I have many pet phobias. It’s not as if I love collecting them. They land from nowhere and get terribly attached to me. As I grew older and wiser, they altered in character and shape. From tail-dropping lizards to cobwebs on walls to the fear of having nothing to do – I have been through them all. The newest entrant to this exclusive club is my phobia of getting fat. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against fat people as long as I don’t have to share a seat with them. They are usually a jolly good species and can devour bucketfuls of fried chicken minus the guilt pangs. An extra inch on two blends in harmoniously with their wide girth. Secretly I envy them. It is me I have a problem with. You see, I was born with a manufacturing defect. I have wrists so thin that bangles slide down my arms like an avalanche in a hurry. Europe doesn’t make shoes my size. My dainty frame allows me no concession for extra kilos. And to make it worse that stupid gulab jamun (ok make that two) I sometimes succumb to makes its way to my cheeks!
Imagine your embarrassment when a more than well endowed Mashi of yours sizes you up and says...Aahh P has become fat! Secretly you are sputtering with rage and dying to bellow How dare you call me fat! When was the last time you checked yourself in the mirror... you stupid Cow! With your appetite buried deep underground, you barely touch anything at the party, while your dear Mashi’s face is strategically hidden behind the mountain of Biryani she’s ingesting.
I wrote all these lines to justify my passionate love affair with fitness. Why my life seems incomplete if don’t get to run on the treadmill. Why everything seems pointless if don’t raise my toes to the ceiling. Why I think I might die if I miss even one day of my fitness regime. I have tumbled down the stairs and still gone for my morning walk. A bleeding knee, an aching back, a neck that scarcely moves are no impediment for me to huff and puff.
My family insists that even if our house is on fire I will rush to the gym murmuring Darlings I will be back in 45, I’m sure you can manage till then!
Twenty years back, had someone looked at the crystal ball and predicted that I will be a fitness fiend, I would have laughed at her face. Physical exercise and I could never see eye to eye. In school I made sure I bunked all my phys-ed classes. I played badminton just to shut my sports freak dad up. I was more into activities that did not disturb the rhythm of my assorted body parts – reading....music...yakking with friends. My brother would take care of my cardio. All I had to do is a crack a joke at his expense and he would make me run all around the house. My Mum’s eardrums would reverberate with my loud shrieks.
That girl who could demolish a box of chocolates in one sitting, the woman who had to have ice cream everyday during her pregnancy, is a stranger to me now.
Do I curse myself for favouring a healthier lifestyle? Not really, in fact I am quite proud of it. And it’s not as if I munch on carrots & seeds all through day and barf at the sight of ice creams. I still can’t live without my daily dark chocolate fix and binge on weekends.
What irks me is, when your close ones, who are well aware of your aversion to oil drenched delicacies, will still insist on plying you with it. Myths are woven around your so called diet and you are projected as a fat-hating ninja. Dear God, now that you’ve had a pastry, will you be running for an hour on the treadmill! You smile even as you are trying to shove that sickeningly sweet cream in your mouth. Be damned if you do, be damned if you don’t.
And what I don’t understand is why certain people project their cholesterol loving and exercise shirking ways, as an act of bravado. I am glad you can have four paranthas for breakfast with dollops of butter and still be alive and kicking. Great that exercise bores you and your idea of cardio is walking to the fridge to get yourself a beer. But don’t tch tch when I tell you I prefer cereals for breakfast and sigh in sympathy at my yoga-loving ways. I am old enough to decide what’s right for me and don’t need your unsolicited advice.
I fail to understand why most of us are so eager to project ourselves as the coolest and insist their way is the right way. Like the ridiculous Madrasi v/s Punjabi duel on blogosphere. Should self-esteem always be at the cost of someone else’s sense self worth?
Yes, I suffer from guilt pangs when I reach out for another slice of Brownie. I can’t remember the last time I had a samosa and I don’t miss it. But at least I don’t crib about my extra kilos as I tuck in Aloo Kachori. And don’t you worry, I will be the last one to call you fat. I don’t have the need to make you look bad to feel good about myself.