Bhaskar Sharma is a regular 35-year-old corporate slave. You’ll get to know him better over time as we bring you excerpts from his diary – because “life isn’t easy for middle-aged men”
Last week, Sameer, my Director, took me along for a technology conference hosted by one of our clients. When we met Ravi Nair, the CEO of a popular shopping portal, Sameer introduced me as one of his heavy-weights. Just as I beamed at the acknowledgement of my immense contribution to the bottom-line, looked up at him gratefully and mouthed “thanks”, the rascal Ravi looked me up and down and said, “Do you mean literally?” and they both laughed like schoolgirls. Who appoints these people as senior executives?
I spent the rest of the evening holding my stomach in, which also meant taking in huge gulps of air occasionally, and then holding my breath for as long as I could. Like a whale. Oh god.
Talking of whales, try this. Say this out loud ten times. “The white wet whale waited to weigh at the weighing wagon after working out.”
I am not fat, man. Ok, I have a little paunch. Ok, I am just slightly over-weight, but why does everybody keep telling me ways to lose weight?
If I wanted, I could easily become like Hrithik. What’s the big deal? Go to the gym, lift some dumbbells, do some exercise and eat lots of chicken for protein. I say that’s a good life compared to mine, slogging away in the office for such long hours. Can Hrithik make fancy Excel files with elaborate vlookups and macros? No, right? I have six-pack abs in my brain.
But I still try. I have installed all the right apps on my iPhone. I have one that measures how many calories I burn while sitting on the desk. Some days I sit an hour extra just because it seems to result in 10 calories burnt. I have one that measures the heart rate, one that measures the number of steps I take, and one that prompts a motivational message every few hours.
Weight may be a weighty issue for some, but to be honest, I don’t worry too much about these things. Though some people go overboard. Sameer did something known as the GM diet and lost five kilos in a week. I of course complimented him on how he looks a changed man, and how I envy his good looks. I have to get that promotion this year.
It was weird though. He ate only boiled gobhi on Monday, bananas on Tuesday, spinach on Wednesday, paneer on Thursday, and again bananas on Friday. I think this is called going bananas, not on a diet. He lost five kilos, then spent Saturday in a bar drinking beer.
The missus does crib a lot. I just can’t even eat a mango with her around. Sometimes I have to go to the bathroom to enjoy a delicious, succulent, juicy Dussehri. Ah, even writing about it is making me hungry.
How will she understand? She is thin like a stick, eats like a sparrow, and shouts at me like a lioness. She takes good care of herself, going to the gym, not eating anything, reading fitness magazines, and cooking in extra-virgin Olive oil. (Extra virgin? Not me. Haha)
I tell her this is perfect. She is under-weight. I am over-weight. If you take the average, our children are going to be just right.
But can you ever say no to the missus? She forced me to sign up for the gym. The rascals are such a scam, they made me pay for the entire year upfront. Boss, my four years of engineering didn’t cost as much as this place’s annual membership. I had half a mind to ask them if they had any open job positions. With such a brilliant business model, they must surely be rolling in cash.
For someone more used to spending time at restaurants and bars, going to that place was an unnerving experience. It was a bit intimidating watching so many people in tight clothes running on treadmills or lifting weights like they are at the Asian Games.
The trainer I was assigned was brutal. The dude had biceps bigger than my waist, and waist smaller than my biceps. I mean, what’s with the confusion boss? The few times I worked out with him, the guy seemed like he wanted to teach me a lesson for the temerity of showing up, with his ruthless exercise routine that never seemed to end. The poor guy was probably pissed because his girlfriend ran away with a fat guy or something.
He would keep shouting encouragements.
“Come on, Bhaskar.”
“Just one more rep, Bhaskar.”
It reached a point where every time he said, “You can do it, Bhaskar,” my mind translated it to “You can quit, Bhaskar. Be brave.
So after five such sessions, I quit. My body was sore all over and my joints were threatening to break free. I couldn’t risk any more damage. What’s the point of destroying my body to get a stronger one? Who am I? Wolverine?
Annual charges paid in advance. Total of five gym visits. Five. The RoI on my gym membership must be even worse than Air India and Kingfisher.
As you can imagine, the missus wasn’t happy. That night I got a dinner of boiled gobhi and a soup that tasted like it was made of carrots, spinach, my socks, and freshly cut grass from the golf-course that our apartment overlooks.
I slept with a heavy heart that night, the trauma of the gym experience weighing on me.
Also read: The diary of Bhaskar Sharma - Neither hair not there
Illustrations by: Abhijeet Kini
Atulya is the author of two books, his latest being a political satire titled Democrazy. He tweets as @amreekandesi
From HT Brunch, August 23
Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch
Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch