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 ..my 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 ….