Archive for September, 2007


Confessions of an Almost Thirty Gym Virgin: Page 2

Ow!  Ow!  Ow!

From the way, I passed out on my bed an hour ago, a sane individual would have doubts about whether I was alive or not but each of creaking, moaning, groaning, joints, cartilages, muscles, ligaments, tendons bears testimony to my being very much alive.  I swear I never knew I had so many body parts that could hurt quite so individually…

I have learned today that there are worse things than the possible embarrassments you imagine.  I did not fall on the treadmill as per my worst case scenario, instead I found myself on my back, trying to lift up without lifting my head.  I failed miserably and to my mortification, for the set of 25, I had to rely on the trainer’s assistance to actually move the apparatus so I could complete the movement.

Even worse, I always thought I so knew how to twist.  However, put me on a machine to do this and for 10 minutes, you will watch a trainer come up to me and tell me to try and complete the movement without moving my shoulders.

Oh, the agony!  But strangely, there’s a sense of deep accomplishment.  After months of inactivity, I completed an hour of pretty rigorous exercise without bursting into tears.  This may work out after all.  (I hope!)

According to my own assessment, I am nearly 15 kilograms over my desired weight and no, you cannot have the figure just yet.  Provided I manage to stick to my diet and exercise in Ramadan, starting on Friday, I hope to lose at least half that in one month.  I was thinking if I could manage to lose 4 kilograms in 2 weeks without the gym and just watching what I eat, the target is not too unmanageable.  Besides, it is now a matter of pride for me to lose weight.  I now have an ongoing bet to  be lighter on chand raat than I will be tomorrow with a family friend.  He had the gall to laugh in my face when I told him I wouldn’t be eating pakoras for iftar this year.  And then, the icing on the cake was his remark after the bet that his prayers will now be focused on my putting on weight rather than the reverse.  uffff!!  Men!!  I am finding them highly intolerable these days in any capacity.  And to think I was holding his 11 month daughter in my arms at the time… I was so angry I could have thrown the kid at him – and the way I’m feeling now, if it had been a son, I probably would have done so.   Needless to say, the satisfaction of my honour now rests on my dropping pounds.

The sad thing his that bhai’s laughter makes sense.  For some odd, incomprehensible reason, the link between pakoras and fasting is probably deeper than between Tarawih and fasting.  What is it about these deep fried, spiced morsels of chick pea flour mixed with potatoes and coriander and onions and spinach that just drives me to keep reaching long after I am full.  It is a disease honestly, to look at food still on the dastarkhwan, and just compulsively reaching for it.

May the Almighty Allah help me in remembering that this Ramadan is more about pleasing Him, and remaining healthy rather than about parathas, samosas and pakoras…

In other news, I think I’m going to buy myself a treadmill.  I love that machine.  Any takes on possible purchase in Isloo?


Confessions of an Almost Thirty Gym Virgin: Page 1

I’m terrified.  I am shaking in my boots and weak in the knees.  I am besieged by visions of falling flat on my face on a treadmill and being pulled into it and becoming the  walkway as I’ve seen in so many cartoons.  Pictures run amok over the wide screen in my head of machines breaking down as I pass by them, of people staring in horror at my bulk and of fainting dead away simply at the thought of facing the horror of an hour’s workout.

Ugh!  All that talk about a healthier lifestyle on BBC Food has addled my wits and souped my brain.  What was I thinking?  I cannot exercise on a regular basis.  It goes against all of my slovenly, sloth like behaviour carefully cultivated over the last ten years or so.  The years before that don’t count because I had energy to spare despite every day evening sessions of harassing the sector’s dogs and other entities on my lime green ten speed and beating the pants off my brother at badminton and roller skating to the central market at the drop of a hat.

And now, I look in the mirror and I see a cupcake…!  That wouldn’t be so bad since compared to some of the sizes in my family, I would be a bite sized morsel.  The ignominy comes in when you look at my dear mama who despite giving birth to 4 kids and in her fifties barely weighs fifty-two kilograms which sits quite wonderfully on her very petite frame of 4’10” (masha’allah!).  She still watches what she eats.  I watch what I eat too but that is usually just tracking the progress of the food as it makes its way to my mouth rather than keeping an eye on what I am eating and what my consumption has been.

Unfortunately, at my advanced years, it is not quite possible to trim myself down by starvation.  The point that I cannot live on grass and beans for the rest of my life has nothing to do with it.   I love food.  And maybe I have a few Italian genes because I adore pastas and spaghetti and cheese and pizza…  Besides, I’ve learned over the past few years that every time I’ve lost weight by drastically cutting out foods, I’ve regained that weight a few times over and in less time than before.  The one time I maintained an ideal weight for 2 years or so was the one time in my life that I was diagnosed bulimia caused by severe clinical depression so that’s not something I want to return to, no matter how high the temptation to lose weight.

The one way I can actually see this work is by following a guideline of my own making with the help of some suggestions taken from my favourite food channel.  Unfortunately, the one thing I don’t get enough of and would love to keep ignoring is exercise.  I am a slacker with a reasonably low attention span which just makes it so convenient for me to drop off any regular exercise that I may be getting.  It may be tempting the devil but some of you may remember my last winter’s walks motivated by a certain neighbourly situation.  That didn’t last so long and unfortunately, my walking routine fizzled out to a great big nothing and the 8 pounds I’d lost came back as 12.

So, I am taking myself in hand and tomorrow evening, without my mama to hold my hand shall venture into the world of the gym.  I went today just to check things out and saw all these ladies on machines working out with a single minded focus but looking like they were having fun.  In an adjoining room, ladies of various ages and sizes were heaving, laughing, panting their way through a rigorous aerobics routine.  Tomorrow I shall be one of them… provided I remember to buy a new pair of trainers…


I’m cleverer…

There are days when I just want what I’m feeling to appear in front of me in words as random and as rapid as they are inside. And yet, when the words come they seem strangely inadequate when compared to the tumult that storms within. In one way perhaps this ‘inadequacy’ is what lends coherence and recognition to what is really going on inside. Ultimately, it just may give us that perspective, whose loss causes us to flounder and scream in panic – that realization of losing control, of facing something that seems so much bigger than what we are, and of our own mortality birthing a sense of helplessness in our own lives.

Sometimes we need to reduce that larger than life manifestation of our nightmares to a statement completed in five words with no word extending beyond 2 consonants to deal with it on its own merit.

I was at an uber-formal dinner party today or was it last night, where the word is pronounced with a distinct flair that makes me somehow think of a pate served on a pathetic bed of fronds for an exorbitant amount at a restaurant whose name I would need an interpretor to even think about enunciating and whose menu would be posher than my fanciest sari. Has anybody else noticed how somehow saris have become the staple apparel for an appearance that is designed to project one as the epitome of an elegant, high-powered female who is completely in control of her life even when everybody can see the craggy edges where her world fell through on various occasions? Or maybe it is just me recalling watching another me sitting at that table, raising a toast to my impeccable persona.

I guess nobody else could see the mockery on my face as I watched at how polished my performance was. I was the epitome of a blasé, bored, cynical career woman who had moved on from such catastrophe. Nobody else saw the sharp edge of my own smile when I was likened to a phoenix rising from the ashes.  And for sure nobody knew how I was itching to mash my dinner companion’s face into the bowl of soup that he kept blowing on before drinking it.  Somebody apparently forgot to tell him that it was cucumber soup served cold.  And I did not enlighten him either…

Revenge is best served cold too or so I’ve heard.  My temper flares too hot and too quick for me to even contemplate a refrigerated version of what I dole out.  Not that it matters much when I get through.  I was wondering if it’s because the cold would allow the context of the revenge to be preserved and hence more rewarding for you whereas heat would turn it to dust just that bit more easily.

But coming back to why I was thinking of words, and expression and the par-tay.  I was walking away from the table with a friend of mine, this one definitely more tolerable, and reaching the entrance of the dining hall, just turned my head and waved good bye to the others back at the table over my shoulder and in turning back surprised this strange look on my friend’s face at my gesture.  His sheepish grin and just the overall affect of his face made me think of something I’d read in a book some time back…

” ‘…. You know, it’s not a man’s gesture, it’s a woman’s gesture.  By this gesture a woman invites us: come, follow me, and you don’t know where she is inviting you to go and she doesn’t know either, but she invites you in the conviction that it’s worth going where she is inviting you.  That’s why I tell you,  either woman will become man’s future or mankind will perish, because only woman is capable of nourishing within her an unsubstantiated hope and inviting us to a doubtful future, which we would have long ceased to believe in were it not for women.  All my life, I’ve been willing to follow their voice, even though that voice is mad, and whatever else I may be I am not a madman.  But nothing is more beautiful than when someone who isn’t mad goes into the unknown, led by a mad voice!’  And once again he solemnly repeated a German sentence: ‘Das Ewigweibliche zieht uns hinan!  The eternal feminine draws us on!’ “

From Immortality – Milan Kundera

How’s this for a perspective?  What say, suga, psyched and samar?


From the Twilight Zone that are Men!!!

Don’t get me wrong! I hope this will not turn into a male-bashing rant although if it gets out of hand, I offer no apologies. I like men just fine, or would it be more politically correct to use the word male in the my musings? I have always got along better with my male cousins, and male friends, classmates and later colleagues and despite my occasional feeling that men are generally fickle, arrogant, suffer complexes of varying degrees, I submit that despite my best efforts to switch sides my orientation dictates that I still nurture the hope of finding a male soul mate…

But this last week was weird. For a while, I was crazy enough to think that men are ‘simple’ creatures and hence, easier to understand and get along with than women. A long series of IMs and sms has made me think about rethinking that notion. It also made me think that my male friends are very very strange and by virtue of knowing them, I don’t think my equation makes much sense either. Of course it was not the number of messages but the understanding of the conversations as I saw them that fazed me out. Being ‘one of the guys’ somehow loses its appeal after a time. A few examples of the content that has been sent to me courtesy my very large, and strangely eclectic male harem…

  • Are you sure you don’t wanna come? I’m sure *xxxxxxx* won’t mind you coming along. In fact she is always complaining I’m not very good company on a date. (Name of girl censored for my friend’s protection!)
  • I’m tired yaar. It was an exhausting day. I don’t know if my organs will let me sleep… (I swear to God I have no idea what this means… any takers????)
  • Toh you just found out he’s going out with her too? I knew that…
  • So what if he’s with her….doesn’t mean you aren’t important to him anymore… a sense of healthy competition is all you need to make the relationship more exciting…
  • Yaar, woh tumhari friend is hot… Get her to talk to me na?
    • You’re engaged to be married!
      • Toh?
  • I prefer my girlfriend in my dreams and you in reality.
  • I love them both yaar. The fact that they live in different cities makes it so much easier for me to have the best of both worlds.
    • You’re not being fair to either!
      • Sez who? they don’t know about each other, do they?
  • She’s nice enough to go out with yaar but i can’t marry her… she’s been involved!!
  • She’s crazy about me. She calls me and cries and begs. Ab I can’t hurt her feelings by not talking to her just because I’m married, can I?
  • Why can’t we be friends?So I didn’t marry her and married someone else. We only went out for a couple of years. Relationships end, people change… what’s the big deal about that?????

P.S. All these conversations actually took place. *sigh* As they say, from the mouths of babes… errrr… men! I think I need to look for different company if for no other reason than to preserve some hope for a future….

September 2007