It was pitch dark when I heard the beep. Still drugged by sleep, I blindly reached for my cellphone, switched off the 5.00 am alarm and dozed off again. Suddenly, I woke up with a start. I was on a strange bed in a strange room. Realisation dawned on me. I was at the naturopathy clinic I had booked myself into. And I was late for my morning walk.
On my birthday, I had decided to indulge myself with a weekend of naturopathy and detoxification — the exact opposite of the annual birthday bash of madness. So there I was, waiting for Mother Nature to wave her magic wand over us and cleanse us of our over-indulgences.
After a session of yoga, it was time for a consultation with the doctor. I waited with trepidation, for I knew he would shake his finger at me for all my sins. After listening to my confession, he prescribed a list of treatments.
Soon I found myself with a group of overweight women. We were to go through mud-therapy. Cakewalk, I thought. I was wrong. It’s not easy being slathered in cold, wet mud. And waiting for the mud to dry up with middle-aged women talking incessantly in the background is not quite my idea of relaxation. I was only too relieved when I was allowed to take a shower.
Next came the massage. This, I promised myself, I would enjoy. The masseuse approached me and taking a look at the treatment slip, clicked her tongue and shook her head solemnly. I tried to smile at her, but she turned on her heel, leaving me bereft on the massage table. She returned with a bottle of foul-smelling oil and unwavering purpose on her face. By the time she worked on my toes and feet, I decided that I hated her. My feet were numb with pain.
As if on cue, the entire hall resounded with the thunderous sound of us all being mercilessly bashed. After the initial shock, I found myself grinning in amusement. Here we were, bodies abused by our reckless lifestyles, subjecting ourselves to torture to get back into shape. An hour later, I crawled to my room but not before I met the ‘good girl’ of the lot. This lady had shed 17 kg after staying there for over a month and was still losing weight. In a pious note, she admonished me for missing my walk and not taking my treatment seriously. I hung my head in what I prayed was appropriate shame and remorse.
Food was sprouts and raw veggies rationed by the doctor. As my friend who bravely accompanied me to the centre emerged from his quarters, we meticulously planned our escape. The next morning, we packed our bags and explained that we had an emergency call. Within minutes, we were out of the gates. Let’s face it, some of us are happier living in sin.