Physically fat to physically fit, basically physically phata phat!

Our obsession with the ‘muscles’ is only getting stronger. This is true across the classes whether it is the extremely rich or the extremely poor. Mumbai gyms are ideological centers of the Great Muscle Revolution.

So with the gold, silver, walking and singing gyms all over the city, you tend to wonder what happened to us and how did we get here. It’s no longer about being ‘healthy’ as the old timers often complain, it about looking ‘fit’. In order for the body to look fit the gym should obviously look fit as well. The average ‘Jai’ today yearns for fancy gyms with the equipments looking like God himself works out there. Whatever happened to our old school ‘Akhadas’ for the working class hero, the wooden phallic shaped equipment? What about the sweaty grind of bodies, the ‘Langotiya Yaar’ who would unabashedly hug you from the pillion seat as you went about Carter Road to pick out ‘Jai’s or mine’?

Guess what, they shifted to the welfare gyms in areas you would not call ‘fancy’. The Ville Parle Association gym near the Ville Parle station is a long standing example of the working class hero’s gym, this is where he feels strong, this is where he takes off his shirt and starts with the dumbbells while looking at himself in the mirror wondering, “What does she see in the other guy?” Every lift gives rise to this look in their eyes, every increase in muscle makes him look at his biceps when he answers ‘her call’. These local gyms might not look ‘fit’ but compensate with images of ‘Super Fit Freaks’ posted all over. The inspirational images work like ‘Spot the Difference’ columns in newspapers where the patrons keep on going till they look like their idols, Vaan Daam and Arnold Shavigaggar.

The shocker being, the deposit is 200 Rs, the monthly fee is 200 Rs and yearly 1900, which is quite a steal. There is no special membership requirement. When I asked the guy if I need to be from this area to join, he said, you could be from Bhayander and it still wont matter, anybody can join.

The fat is dead! Long live the muscle!

1 comment:

  1. You forget how important hygiene has become. The regular gym guy with the big biceps back in the day didnt really care that the ends of the machines were rusting or that another someone had poured his sweat all over a machine and left it wet and comfy for the next user.... So lack of disinfectant spray poses as an issue to the urban fit guy too! (Maybe even God would mind if there wasn't disinfectant spray at the gym ;) ) Awareness, the internet, the huge increase in significance of 'status' and image consciousness all attribute to the fit boys thronging to the golds and silvers and walking and singing gyms around town. Just my opinion!