Round is a shape
I love workouts. I enjoy watching people sweating it out on treadmills, huffing and puffing on myriad contraptions, pumping iron, rowing on solid ground, and doing stomach crunches accompanied by grunts and groans and other painful sounding caterwauling.
I especially like it when the huffing and sweating bodies are in svelte female shape, dressed in form fitting leotards or other interesting gym wear, torturing themselves to get into dangerous shape, dangerous to the observer, that is.
I do not have to actually go through those tortures. Just watching them sends my heart racing, I get a cardio without breaking into sweat. Adrenaline levels are hiked, pulse quickens, and breathing gets deeper, all without punishing my muscles. I feel quite refreshed after this workout. And I stay in shape. Round is a shape.
There must be many like me, for most gyms have glass fronts, and you can enjoy the spectacle without having to become a member. Gymming is a spectator sport.
The exercise I enjoy is swimming. There is no sweat, no chance of getting hurt, does not require too much effort, is cooling for the body, and whenever tired you can float on your back and watch the sky.
Our friendly neighbourhood sports complex has the typical glass fronted gym with the treadmills facing the window and one can view the spot running damsels like fish in an aquarium. Immediately in front is the swimming pool.
I would happily walk down to the changing room getting warmed up by this vicarious exercise, then walk back to the pool in my trunks, quite oblivious of the fact that while you can look into the aquarium, the fish can look out too.
There was a full length mirror in the changing room, which I always managed to avoid looking at, as I am not enamoured by my own looks, nor did I relish seeing unclad or semi clad men hanging around . But one day I caught a glimpse of a weird image in the mirror and froze. It looked like a captive balloon with a coloured strip in the middle, topped by a familiar face; one that I saw every morning while shaving.
I realised that the comical stranger looking back at me was yours truly, and also that this was the spectacle that was displayed to the insanely fit damsels on the treadmills.
We, or at least I, rarely look at myself in the mirror. You see bits and pieces while shaving, combing the hair or tying the tie, but never the full picture and definitely never ever full monty. It was a ghastly spectacle.
I somehow dashed past the glass window and slipped into the water, convinced that once immersed, I am invisible. But that fig leaf did not last long either. On the way back to the showers, I kept my face firmly averted from the gym, as a result looking at the pool. To my dismay, in the clear water, not only were the swimmers clearly visible, but were magnified. Thus the captive balloon would have looked like a drowning blimp.
I have invested in a bath robe, and am contemplating doing more in the gym than mere watching.
Tag Archives: humor
Round is a shape
A poem with alternate lines being romantic and the reverse
For you my darling I’d go anywhere
As long as you pay my business class fare
For you my sweet I will do anything
As long as I am paid for it in cash kind or Bling
For you my beloved I’d write a whole song
But only if you agree to go away for long
For you my dear lover I’d give up my life
As long as you don’t ever get near my wife
Being absentminded is the privilege of the genius. We hear stories of the ridiculous stupidity and feeble mindedness in everyday matters by such greats as Einstein and Newton and chuckle appreciatively.
However, if we of acknowledged mediocre intellect should occasionally let things slip our mind, we are subjected to severe ridicule and harsh name calling.
I unfortunately have suffered from this since childhood, and it shows no signs of improving when I am reaching the age where such senior moments can be attributed to early onset of senility or Alzheimer’s.
This has led to various problems ranging from mild inconvenience to brushes with the long arm of the law.
For instance, I can never remember my vehicle registration number, and in the days of manual security at public parking lots, I had often to peer inside all the cars to identify mine, raising suspicion, which became worse when on questioning I could not recollect the number. I was often subjected to rigorous questioning before being permitted to drive away my own car. Nowadays the remote lock has made the job of identifying my car easier.
It is worse when I am driving someone else’s car. I usually have no recollection of the make or model either. Once when driving a colleagues car while mine was at the workshop, I panicked on reaching a parking lot with a sea of vehicles. Finally I realised that as a recent arrival from another state, his plates will bear that states number. The rest was simple.
What is worse, in those days, most cars of the same make could be opened by the same key, if the vehicle was old. Once, when visiting my parents, I had borrowed my dad’s car and taken my kids to the market. Returning laden with packets and child in tow, I opened the door of what I thought was my dad’s Maruti and proceeded to load the shopping. A gentleman came over and asked if there is a problem. I thanked him and asked him to mind my child while I arranged the packets. This done I thanked him, sat my daughter in the back seat and got in myself. The stunned gentleman protested,
“But this is my car!”
Profuse apologies later, and the clinching argument
that I would hardly be committing grand theft auto with shopping and a child in tow, and finally on discovering the right car parked nearby, I convinced him that I was not a criminal. But he may have been harbouring a doubt that I was criminally insane.
The other issue is I always drive on autopilot. Once the route has been uploaded on what passes for my mind, I don’t have to consciously plan the drive. Thus, as I used to drop my wife off on my way to work, that’s how I went, irrespective of whether she was in the car or not. I usually realised that she’s not there after I had parked by her office and waited for her to get off. I may have been suspected of being a stalker by some of her colleagues.
Ditto when dropping my daughter off to school. I think the authorities had a lookout for the potential paedophile that stops his car outside the school, sheepishly looks around and drives off.
On the pervert front my reputation takes a beating by another nasty betrayal of my mind. Being an incurable multi tasker, I am usually on my computer when I have called someone on the phone and waiting for them to pick up. So that by the time the response comes, I have completely forgotten whom I have called or why. As I desperately try to identify the voice and remember what it was I needed, the person at the other end shouts
“Hello hello!”whilst listening to my heavy breathing.
When I call my secretary for some work, I may be involved with something else by the time she arrives, and I stare at her asking why I called her. I think till she knew me better she may have been convinced I was the stereotyped evil boss looking her over. I am glad I didn’t face harassment charges.
But what almost brought about a crisis in our marriage was when I was giving a lift back from work to a colleague and the LOH was in the backseat. When I stopped to drop the colleague, she had got off to come over to the front. Blissfully unaware, I drove off home, leaving her stranded midway, without money as her purse was in the backseat. I realised this only when she came home in a cab, and she icily asked me for money to pay off the taxi.
Fortunately, my marriage survives to this day, no doubt as I forget the many hints dropped about reconsideration of options from my long suffering LOH.
#humour #KitchenFisasco #BachelorsLife #WhyPigsHaveWings #DifferentTruths
Here’s an interesting account by Soumya, a humourist, on cooking. We are introducing his humour column, beginning this week, on Tuesdays, exclusively on Different Truths. I am a foodie. My girth hints at it. I take a keen interest in the creative process of cooking too, but all strictly theoretical. I also enjoy cooking as a spectator sport. The glamorous cooks on television make it look so sexy. [ 933 more words ]
He was an eager young rookie, in his early twenties, barely out of college, finding his way around the maze of the public sector corporate world.
He was attending his debut budget meeting, where performances are analysed, targets set, and strategy debated, postings decided; at least that is what he thought.
A new branch office had been recently opened in the heart of the capital, and our young hero was sent to man it till a suitable head is decided upon.
Full of enthusiasm, our greenhorn had bustled about and won a number of new accounts; the crowning glory of which came when he reached an agreement with an equally young and enthusiastic IAS officer and acquired a new business of what was a princely sum in those days. It was a big breakthrough for the region. He therefore was brimming with confidence and excited over his virgin evaluation by the exalted regional head, a veteran Sikh gentleman.
The meeting seemed to be carried out entirely in Punjabi, which was the language most of his colleagues spoke. The other Branch heads were all battle scarred veteran salespeople, more than twice our hero’s age. The venue was the company guesthouse, a spacious bungalow in a posh neighbourhood. No business was discussed, but whiskey and jokes flowed unchecked, and a good time was being had by all, including our rookie. Undaunted by the occasion, he too imbibed merrily, and shared witticisms in his pidgin Punjabi.
Finally, the big boss summoned him. But to his puzzlement, he was led out into the backyard with a friendly arm around his shoulder, glass in hand.
There, the venerable regional chief proceeded to give the young hero the best advice he could get, much like Lord Krishna’s discourse to the nervous Partha.
Although this Geeta saar was delivered in Punjabiised Hindi, I shall translate it into English for the uninitiated reader. Those savvy can retranslate in their mind for the full flavour.
“Listen son, I want to tell you something important. I am speaking with a whisky glass in hand, so I am speaking the truth.
We made you a Branch in charge, but you did not show any gratitude. We therefore had decided to remove you after this meeting. You however, managed to pull this coup, and even the corporate office is impressed. Thus, you are safe. If you continue to perform like this, we can’t touch a hair of your head, despite your arrogance and lack of proper deference and gratitude.
Remember this, to survive in the company; you can do one of two things. Be of service to your superiors, do Seva, or you can perform. If you do both, no one can match you, you too even become a General Manager, or even Chairman. But you have to do at least one. Out of the two, serving your superiors, or seva, is the best. Then, multitudes of faults are overlooked and mistakes excused. In performance, you may survive with your impudence as long as you keep up a super track record, but we will be watching you. The first mistake and you are toast.”
The young man ruminated over these gems of wisdom. It has stood the test of time. He has seen many colleagues practice the first and prosper. He has seen a few try the second and be ruined. He has seen even fewer try the golden combo and blossom. He himself, thanks to his contrary nature, stuck to the second, at a great cost, suffered some serious setbacks, but undaunted, continued to strive bull headedly, continued to reach new milestones, and marked out a niche for himself. He was fortunate later in his career to encounter professional bosses who appreciated his work ethic and style, He ultimately did almost reach the dizzying ranks promised by his first boss as a reward for achieving the golden double, but did so on his own terms.
He continues to appreciate the truth in the valuable lesson learnt from this initial guru.
Modified Impact Schadenfreude
Like everything else our action hero or super villain (depending on the colour of your ideology) prime minister does, this midnight surgical strike against black money by demonetisation of high value currency notes has led to raging controversies.
We are so used to empty talk that actual action of any kind sends shock waves through the system.
The Bhakts of course are indulging in their usual hosannas, and those allergic to the colour saffron are screaming against it, but these are programmed reactions.
I was keen to see how the mango people and the few more equal than others really thought of this completely unexpected masterstroke.
I personally was not affected much as my cash transactions are a bare minimal, and have only a single source of income, a government salary. But the area I stay in is bustling with billionaires. And they have a large retinue of servers who bustle around the figurative ‘below stairs’.
The morning after, our friendly neighbourhood park had a sombre look. No jolly walkers, no laughter clubs scaring off the birds or yoga clubs panting like dogs on a summer’s day. Just a few huddles of worried people could be seen, all of them intently discussing something. Eavesdropping proved that the subject was the problems of money, how to salvage it, and how to manage.
In contrast I saw barely suppressed glee in the huddle of uniformed chauffeurs outside the park, waiting to drive their masters back from the park.
The wags and wits on the social media had a field day, and extremely creative and innovative jokes, rhymes, cartoons and parodies of hit numbers went viral in every language.
It was the only topic of conversation at work, at teashops, on trains and on social media. The US elections, with all the hype, controversy and scandal, and even the shock results went completely unnoticed.
I asked the young man who drives my car, about his views. He said that of course there are difficulties, but nothing drastic as he buys everything on credit and settles once a month after getting his salary, and by then things should have settled. He was also ready to take his salary through electronic exchange. He confided that everyone in his housing cluster, mostly menial labourers and domestic help, as well as his peer group, the other drivers and cooks and maids in our residential complex are all really happy, for despite their difficulties, they loved to see their employers in panic mode. His co passengers in the train he takes to commute to the city also shared their opinion, but the petty traders and tradesmen who ran roadside shops were worried.
The next day the morning walkers seemed more resigned, and a few elderly gentlemen confided that their accountants have assured them that some way would be found out soon.
My sarathi came back with more news. Most of his colleagues earned big tips by standing in queues and depositing money in various accounts for their bosses, and that their friendly neighbourhood moneylender was ruined, he gleefully confided. He started speculating about the big names in politics and business and how they must be crying.
This I think is Schadenfreude, and the glee below stairs despite their discomfort is for the greater discomfort above stairs.
I too faced difficulties the first few days, but our grocer and chemist extended credit, and by the third day was accepting cards. The office boy who manages our banking exchanged whatever notes we carried with the relevant documents, so life carried on. He too provided some gossip that the numerous bars that dotted Mumbai are completely empty, and few people are visiting the restaurants. My kids provided another input, that the malls that were crowded with ladies splurging and paying with cash are now deserted, as were the hairdressers and beauticians. Everyone was happy with the news. More Schadenfreude I concluded.
I have some friends who are traders and small industry owners, and I called them for their reaction. They were badly hit, but were relishing the fact that their more successful colleagues were worse hit, and were also gung ho with the idea that a way out will soon be found. Definitely Schadenfreude I am sure.
The majority of my friends who were deeply outraged by the move were my friends in the academicia, media, and the old rich, people who were hardly affected. These were all idealistic liberal drawing room socialists, the members of the chattereti class. I was curious as to why they should oppose moves to cleanse the economy, as they themselves are absolutely clean.
The reason was that they were really upset that the person they considered a fascist rightwing demagogue should come up with it and boldly implement this step, while their own liberal left parties were left mouthing rhetoric.
The third day in the park, I struck up conversations with the worst affected people. They were mostly from the PMs home state, were very rich businessmen with strong allergies to the taxman, and the core support group to the party in power. It hurt them deeply to be hit by their poster boy. After all, they contributed heavily to the election funds, and what kind of reward was this? They rationalised that, actually this was targeted at the terrorists and Maoists who survived on cash influx, and to stop our evil neighbours from ruining our economy and spreading their murderous creed with infusions of counterfeit cash from across the border. They believed that as for the honest to god businessmen with slight aversion to paying taxes, a new loophole would soon be found.
It set me wondering; the targeted group is not unhappy as they have a feeling of kinship with the PM, the collateral damage aam janta is happy because the big guys are hurting badly, and the most to benefit honest liberal highly educated professional class are livid that how come an upstart chaiwallah has dared to do what we could not in so many years. I think rational thinking is a fictional quality.
I do not know whether this will work or not, but I am glad that some action has been taken. I was sick and tired of rhetoric. It is better to try something out. If it does not work, one can try something else.
In the meanwhile, I am thrilled that those richer than me are more uncomfortable. Schadenfreude.