Mamta takes a jibe at herself and talks about ‘weighty issues’, in this tongue-in- cheek piece.
The rough and tumble of ordinary life over, I discovered I had reached close the age where sinister things should have happened by now. Well, they didn’t!
“If they haven’t, they will,” warned the well-wishers gleefully, in unison.
Life is indeed not fair to middle aged, plump and rotund folks, with a tad bit of prosperity showing on their midriff, making waistline convex. Every one diplomatically hints at calorie consciousness, diet charts, name of dietitians and the wonderful state-of- the-art gyms that have mushroomed in the mofussil city.
With firm determination I sprang up early from bed, putting on walking shoes for the summer challenge of morning walk in the city park.
As in a train journey – the scenery keeps changing after every few stations – the park too reflected myriad hues. When I reached the weight-loss paradise, thinking I was early enough, I was consumed into a sea of humanity. People of all shapes and sizes were already walking, jogging or gently ambling side by side, somehow sharing the same telepathic desire of acquiring a shapely body.
While the piped music played instrumental version of popular Hindi songs of bygone era, a group of people were turning and twisting their bodies on yoga mats. A little ahead, I could spot the laughter club enthusiasts, the rapt bhajan-kirtan union, the mushrooming cricket club aficionados kicking up dust, the proud papa training his son to ride a bike, young boys keeping pace with giggling girls, gurgling babies and burping oldies, conjugally deprived newly-weds finding space for romance, dogs leashed or unleashed, sniffing and marking the terrain, the spirituality oozing out of I-pods, the animated saas-bahu discussions that I could hear despite the cacophony, students immersed in books preparing for impending exams, all sights provided a dash of extra seasoning that stirs the soul. Could this rich yet inexpensive experience be replicated in a fancy and expensive air-conditioned gymnasium?
The first leg seemed difficult. As a neophyte, when you walk, the cramps creep gently on your calves to test your willpower. They tease you to stop this temporary whim and the vacant bench at the next curve seductively offers you a place.
You can sit and watch the world go by. You almost submit to these mind games but then an attractive couple passes, looking trim and chiseled by the effort of exercise and the adrenalin flow in your body takes you by surprise. You accelerate past, not only the inspiring couple but many other routine plodders who had always left you behind with their agility.
The second leg is excruciating, of coming home buoyant and perspiring. Then you weigh yourself. An agonizing silence follows. The bathroom scales have made a mockery of your enthusiasm. The needle has moved several inches ahead making you writhe in frustration. Deflated, you resolve to bring fat-free milk and not to serve butter dripping paranthas for breakfast.
My usually timid and patient husband gives a long sermon, classifying the sinister saturated fats, dangerous trans-fats and the amiable un-saturated fats. The word cholesterol looms large in uppercase, threatening our relationship.
Saying au revoir to sugar, cakes and cheesy delights is almost like committing hara-kiri. Gorging on cucumber, carrots and melons and sticking to a martyr type I-love- all-gourds attitude is a torture one has to go through for becoming lighter.
Why on earth has the world discovered this small town and opened all international food chains at an hour when one was going through heavy issues in one’s life? The cart selling divine chaat, the fragrance wafting from a roadside dhaba, the fritters and the chili flakes smeared potato wedges have been stalking my dreams day and night.
This summer all that I wanted was a new adipose free identity but the regimen entailed is not only tough but has pushed me into becoming a bland food-junky. How does one get rid of this heaviness that weighs my body, mind and soul? The answer lies in waiting for the fleeting summer to be over. This too shall pass!
Pix of Net.
Mamta Joshi did her post graduation in History from University of Allahabad. She writes short stories, reflective essays, prose pieces on everyday life in national dailies and international e-magazines. She writes with equal ease in Hindi. For over two decades, as a teacher of English in college section at SMC, Allahabad, she has been interacting with young minds, understanding their pulse and in turn being savvy on technology, fitness, fashion, humour and rumour too.