Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Weighed Down- 2

Since the last time he was weighed down, he decided to buy trousers and jeans with one eye on the future. That meant buying size 34 jeans when his waist was still 32". This implied two things-

a) He could keep glutting without worrying about waking up with the jeans's button and button hole a foot apart

b) He felt good wearing a pair of loose jeans every morning. It made him feel thin- which is more important than actually being thin. Think about those models who are as flat as Tom when a door slams him against the wall, but still deprive themselves of good, greasy, creamy, cholesteroley, fatty, starchy food.

He went to the US feeling pretty good about himself. He also started playing tennis, which meant he could afford to eat without girthical fears. He threw caution to the hurricane and returned every week from Walmart and the Indian store with 2 gigantic bags of potato chips, a semicircular cake with cream on every side and inside, 3 large packets of Haldirams bhujiya, 2 bottles of mango juice, and umpteen frozen ready-to-eat meals. That's not to say he didn't cook. While the ready-to-eats were intended to be used on days he was too tired to cook, he eventually ended up cooking on days he ran out of ready-to-eats. He also developed the habit of ordering a medium-size Dominos pizza and garlic bread every week. He was under the honest (mistaken) impression that all those hours of tennis (1 hour of doubles and 1 hour of twiddling-thumbs-waiting-for-your-turn every day) would burn the extra calories he was consuming by the thousands. Little did he know it was like that standard question- A frog climbs 100 feet up and slips 1 foot down a well every day. How far is it from the starting point after 10 days?

Damn evolution! Like you can't notice incremental changes in your height every day (unless you drink Complan regularly, which will supposedly make you the tallest structure in the world after the Burj), you also can't notice incremental changes in weight. So while the adipose was gradually fortifying itself and expanding him ever so slightly, he continued gorging without a care in the world. Even when he saw his loose jeans weren't as loose anymore, he didn't lose sleep over it. After all, clothes shrink when you wash them, don't they?

Then, Los Angeles happened. Cameras came out and megabytes were consumed. He posed for photos merrily- smiling, laughing, standing, and sitting. On the last day of his visit, he transferred the pictures to a laptop to look at his well-toned, shapely, muscular, athletic self. What he saw came as a thunderous shock; Hanuman fumbled with the Dronagiri and it came crashing down on him. His face, once small, thin, and ugly, was now big, round, and ugly. All the photographs he thought would be worthy of sending to the auditions for the next Bond, turned out to be perfect for VLCC's Before photo. The growth in his stomach was 3-dimensional, so whether you took an elevation, plan, or side view, you would be able to notice the ungainly bulge. His loose t-shirts could scarcely hide his sins, and were stretched to the point of being short-tops. When he sat in the flight next morning, he was half-afraid the seat-belt wouldn't go around. It did. He ordered a meal and box of Pringles. Half-way through his box of Pringles, he realised he had to stop this junk. He just had to. He mulled over this over the remaining half-box of Pringles, a packet of cookies, and a nice, soft, buttery cake.

He was so scared of stepping on the weighing machine, that he didn't. But he assumed he would be in the 75-80 kg range. A strict diet followed- no more rice, chips, mango juice, ready-to-eats, and pizzas. He began cooking and playing tennis everyday. He was confident this would work. It did. By January, he looked less grotesque. But 4 months in India, marked by curd rice with pickle, chaat, oily sabjis with enough oil to make OPEC irrelevant if used to run cars, and all kinds of sweets, were enough to inflate him to Los Angelical proportions again. And this time there was no tennis. But he climbed 6 floors of stairs to his office everyday, again giving him the impression that it justified his pre-climb and post-climb gluttony. He also did 20 crunches every day (for 10 days), and followed this rigorous work-out with 2 packets of burnt Maggi, chips, and cookies.

Well, when he finally got back to the US on June 1, he decided he would relive his post-Los Angeles-pre-India days. He started cooking everyday; he almost completely abstained from snacking- the only snacks he had were Wheat crackers (0g fat). Whatever he bought had to pass the flip-it-around-and-see-the-fat-content test. He began eating fruits regularly. The tennis was back too- and it was singles this time, which meant more running, more sweat, more calories burned. In addition, at work, he went out into the field almost everyday, climbing insanely tall ladders, crawling through holes, and in general sweating enough to regenerate the Saraswati. Whenever he felt like indulging in a sweet or a cake or something tasty-but-fatty, he'd take off his shirt and face the mirror, and wince at the excrescence he'd see.

Anyway, after 3 weeks of strict dieting, climbing, crawling, and tennising, he was confident that he would be back in the early 70s; 72 probably, or at the most 73. After another intense work-out in the field, he stepped expectantly on the weighing scale. These weighing scales aren't digital or the circular automatic types which tell you your weight instantly so that you can step off before your friend sees it. These are balances. You have to slide a weight along a scale till the scale is stable. So it gets kind of Swadesical as you keep sliding the weight waiting for the scale to stabilize. To cut a long, painful story short, the scale read 152lbs! Less than 70 kilos! He was over the moon, till his colleague came around, corrected the scale, so that the new, correct reading was 170lbs. 77 kilos. He was aghast; he stepped off, took off his heavy coveralls and H2S monitor- that was about as naked as he could get in office- and stepped back on. It read 169 lb. He went back to his desk and sighed.