Indians, it is said, are a deeply religious lot. For urban Indians, gymming is the new religion, and the daily yatra (travel) to the gym is the new pilgrimage.
Instead of trekking up mountains where the gods reside, we fervently toil on the treadmills. Koshto korley keshto meley (hard work will lead you to divinity). So, huff puff huff puff pant pant pant pant… (are the pants becoming looser?).
The strict tofu-and-lettuce diets follow the route of self-denial and the austerity of upavaas (fasting). Detox the body and purify the inner/leaner self. Overcome GLUTTONY, the deadliest sin…do NOT drool over the DEVIL’S DESSERTS (or Satan’s saturated fats). And, if we do (and I often do) get tempted, we can do our prayaschitra (redemption) by an extra hour of treadmill-ing.
We are the new CRUSADERS (AGAINST CALORIES), seeking the elusive HOLY GRAIL OF THE SIZE ZERO/SIX PACK. Ramakrishna said, jato math, tato path (there are as many paths to God as there are faiths). So, pilates, aerobics, kick-boxing, belly-dancing or the genuinely divine yoga, all roads will, hopefully, lead us to THE ONE goal – the body perfect.
In this gym-mandir (temple), we forget the macrocosm (kids, spouse, office, home, kitchen... the whole calorie-filled world) and focus on the micro – the biceps, the abs, the little finger on the right…with absolute concentration. The reward for THE DEVOUT is the feeling of SHEER VIRTUOUSNESS that a gym-session brings in us.
The Hare Rama Hare Krishna chant is replaced with Bollywood music (the new prayer on the pilgims’ lips, er...earphones) pulsating from the speakers, egging us on, creating a trance-like self-absorption that can almost transcend the finite (and fat-laden) boundaries of the self.
And as we shed our inhibitions and, hopefully, the kilos of fat, our inner, leaner selves merge into the divine…the demi-god figures of a Salman Khan or a Bipasha Basu (or a Posh Spice or Becks). As the body is liberated from the calorie-shackles, NIRVANA (divine bliss) is attained. HALLELUJAH! HARI OM!
CONFESSION BOOTH: This PILGRIM’S PROGRESS is very tedious and transgression-filled, her treadmill-CANTERBURY TALES is more of a sedate stroll, but she hopes that at the end of the road she’ll meet the GOD OF SMALL THINGS (Waistlines, specifically).
What's your gym-confession?