It’s a common place for students and working professionals. It’s a common place for Ladies to bind together. It’s a place to take refuge in each other’s comfort. It’s a place where the ladies shed their frustrations and kilos.
Surprised? It’s my neighborhood ladies’ Gym, The Gym Fitness Factory. I am not a frequent visitor, nor do I hit the gym, however at times I drop in to collect the house key from my sister or take shelter from the rain.
A small place equipped with basic gym machines, only for ladies. Steppers, swiss balls, treadmill and other machines whose names I am unaware of , are always occupied with ladies working out on them. FM radio playing in the background makes the gym a lively vibrant place accompanied by the chatting of the fairer sex. “I gained 2 kgs after consuming chocolates” sighed Arti while working out on the tread mill whereas Prerna’s happiness knew no bounds to see the weighing machine measuring her weight two kilos less.
The instructor Raju, popularly addressed as “Bhaiyya”, irrespective of the age of the ladies, in the gym is a friend-philosopher-guide for all. They can confide in him and believe him blindfolded. The diet chart becomes no less than LOC which they follow strictly, more than their religion. When nobody has time to listen to the stories of their fluctuating weight or a tempting dish which they resisted, its Bhaiyaa who lends his patient ears to the repeated emotions. Friendly advice, sweet motivation and a warm smile is what he showers like an angel. Bhaiyya definitely commands the place along with their respect.
Dr. Rekha, a practicing doctor in AIIIMS, Juhi, a college student, Mrs. Sharma, a mother of two kids, Nina, an engineer, Smita, an aspiring model and my sister Preeti, are few regular visitors of the Gym. Different age groups, different professions, different races, all dissolve in one mission- Loose weight and keep fit. The common mission binds them together. Nobody mocks at those are overweight, nobody laughs at those whose clothes are always bought oversize, its care and concern for each other hence giving them a much needed mental support.
This ladies gym is not a modern expensive airconditioned gym, but definitely its class apart. After a hard day in college or work, the ladies socialize in this fitness factory. They vent out, speak their heart out and most important, share the experience of their bravery. Yeah, their stories of how bravely did they avoid ice cream at someone’s birthday or pitied themselves watching others hog Golgappa’s. Ladies in the factory do not have blood relations, but share a common goal, have a close support of each other. I found all eyes staring at me, once I had entered the gym to meet my sister for some work. I could sense the perplexed looks on their faces about my questionable presence there, since there was no extra fat which I had to lose. Amidst the eyes following me, slowly I grabbed a seat in the corner of the bench waiting for Preeti to finish her abs. Bhaiyya was busy helping Geetanjali, another plum lady, to do her sit ups. Preeti made me sit at Bhaiyya’s place and I played a fitness instructor for the first time. I enjoyed helping her do her sit ups and realized how much do these ladies go through each day! The social taboo of being tagged as Obese or “Tuntun” is actually tormentous. Social acceptance becomes a big issue for them which chases them in their nightmares too. Preeti ‘s goal is to keep fit rather than loose weight (She is not fat, by the way), which the ladies should follow.
The fitness factory is a religion, a mission, a common platform, a thread closely tying individuals towards the pain they share, the social acceptance and the social taboos.