I started as a mere fledgling. I belonged to a group of white-robed enthusiasts for whom fitness was the only priority. Early morning Karate class consisted of intense jogging sessions on the wet sands of Chowpatty, followed by crawling up the Charni Road bridge and doing fifty push-ups all non-stop. Karate became a part of me and my coveted black belt a part of my alter-ego.
My quest for the ultimate fitness experience continued when someone gifted me a weighing scale on my 18th birthday. Reading kilos, kept me on my toes and I ventured into swimming. I swam all day and being a mermaid made me ecstatic, especially when the guys around the pool looked admiringly in my direction. Being in the water awakened a desire to be on it too. Rowing and kayaking made my résumé look more adventurous.
When Salman Khan conquered my heart I never looked back. His life-size poster on my bedroom wall beckoned me to workout for that perfect toned body I’ve always wanted. So, I joined the elite, early-bird 5 am club. I enjoyed pumping iron. I was addicted to the sweet pain. My friends thought I was weird, ‘A manly woman,’ they jeered, so I vowed to prove them wrong. I adopted Shiamak Davar as my next fitness guru. Bollywood jazz was my mantra to acquire that quintessential feminine grace.
Dance class, I thought would be a piece of cake. So when the music played loud, Mahafreed danced strong; stronger than anyone in class. My instructor looked interested. Maybe he had discovered untapped talent. “Shake your hips like a woman,” was his sincere plea. But Karate had trained me to follow instructions literally and so, I shook my hips so fervently that my body became a blurred vision. During this heartfelt effort my belt got unfastened and like an Aborigine’s boomerang, it aimed straight for my instructor’s head. Ten minutes of oblivion and a red bump on his forehead was enough to make my instructor aware of the dangers of Karate trained dancers.
Since I didn’t want blood on my hands I discontinued the dance class. Inspiration came, early one morning as I was on my balcony. My next foray into fitness started then and there as I watched (not the Big B) but the Big A. Anil Ambani was running doggedly among his group of sincere faithfuls. Carry on AA, your secret admirer watches, as you, your faithfuls and your car, pass by.
A friend of mine has taken up Capoeira—a Brazilian martial arts dance. I think I’ll learn a few moves just in case my journalism career doesn’t last long, I’ll open a multi regime fitness club.