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Srinath Sridhar went to the gym,Srinath Sridhar though he’d get slim Well did he or didn’t he? Read on to find out.

Let me introduce myself. I’m a Tam Bram. We eat curd rice and are nice people. Exercise is one of the seven deadly sins and involves at the most pressing the buttons of a remote while flipping channels on the television. An intricate math problem? An uninvited discourse on Aristotle? We are the guys. Physical activity… u kidding?
So I was moving into hitherto uncharted territory when I decided to join the gym.
My Mom couldn’t have reacted more strongly if I said I was going to become a nudist. She stared at me open mouthed.”Gym? Do I feed you so that you can go and waste it waste it lifting funny contraptions? What if you become thin?”

One fine day feeling a bit like Christopher Columbus and having pushed my chest out a couple of nonexistent inches I walked into ‘Bodygrow’. Pictures of men with nonexistent underpants and muscles jutting out at the unlikeliest angles adorned the walls.

All around me I saw big men with funny looking faces lifting a variety of heavy apparatus. I nervously approached the biggest guy in the place assuming that he must be the instructor. He gave me the once over, frowned and shook his head.
“LIFT, PUSH, JUMP” he suddenly bellowed.
I jumped out of my skin and nearly hit the ceiling. Weakly catching on to a treadmill for support I stuttered, “W…What?”

“What are you waiting for? Start lifting and pushing and jumping!” He growled.
Forcing my face into what I thought was a grin I backed away.
I was frowning in concentration, straining as I pulled at a weight. Suddenly a hand tapped me from behind. The abominable instructor man was back.
“Contort your face,” he said. I pulled my face into an ugly distorted angle. “Look into the mirror, he growled. I looked, rather pleased at how ugly I had made myself. “Do you want to be stuck with this face for life?”
I prudently remained silent.

“Do not contort your face while exercising. The facial muscles could stay that way forever.” He walked away after another of his hammer-hits on my back.
Suddenly I had a bright idea. I thoughtfully set my face into what I assumed was a handsome, appealing expression. If my face was going to become a certain way due to contortion I would rather it be this face of mine! For the next ten minutes I exercised like that, staring straight ahead.

With a start I suddenly realized a guy opposite me was staring at me oddly. Suddenly he winked. I slowly straightened out the grin into a normal expression, hoping he would understand that I was not the Brokeback mountain kind. Me and my big ideas.

I had no idea that there were girls in my gym till the day a lovely damsel walked in. As she hopped and jumped in her pink tights I would discreetly steal glances. When she was around I would try to do things like lifting weights I would not normally dream of.

With what I thought was a spectacular amount of weight on the apparatus I lifted with an almost heroic expression. When my back showed signs of breaking down, I got off the machine patting myself on the back for having suitably impressed the girl.

The girl walked over to the same apparatus. After clicking her tongue casually she added a couple more weights and started working the machine rapidly. A smothered giggle added to my humiliation.

And yeah the pains. Especially the first day. The only consolation I could think of was that there was no specific spot that pained. It pained if I laughed, it pained when I breathed and damn it, it pained when I tried using the remote too.

It’s been two months now. I wish I had a “before” and “”after” “picture to show you like the tele shopping network. I know I don’t look like anything close to Arnold of ‘Terminator’ fame. But for the disbelieving I assure you under the clothes the muscles are in place. “Asta la vista baby” …I guess..!!!

Srinath Sridhar

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