Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Samosa Chaat & Power Yoga

I read somewhere recently that a good cause of obesity in women over 35 could be career-obsessed husbands who stop paying attention to their wives. Which in turn allows the women to lose interest in maintaining themselves in slim-svelte-type conditions and results in over eating and indulgence and lack of motivation for exercise and yada-yada two years later whale alert in the home.

It reminded me, rather perversely, about a certain something a friend of mine yelled at me several several years ago. The year was 1998. To be precise, it was April 1998. Now don't ask me for the date. I would make it up of course. You would have no way of checking up on it. Anyhow, it was April, and spring had sprung on us with a vengeance. Amherst, Massachusetts, in the spring, is lovely. Flowers and trees and the right amount of warmth and all the undergrads in colourful skirts and tees and strappy sandals and shorts. I was basking in the sudden sun and on a whim decided to go for a run. I anyway wanted to check out what happened beyond that traffic light at the corner where we always turned left. So off I went, jog-jog-jogging along. A little short of breath thanks to the winter blubber and the fact that the air was still a trifle cold for my tropical lungs. I was returning home, having checked out luscious trees and a real quaint old bridge and nice American homes which were not overflowing with desi graduate students cooking chole and rajma on alternate nights.

I had just almost reached our smelly complex with its beer-stained carpeting and creaky staircases when this dear friend of mine saw me. He was heading off to the lab, for another crack at that experiment that failed in the morning or some such. KENNY he yelled. YEAH I yelled back from across the street. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? he says. UHH RUNNING. WHY? I retort, a bit upset now since I had to stop and had a good rhythm going, but in some ways relieved to have an excuse to catch my breath. BUT WHY? YOU ARE MARRIED!! he screams at me. Over the years I have never let him forget this remark that spontaneously slipped out of his mouth that day back in 1998 in a sun-filled yet cool Massachusetts college town.

I did not stop to explain that day, I just yelled SO? back at him and continued on. But over the years I have told him soberly and drunkenly about what I think is the meaning of being married. I wonder if he ever got it though. You know, the stuff about not losing your individuality and identity just because you happened to change that thing in your Facebook profile from Single to Married. I like running. I generally like to be fit, but more importantly I like to exercise and feel one with nature (or even the treadmill, if required) even if I don't lose much weight. My husband likes it too (I mean he likes exercising), but his interest is more in muscle and iron and protein supplementation. Which has nothing to do with me or what I think or what I like his body to be like.

Even though I am very nearly 35 now. And we have been married for some 11 years now. And the husband is increasingly and frustratingly busy with his career compulsions and associated travel and commuting. In fact when I mentioned it to him last night when he called me all frazzledly from Delhi, he was sure that it made a lot of sense. As in, women want to look good for their husbands, and if he is not paying particular attention, they lose interest in it and so on.

Oh! but I personally SO disagree! I hope I don't live to bite these words back. Rap me on the knuckle if I do. If I became obscenely fat, not in a healthy plump way because that is what my body is like but in a unhealthy way that smacks of too much indulgence and too little exercise, it would be pretty much nothing to do with any man, frankly. It would be something I would blame on myself, my stress levels, my loss of interest in life. But that is just me. Just like I don't use nail-polish and lip-stick or straighten my hair although my husband may like stuff like that, simply because I find it all a major pain in the neck and am not even really sure I know how to carry things like that off.

But still, I do make (and have even begun to like) the foods that he likes. Pongal and Aviyal to mention a couple of things I hated as a child and now will happily pour my heart into to make, just to watch him eat with relish. And heck! I like them too now. Anyway in general I respect him in a lot of ways and vice versa too but when it comes to how much we eat or exercise (or read! how can I forget that!) and our ideal about our bodies, well, we are really on our own there! But thats us. I cannot speak for the others, though I would think that getting your exercise and not over-doing the chips and coke is something you do for yourself. That is clear to me though I have other lessons to learn, even after these 11 years, like lowering expectations and not nagging and not micromanaging, and especially, not getting stressed out about inane things.


Ludwig said...

> Amherst, Massachusetts, in the
> spring, is lovely.

All of this is only reminding me of long, long overdue, horribly cloying and mawkish post on said town.

> I anyway wanted to check out
> what happened beyond that
> traffic light at the corner
> where we always turned left.

So this is interesting. Another data point, as it were. Did all of us desis who lived in the beer stained apartment complex wonder about the road less taken at the traffic light?

I know that I did. When I hauled my ass belatedly off couch (Spring, 1998, Amherst, MA!) the first couple of experiments involved not making the left turn (or right turn, which was all uphill and one of the well driven routes to Boston anyway).

And a different world it was. Nice American homes, ball games, sunlight, dappled leaves, yada yada, innit?

Oh Kenny, look what you've done, you shouldn't have written this. [Even as I completely ignore the main thrust of the post!]

kbpm said...

some of my memories seem like imaginative concoctions so we should really compare notes one day. ignore main thrust no problems! i have only informed ONE of my friends about your Quiz and he already knew since he claims to be in touch with you.

Part of the point was Spring, which used to feel amazingly well deserved after the hellish winters.

Ram Tekumalla said...

> I anyway wanted to check out
> what happened beyond that
> traffic light at the corner
> where we always turned left.

Which traffic was this? The one near Cumberland farms and the Bed & Breakfast?

kbpm said...

>Which traffic was this? The one near >Cumberland farms and the Bed & >Breakfast?

Yep, that one. We used to go on that road for a very short while for booze & cigarettes but in my jog i went well past that. that bridge thing was really picture perfect.

Orcaella brevirostris said...

Ah, the smelly, creaky apartments in Amherst that were named after two types of alcohol..

As a newly-wed (under a year= newly wed?) I too have wondered about marriage and expanding waistlines. I agree that it's about yourself, but then I too am of the slightly-pudgy-one-who-loves-to-run-n-swim variety.

For those who don't actually enjoy the exercising, I suppose it becomes all too easy to slide into a morass of more-ass.

kbpm said...

no not that apartment complex. i was in the other one, closer to school...god knows what it was named after. we were often told that they were the places given to the workers who built the university buildings.. as something meant to put us in our places perhaps as starving, F1 visas. i always thought that was quite romantic. though i doubt i would say that if i had to live in the blue-tarp-covered shacks the construction workers here seem to live in. i mean, only because there are no attached loos and you have line up on the side of the go-kart track with a paint pail of water for the morning routine...

it *is* sort of presumptuous of me to comment on marriage and its meaning. its for each of us to soul search and figure out right? and i generally suck at every normal human social venture at any rate.

dipali said...

I loved this post. It was so much an established norm when I was a child that once a woman got married, she was supposed to be plump and roly poly. Silly assumption, but it did exist. I guess people accepted lifestyle diseases as a part of normal aging. There was actually very little general health awareness, way back in the sixties when I was a child. People like my grandfather and father walked in the mornings because they loved walking. My father rode a bike to his office for years. I loved walking myself, still do. Yes, now my body-image and self-image is more about me than my significant other. I would hate to have my husband tell me to lose weight.
Soon after I was married, I was thinking aloud about getting contact lenses. My mother and husband both promptly spoke in unison, "Why do you need contact lenses? Now you are married".

I'm glad things have changed somewhat at least!