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My fitness dream

My fitness levels

I had become unfit – horribly so. Especially post Covid. My strength was sapped, neither motivation nor desire to do much. I lazed in bed all day watching weird web series & eating. A lot of eating. Junk, fast food, sweets even ice-creams (a complete no-no for covid). Now, having broken my new year resolution in record time, i was stuck. My fitness dream was fast becoming just that. A dream.

Now the weight showed, I felt bloated & unhealthy. But that didn’t stop me. Till i realised something else. I had stopped writing. And thats when i decided –

Seeking help

I need to do something man, i told H over the phone.

Dai! H admonished me. I heard him, made the right noises before i hung up. I closed my eyes. What H said made sense. I needed to do something – but how? The watch-eat-sleep-repeat vortex had consumed me.

My eyes shut; i imagined an eagle circling the skies. It soared around refusing to land. Scared that once it sits, it may not fly again. I had to make a move.  

Of move-making

Get fit

Should get new clothes–, H heard me out as i reached out to him again, –that will break the jinx, i said barely convinced myself.

Without judging me, H told me where to get them from. F street –  despite the pandemic, it was open. Old city, old school, narrow by lanes – in that it was another narrow lane – very risqué, dangerous. Hence, very alive. Just what i needed.  

I didn’t waste time, got into a train. I continued talking to H, he had given me directions. Soon i found myself in the narrow lane. There i found this clothes cart. Something H has spoken about. Or maybe not. Who cares? Here i was, in this narrow lane, at the cart with clothes. and right ahead stood my –

My Doppelganger

Photo by Emre Can Acer on

A young man stood there – side parting hair, t-shirt, gold chain, brown skin. Bling, glib, smooth talking. Mr Snake-oil. 25 years ago, I knew someone else exactly like him. Me.

I smiled at him. He nodded, asked me what i wanted. I eyed the goods – white shirts & denim jeans. Not exactly fitness clothes. Still, i didn’t want to argue. Not now, not with him or H.  

Confession – there was another reason i didn’t move away. In a day was M’s birthday. M was my ex. Maybe we would meet. Even though i had to steer clear of her. But that’s not how it works.

Anything in size 40? I asked.

You need a 44 – he said without missing a beat.  

You sure? I wanted to ask. But i didn’t ask. Because i didn’t want to know.

You won’t get that size easily–, he confided, -this is a young man’s market. I looked around; people milling around, all in T’s, caps-denims, showing muscles, vigour. Most were young, most were men. and yes – most were fit.

I know just the  place, he said as i turned to leave.

Take me there & i will give you 200 to just do that, I cracked a one-liner. He heard me, laughed, said – wait a while. So, i did. I hope he hadn’t taken that line seriously of

My false promises

I watched Mr. Snake-oil at work. He kept directing customers to a particular shop called Reliance. He never sold anything himself. Still a lot of stuffed white envelopes came his way. He nodded at the men who got it to him before pocketing it. The men were all wearing a white t’s-denims & caps. On their T-shirt was the alphabet R.

I was getting hungry, restless. I wanted to sit down. no chance on that busy street. So, i waited. Even though I didn’t really want to.

Follow me, he abruptly said. Then he got up, began walking away. I had no choice but to follow. His shop was left just like that, unattended. But i knew just like him – nothing would be missing.

We entered narrow lanes, funny shops with fuzzy names. They all seemed to be selling whites & denims.  Till we reached the corner. And there it was.

Now the corner wasn’t so narrow. A wide highway ran next to it. At the curb was the building. Its name board caught the winter sun & shone – Reliance.

Oh, oh! it’s closed. The moment for a major ….

Face Palm moment

Photo by Anna Shvets on

Mr Snake-oil’s words shook me. looked closely at the shut shutters. Dejected I turned to go. Wordlessly we walked back to the narrow lane. To a tea-shop. He ordered tea. I drank, he didn’t. He didn’t disturb me as i took my first sip. Then he said –

The 200 you promised.

I looked up. He was smiling.

Yeah right – I didn’t smile. Then i finished my tea, got up to leave.

You said it not me, he chided me. I shook my head. Turned to walk away cursing him, cursing Reliance, cursing….

My fitness dream.

Cursing the dark, i opened my eyes. In my room the darkness refused to die. But i knew it was over. In the distance my laptop lay shut.  

Write fit!

The morning sun rose as i finished writing this piece, . In my fitness dream, i did pay Mr Snake-oil. Not just two hundred but three hundred. Because now i had written. All thanks to him. And thanks to my fitness dream.

Post credits – Soni Anthony. Photo credits –, Soni Anthony.


Published by appamprawns

soni writes about children and people in controlled spaces, in his quest for appam stew. homi writes in the hope of being able to buy prawns to make patiyo.

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