part of either, makes me giggle uncontrollably...resulting in awkward consequences. (During this one dinner, I ended up sitting right in front of a ghazal singer...and chortled through my meal so diligently, I'm sure he was mentally singing a dirge before the night was over.) So while I'll be graceful enough to admit that yoga did help me, I had decided that I would never join group exercise classes again. Ever.

And then, in the words of a teenaged memory obsessed with Britney Spears..Oops, I did it again! This time, I joined the epitome of group exercise classes. The one place where you are judged on everything...from the brand of your shoes to the amount of sweat you work up in an hour. Where extra-teethy women smile at you from huge posters, promising you that you can look like them too. Where people drink water out of the same bottles we used back in kindergarten. Where the weighing machine is treated as a holy object, that has to be paid homage every hour. 

I joined the GYM. Honestly, this time around, no one coerced me into joining it. (Even though, I had caught the glares of my family ever so often, every time I bit into that delicious chocolate cake). I decided that I needed to become fitter...and gym seemed like the best option for it. Of course, I was wearing the rose-goggles of optimism, with the distant dream of looking fab tempting I missed all the vital clues. 

My first clue should have been when I entered the gym. The first thing I could hear was Justin Beiber pleading with one random Baby. I should have realized that this song would get stuck in my head like a makkhi on gud. That I would end up saying Oooh in the same pitch as Beiber when my limbs ached in agony. That the gym had this song on a loop, so I'd be subjected to it every twenty minutes. But no, those rose glasses were sitting firmly and I had decided that nothing would deter me from becoming size zero. 

My second clue should have been when I noticed far too many people looking at my 'gym attire'. Pink sneakers does not a fitness freak make. And wearing an old Google t-shirt that says "I'm Feeling Lucky" became the ultimate irony. The best way to become invisible in a gym is to wear undecipherable logos and drab, dull shirts...with gray sneakers. A good way to check if you're well dressed is to see if you can camouflage with Bangalore's monsoon skies. Any lesser shade of gray, and you're subjected to The Look.

And of course, the actual work out. That should have been my final, and biggest clue. First they made me run on a treadmill. Then do walking on a walking type thingy. Then cycle. All this with the stationary scenery of the opposite building. After every session, I used to limp back home and dread waking up to strange and painful experiences the next morning. Then, when I figured that I had finally mastered the art of running 5 kms in the same place...they changed my entire work out plan...and made me jump on boxes and squat with dumbbells. A whole new set of strange and painful experiences would begin.

Today, I stand on the brink of freedom. I may have turned fitter (but we can only judge that if I have to save a twenty pound dog from a raging fire...or summat). I certainly haven't turned thinner (because my only way of battling with the gym-pain was eating lots of ice cream.) But I have become wiser. My membership ends when the monsoon begins. I'm going to dust off the gym-ness from my *pink* sneakers and take in the freshly drizzled air and jog instead. I'm going to appreciate the scenery for what it really is...a moving green I watch life outside a glass box. I'm going to listen to the birds chirping and the children gurgling with laughter. Most importantly, I'm going to run far, far away...the next time I hear that Beiber song. So yes, the gym taught me to appreciate what we already have...a green (at least on this side of the town) city, brilliant weather and a vibrant atmosphere. I'm going to soak in all of that in my next attempt to be fit.


I could always join Salsa! ;)