Weight petrifies me, especially if it threatens to come anywhere in the vicinity of my petite frame. I am fitness fixated and I have no qualms admitting it. With age my regime has become more severe. Each time someone compliments me on my well-maintained self (I hate that term, makes me feel like a vintage car), I mentally start charting a newer even better fitness plan. I can’t afford to put on weight now!
We women are our greatest critics. At gatherings, most of us love greeting each other with weight updates. Have you put on? As if the lady doesn’t have a weighing scale, looking glass or a husband at home. But then husbands/boyfriends are programmed to say, “No honey your posterior looks just fine in that little black dress”, even if you look like an out of breath orange.
We are living in an age where all of us strive to be picture perfect. Obesity, cellulite, bad hair day, sagging skin are the new cardinal sins. Contemporary couture regrettably is designed for near perfect bodies. Most women in a desperate attempt to fit in, ape these unflattering styles, completely ignoring their body type. So we have to bear the ignominy of watching Mrs Gupta waddle around in her city shorts or squirm at Mrs Bhalla’s love-handles protruding from her “oh so tight” dress.
Indian women are meant to be curvy, some of us have it at the right places and some of us don’t. The last decade has witnessed a fitness revolution of sorts. There was a time when exercise meant taking a post dinner stroll: the rotund lady in her nightie-chunni (a favourite apparel of many a Punjabi woman) and the gentleman in his PJ‘s conversing animatedly and walking up and down the street. Not anymore. The lady has now ditched her nightie for track pants and does pilates with her private trainer. Her daughter loves kick boxing and aspires to be a size zero. Both of them are addicted to lauki juice and love snacking on pumpkin seeds. The son weight trains everyday and the poster of John Abraham’s butt adorns his wall. Of course there’s another breed that can wolf down a mega bucket of KFC’s winglets and perceives exercise as sacrilege.
It was only when I hit my 30’s that I diligently started an exercise routine; the “wake up at 5 and take a brisk 45-minute walk before going off to work” type. Prior to that, it was mostly need-based and mood-based. My first day at the park is clearly etched in my memory. Dawn had just broken; the air was fresh and crisp. As I approached the periphery of the park I heard a faint humming sound which grew louder with each approaching step. I was curious, a little scared. It was then, that I spotted three old ladies stuck to each other on a small bench, clapping furiously and chanting. I was mesmerised. The place was a frenzied hub of activity, youngsters walking at a furious pace with flailing arms, a gaggle of old men laughing deliriously in unison. It was surreal.
I religiously stuck to this routine (not the getting scared part) till we shifted to Gurgaon. I now huff and puff in the air-conditioned confines of the gym and discuss soup-salad dinners with my friends.
The near anorexic lady has managed some angry-looking eruptions on her face, apparently an infection she picked up somewhere. Other gym mates are concerned about her health and the possibility of contagion. But she refuses to stay put at home. When people say fitness is an addiction they are absolutely right. A celebrity more famous for her toned frame than her acting skills proudly proclaimed in one of her interviews, “My fitness takes priority over everything else in life. Even if my house is on fire I’d rather run off to the gym”.
Scary but true for many of us?