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Jus’ this morning, there I was, all smiling and happy. I was preparing for my ‘Mallu’ bath. A Mallu bath, for the uninitiated, is the post-dawn bathroom ceremony of a Malayali. And it’s a ceremony only because it involves rubbing oil ceremonially all over your body before the bath. I don’t believe in the all-over-the-body thing. So I reached out for the bottle of Parachute, poured a liberal quantity into my palm and rubbed in the coconut oil into my scalp alone. I was almost done when it happened.
I broke my neck! Now, I am not in the fittest of physical conditions. Never have been. I’ve always broken myself. In the leg, in the back in the everywhere. When I thought that things were getting out of hand, I did attempt gyming. (I just found out that there’s no such word as gyming! Now I’m a wordsmith…)
The gym was this wow-wow wonderland for me and the equally daft Soos who doesn’t know his elbow from his knee. We used to be up by five each morning and make a beeline for the gym, all eager and ready. The instructor there must have figured out that his fresh recruits would always remain the ugly ducklings of the fitness world because even two months after, he insisted that we notify him on finishing each round so that he could carefully direct us further. This wasn’t going any further, literally. And I gave up.
Then I drew up this agenda where in I’d go jogging on the beach each morning. I happen to live near the Marina. (On the Marina, you mollusc!) Well, I’m a hop away from the beach and a jog there at dawn sounded like a good idea. The horses wouldn’t be around, neither the hawkers. As it turned out, the beach at that time of day was a revelation. There were people of all dimensions there, running, jogging, walking and shuffling. I had company! And here I could even sneer at most of the crowd. It looked like I had it all cut out. So where did I lose out?
The devil himself is asking me to turn back so that he can have a good laugh at my ‘stiff’ expense! My neck is getting worse as we reach teatime. A time I don’t await too eagerly, because I hate the tea they brew up here in office. It’s a lot of powered milk with a hint of decoction and saccharin. Should I stay up longer in office or should I go back and get horizontal? Where was I? Ah! The jog… I must start the jog once again if only to keep off the Top 10 Molluscs list. I won’t be doing the Mallu thing tomorrow. I’ll just have a bath without the rituals.
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