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Sunday, May 6, 2007

A day at the gym: Dedicated to the guy who invented the dumb-bell..

For all those who have never been to a gym, this is an inside story (didja say sting operation?) on one:

My friend, Vic, has these strange fascinations, which at max, last for a week. Like last week, he wanted to learn Italian ,inspired by Arnold Schwazanegger’s immortal comment in Terminator 2 “Hastala Vista Baby” (Why he was inspired eight years after he saw the movie is a very good question even id like to ask him. And how it inspired him to learn italian, when the phrase is actually spanish is an even bigger puzzle). Anyway, he bought an italian translation book but never went past page 3 (page 1 and 2 were index and contents). The week before he wanted to learn the drums. Anyway back to the topic. Yeah, so he had this latest fascination that “both of us” should join a gym immediately. I tried talking him out of it, but as always it didnt work.

The word “gymnasion” was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual education of young men god, these greeks were definitely a set of male chauvinists! (i make the statement just so that any girls reading this post would nod their heads approvingly and probably throw in a nice comment for me:)) Anyway, the word has got distorted over the ages and now gym, in layman’s language means a place where young men go to build biceps like salman khan and older men go to reduce their tummies…err and girls go to .. err… ummm .. “to become fit” .

Anyway 6 o clock monday morning, Vic woke me up and made me change into clothes “fit enough” to wear in a gym. As we approached the entrance, still half asleep, i was shocked to see a board hanging from the entrance, on which a half naked man with disgustingly protruding bones (”Muscles”, Vic politely corrected me) was flexing his distorted arm, and staring at me, snickering. We went in and saw a variety of men, machines and mirrors. Interestingly, the men seemed to be more preoccupied with the mirrors than with the machines. All around there were guys, looking at themselves from all angles, tilting their face, raising their chins, raising their eyebrows and staring, basically “checking themselves out” from all angles. Me n Vic looked at ourselves in the mirror, but, strangely, didnt find much difference from what we have always looked like. Looking around and observing everyone, i could make out there were a few more new comers. You can always make out a new comer from a seasoned pro in a gym. I mean even if you dont look at the physique! Newcomers have this subdued look, they walk about in a gym with their eyes lowered, whereas a guy whose been in gym for over 2 months walks as if the best way to walk is with both feet as far apart as possible. You’d think they own the world, the way they move. And these specimens always laugh heartily for just abt anything

1st guy: “Oh you know, Mani lied to his boss yesterday”
Pros group: “Ho ho ho” (resounding laughter)
2nd guy: ” Mallika Sherawat is hot”
Pros group: “O ho ho ho” … (even more resounding laughter)
3rd guy: Aachooo …
Pros Group: “o ho ho ho” (practically falling down laughing helplessly)

I mean they just dont care about what someone is saying, they just keep laughing as if that was the macho-est thing in the world to do.

Newcomers, after finishing a set of excercises, roll up their sleeves gently, modestly to see if any bulge magically appeared from the upper arm regions.(Yeah right, dude, as if!). The pros, on the other hand, are always ready to, practically rip off their shirts and admire themselves in the mirror. “Heyy Neeraj” one of them would say taking off his shirt, ”dont you think my bicep’s swelled upto a size fifteen now?” … “O ho no way, but your armpits sure do smell like you have been in a pig fight for the last fifteen years!!!!”

Anyway, the instructor, gave us a set of excercises to do. I had my doubts whether they’d actually help, since he himself had a nice round stomach, the size of a small planet! Warily, but sincerely, we started the workouts- pushups, pullups, machines blah blah. If contorted faces, changing facial complexions from brown, to red, to purple, to crimson; grimaces and pleasant sounds (”YEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAARGH!” “UUUUUUMMMMMMMM” i shrieked un-macholike as i raised an eight kilo dumbell )are signs of building muscle, we were well on the way, but all i could feel coming out from my body was sweat of the stinkiest kind. It was a comfort that Vic didnt smell any better. After an extremely gruelling 60 reps abs set, we both lay flat on our backs,thoroughly spent, but still grinning (Aaaah, we are as manly as they make them!)

After an hour, we returned home with me feeling a lot more muscular than i was an hour back. Vic, somehow, didnt look as enthusiastic about the experience when we returned, than he had shown, when we first entered. He looked even less enthusiastic the next day. And today morning, when i woke him up, he said that he had fever. Somehow, i think his fever is not gonna go away fast ….

Guys and Cleanliness: A true story and a slightly dirty one...:)

My mom came down last weekend to Chennai to pay me a visit. I was informed of this happy news on the previous wednesday. With just three days left to D-dAY, I sweetly informed my roomies (who were extremely busy in watching an episode of BAYWATCH) that the house needed to be cleaned. The announcement was followed by a deathly silence for a minute (whether it was because they were shocked that they’d have to clean up the house or because i brought up such a trivial topic right when Pamela Anderson was running on the beach, im not sure about).We all looked around the drawing room from our respective comfortable positions (obviously we didnt get up from our seats) and Vinit remarked “oh its not dirty, maybe we can just give it a sweep on friday evening.” All of us looked at him admiringly and nodded our assents. Friday evening eventually had to come and i reminded everone of the task in hand.

Sportingly everyone joined in(i practically had to request, plead, beg, bribe, weep, threaten them into doing it) and mission clean-up was started. I took a broom and went into my room bravely, heart fluttering a bit. I could see panic in Naveen’s eyes as he took the onus of cleaning the kitchen. i closed my eyes, muttered a silent prayer and started the mission. Ull be amazed to know the things that were swept out that evening. Besides the customary dust, wrappers, packets, old broken pen caps, we also found a lot of dead organisms- cockroaches (two in my room), moths, grasshopper and an earthworm too, in the house(my guess is even they couldnt survive in the conditions). How we never saw any of this before will always be a mystery to me! I also noticed that a lot of webs and dust was stuck lovingly to the walls (dude, why do walls attract so much dust?) and the fan’s colour was a nice light brown(”it was white, wasnt it?”, kislay asked me, ”when we first came to the house” and we shared a moment of thoughful guy looks). After an hour, we held a meeting about who would volunteer to clean the bathrooms, but strangely noone did. It was decided that we’ll pick straws, and Raj was the unlucky one chosen. When he came out after cleaning up, he was ashen faced. I had to treat him to a full bottle of.. err lets just say it was an alcoholic beverage, to make the colour come back to his face. At the end of it all, we were proud to see our “spick and span” house.

Next day mom came. The first thing she said on entering was “My god, Neeraj, do you boys ever clean the house? Atleast you could have today, since i was coming” .I still dunno what to say to that. After all our efforts …..

The point is that yes, according, to her, our house was still not in “living condition”. Moms, umm all women in general would find it dirty. But how come we dont feel that way? How come we, and most guys, and i mean bachelors, are completely comfortable in these ‘inhospitable conditions’? We just dont see dirt the way women see it. Its not our fault if GOD didnt give us the ability to see, sniff and smell out dirt, the way all women do. Mom actually had the nerve to tell me that the wall clock was dirty. So?????????p.s I thought about all this for an entire night and have come to a mature conclusion. Next time she comes, ill ask some of my “opposite-gender’ friends to put her up at their place.