Location: Alif Fitness Centre (now Alif Cyber Café)
Date: Summer of 2003
Nihaal Merchant aka Vicky (*** kgs)
Shawn Francis aka Shawney (that’s me :P 85 kgs)
Female building friend (can’t mention her name and weight here for obvious reasons!) Let’s just call her Q!
The fitness trainer (don’t remember his name)
Vicky and I had just completed our tenth standard board exams (and thought that we had conquered the world, because that is how hyped up the board exams were). The papers had gone off extremely well (they had too after the long hours of time we had put in studying) and the next thing on our minds was to lose that extra weight (and boy was it extra). After all, in another two months time, we would be going to college, our uniforms would be replaced by jeans and tees (purchased by my mom and sister, who don’t quite trust my choice) and it was mandatory to look your very best. So we had decided to hit the gym. To lose weight, to build muscle and get everything else that a gym promised you.
Trainer (to the three of us): “Burn 200 calories on the treadmill, then cycle for 10 minutes at 8 km/hr and do 5 sets of 20 crunches. After you are done with that, you can leave”
Five minutes later,
Vicky (drenched in sweat): ‘Shawney, 100 calories burn kar liya. Bahut ho
Shawn: ‘Dude, your weight is more so you burned 100. I have just burned 70. Lekin tu barabar bola. If we don’t eat, we need not do this treadmill stuff. Aaj crunches bhi nahi karte hai, man nahi ho raha hai.’
Vicky: ‘Theek hai. Lekin kal sab kuch karte hai ha.’
Shawn: ‘Ya dude 100%’
Vicky: ‘Chal usko bol ke nikalte hai.’
Shawn: ‘Arey, abhi bolega toh maloom padega usko ki humne kuch kiya nahi hai. Bees minute thak bait the hai AC main. Phir nikhal the hai.’
Twenty minutes later,
Shawn: ‘Sir, all done, we are leaving.’
Trainer: ‘Theek hai, kal milte hai.’
Shawn, Vicky: ‘Bye Q, we are leaving.’
Q: ‘Ya bye, but guys you’ll can fool the trainer but you are cheating yourself. At least to your own self try and be true.’
She then continues cycling with renewed vigour.
Vicky (laughing): ‘Chal nikalte hain, nahi toh aur sunaiyegi.’
It was a comment that I would have otherwise just laughed at and ignored. But I really don’t know what was wrong with me that day. What she told me, kept worrying me. I decided on that day that I would follow (or at least try to follow) her advise.
It has been five and a half years since and I can now say that I have followed her advice more often than not. Starting from the next day itself, not only did I do the exercises religiously, I also went on morning walks. By the end of two months I had lost 10 kilos. Moving on, I tried never to do things just so that I get accepted or because it is ‘cool’ to do so. I have never bothered about the label on my clothes. Haven’t slung my bag on one shoulder, just because that’s the way it is supposed to be done in college. Didn’t speak with a fake accent in junior college just because every other person sounded like an NRI. I unabashedly admit to liking romantic songs even though I get the ‘you are a weirdo’ look whenever I make that statement. Never felt the urgent need to go clubbing or blow smoke rings in the air. I sleep at ten (sometimes earlier) and get up at six and really don’t care if you think I am a geek. Have tried as much as I could to be true to myself. Yes, there have been times when my motives haven’t been right, but I have learnt from them and moved on. And now when I look at my reflection (in the water, mirror or wherever), I am satisfied!