Monday, June 18, 2007


She is a regular in the gym. She walks with a lazy step, does halfhearted aerobics, and barely moves on the bike. On the treadmill, her whole body heaves with an energy-less movement . All the exercises the trainer tells us to do are just not her type perhaps. I am poor at guessing people’s ages and therefore I had no idea about her age. She could be anywhere between 22-30 years. The day before yesterday, a little girl of about 9 years accompanied her. I presumed it was her daughter. While I was vehemently cycling away my cellulite, I tried to be social to her. Oh why couldn’t I control my big mouth… even if I thought it was her daughter, I should have shut my trap up, and kept on working out. But no, I had to say hi; I had to ask, “Is that your daughter?” Till now, I have not forgotten that flabbergasted look on her face. She responded with a cold “Nahi, she is my niece.” And I retraced my steps back to the treadmill with a sheepish, “oh.” I laughed to myself. How could I be such a fool not to notice that she was not more than 20 years old? But then I had never been in such a close proximity with her either.

I think I had ruined her day. She must have been thinking, “Do I look that old, that someone should mistake me for a mother of 9 year old?” She kept throwing sour glances to my side, perhaps thinking, “ Look at her, so fat, so heavy, and mistook me for a mother.” Breathlessly working on my aerobics, for a moment, I even toyed with the idea that if tomorrow Rasan went with me to the gym as she has been insisting on doing during these vacations, she might get back to me with , “Is that your grand daughter?” And I planned that I would say, “No, my grand daughter is slightly older” ;)

I put my mind back to burning my fat away and somehow the workout was over. We changed, came downstairs. She was walking with another mate of hers, and that child of course. It was hot. I felt that the child had perhaps come with her for an outing. Subjecting her to a long walk home would be a torture to her. I stopped my car, invited them to hop in. She sat with the child in the back seat. Her mate, a college girl, in the front passenger seat, started to talk, “ Are you an NRI?” I laughed, “No, I m a through and through desi.” She said, “Auntie your personality is like you came from abroad.” “No, I live here and work here,” I said, “Did you plan to make that child walk all the way home?” Now she spoke from the back seat, “ It was her choice. AUNTIE, where do u work?” I laughed to myself, here is your chance of revenge, baby. Anyways I said “I work with the technical education department.” “So AUNTIE, where do you live?” “AUNTIE isn’t that far? Do you come from that far? AUNTIE we have to go to Dandi Swami. You can drop us here.” I said, “I could have dropped you there too, but it’s a bit out of the way for me and my kids are waiting.” “Oh AUNTIE, how old are they.” I said, “My daughter is almost as old as your niece, and son a little younger.” And I stopped the car, they got down. She shut the door with, “Bye AUNTIE, thank you AUNTIE.” My kids' friends call me Auntie. So, I am used to being called one, but it was different here. I could feel the glee in her voice. I chuckled to myself. One of us went home happy at least. She had had her revenge. Now I can go to the gym guiltlessly, still see her around and smile to her.

Hisaab barabar !!!