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'Gai-eem' ... life on a treadmill

It's been a cruel summer. And the heat has made people do strange things. Like join a gym in my case.

I am no stranger to the word of gyms (note to self: the surprise element should come at the end of a post). From akhara like non air conditioned places to the college gym which I think had the same equipment which Netaji had used to strengthen his legs before he kicked the Brit prof down the Presidency stairs to suave gyms at Mumbai and fancy ones in luxury hotels. Then my back gave in during a holiday and I got an excuse to stay away. But I would look at gyms occasionally. Especially when I would see the disturbingly rotund figures of food show hosts on Indian TV channels. Very different from the Bourdains the Majumdars and the Chins.

Checked with my Ortho. My last hope. The cherubic and corpulent gent smiled and said "of course you can go".

So I did a round of local gyms a few idle Saturdays back. Was hounded with SMSs and calls from them since. Two months free. Eight months free. Partner free. If you don't have a partner we will get you one and split the costs. No man has been wooed the way I was.

A mid week holiday. Another idle day. Heat wave. And I landed at the gym closest to mine. "OK, what the hell." 

"Yes sir you can join from today. Right now please."

I have a feeling that I heard something pop in the background and the whoosh of streamers and ribbons.

Then fate rushed in for the rescue. The credit card didn't work.

"No problem sir. You can pay later.


"Please change your shoes. Our head trainer is here for you."

Fate kicked in again. An irate client call. Which ended after more than ten minutes. Sorry but the consumer is just not that into you. And I finally made my entry into the floor.

Twenty minutes of treadmill. And then the cross trainer. Very 'cross' it kept flashing 'stride faster' on the screen. Hey I am not eighteen any more. And you are a machine not Artoo Detoo.

I went downstairs. The original trainer had disappeared. I caught onto a podgy lady in uniform. We soon established that she didn't speak English. I switched to Hindi. And soon established that this was her first day ever in any sort of gyms. She walked with me from machine to machine. Looked at the diagrams and tried to get me to replicate what the stick figure was doing. And so her journey of discovery continued for more than an hour. With each machine she looked happier and happier. I think the stick figure in the illustrations won her heart.

It was well past lunch and I was getting hungry. The gym guys decided to throw in some motivation. Now its quite likely that you could bump into a celeb if you walk into a gym at Bandra. That happened and the gentleman in question was fairly close to being an A lister. Though guys, the size zero end of the pair he belonged to, would work better for me.

I finally trudged out. Met the front desk lady. Pointed out the disconnect between someone who is discovering gyms being a trainer for someone who needs special care for his back and walked out having a found out a reason not to go back.

No such luck. She ran behind me and said that the manager wanted to meet me. Apologies were offered. I was told that this was an exception and that 'real' trainers were in in a Wednesday meeting. Guidance of a phyiso was promised. And of real trainers. And expectations to see me the next day were evinced.

I checked the menu at the snack bar. And left for home. Must come back to try the chicken sandwich.

Note: 'Gai-eem' is how Homer Simpson read the three letters,  G-Y-M, which he had never come across before in his life.

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