How to Get Thrown Out of a Gym - Part 2

(Continued from How to be a Workout Nazi...)

"I also remember a guy during those initial days of gym. He used to go Ryan Gosling from Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) on us in the locker room. Although not fully nude, he would strip down to his bare minimum and do some free-hand exercises that would require lots of bending and twisting. Things, you don't want to see on your first day at gym. So, trust me when I say I braved it out there in those initial period. Trying to gel in, I stripped down myself to those shorts showing some skinny legs, lest they think I was homophobic!"

The biweekly weight check and diet counselling was carried out by a professional who sits in an office at the ladies' gym. Not so surprisingly, everyone at the men's gym wants to get their weights checked all the time. After 4 weeks of working out (and two discarded, outgrown t-shirts later), I was asked to get my weight checked at the office. Little did I know, that the professional might've been the real life inspiration for the protagonist in the movie Bheja fry (2007) or Le dîner de cons (1998).

Why this pretentious French analogy? You'll see!

To be a Workout Nazi - Part 1

Apart from the fact that I almost fainted on the very first day of it, working out at the gym has rather been a unique experience. I've met some peculiar people there, have encountered some eccentric work-out routines and have come across some distinctive personalities not directly associated with the particular form of 'healthcare'.

Sometimes, your whole life boils down to that one insane experience to write a blogpost about.
In two parts, in this case.

After being cajoled into obtaining a membership at the local gym, I remember to have regretted it immediately afterwards. I mean what was I thinking? Were my 'club-sandwich-for-breakfast' and 'chicken-wings-for-snacks' days over? Was I really going to commit to such self-inflicted atrocity? It certainly seemed like that at the moment. And quite unfortunately, now I had an entire family in support of my decision! Now although you'd think my physique always needed a facelift, I assure you it was just my ambitious tummy that singlehandedly forced me into it.

And also perhaps a glimpse into the future - of days to come - of me being surrounded by bikini-clad tanned undergrads at the golden beaches of the sunshine county.

Back on earth, after the membership at the gym, I rested for a day. I passed a filthy eateria at the corner of the street that evening and pledged myself off it's menu. I bought a new pair of Umbro running shoes and 'test-ran' in them for a few rounds on the terrace. They were so perfectly comfortable that I almost cried.


This will be an extremely personal post, so don't go reading into it too much if you don't particularly like the sorts. Remember I warned you!

There are times when you feel utterly hopeless. Like whatever you have done, or are doing, would ultimately amount to nothing. That in the whole seventy plus years you've lived or would perhaps live, and all the work that you've done or would do, they would simply not matter in the end. That you would not matter. Your life wouldn't matter, like so many everyday. Your name wouldn't be remembered. You wouldn't be remembered. That however much you've tried doing things against that, you've ended up achieving nothing.

How can anyone live knowing that?

Yesterday I went to the market to get some eggs, 'Dada, I'll buy the entire tray. We'll be having guests tonight!' I added, with a smile, 'Mum is thinking Biryani!' The shopkeeper smiled and separated an entire tray from the pack, as he devised ways to pack the eggs within safely. Just then, a puny little dark-coloured boy approached and asked meekly from behind me, 'Do you have broken eggs?'

I turned around and saw that he held another precariously broken egg in the other hand. I looked at his face and trust me if I say that his is the most innocent face I've seen in a really long while. With soiled, curly hair, a dirty half-shirt belonging to a discarded school uniform and shorts that were a little too short, this four foot tall kid maintained a distance from the shop and me. Compared to his otherwise dull demeanor, his gaze was strikingly sharp. And it was towards the one broken egg that the shopkeeper had kept separately.

'Do you have broken eggs?' he asked again.

The Marble Palace - a well-kept secret of Calcutta

Everytime I go to the northern parts of the city of Calcutta, I feel like I have gone back in time on a time machine. Not that I go much. Had I known that I just had to wait for the budding art enthusiastic friend to come back home from her grad studies in New Jersey in order to be rediscovering some forgotten history of my own city, I would have had something to look forward to in the summer!

The northern part of Kolkata, oops.. sorry.. of Calcutta, is that old part of the city where people from south seldom visit. Many among the youngsters today, do not know that this city was once called the 'City of Palaces' (now used, rather in reference to Mexico city) - you can see for yourself the dilapidated palaces and their decaying columns from Victorian times on your way to the Howrah station. But you've got to visit North Kolkata in order to truly establish this expression.

Just a few steps north from the M.G. Road metro station, further away from the Calcutta Medical College side on a lane to the left, lies a secret that the city has carefully preserved over the ages.

The Marble Palace is a nineteenth century mansion built by Raja Rajendra Mullick, a wealthy merchant and a renowned zamindar in 1835. The palace is maintained privately by the Mullick family, which to me is a mind-blowing fact for reasons I'll soon mention. And that is also the reason why photography is prohibited. Restricted entry is allowed for free, provided one obtains a permit from the West Bengal Tourism Information Bureau, a day prior to the visit.

What strikes you first, as you enter the grounds through the wrought iron gate, is an old gatekeeper holding a rusty spear welcoming you cautiously into the grounds. From the very entrance, you can see a large oval lawn with marble statues of lions in various positions of sleeping, sitting, prowling, yawning spread across the place. The perimeter of the lawn is an old unpaved track for horse-driven carriage of a gone-by era, that leads to the house on the front.