Weight Loss: Back to Yoga

As my cycling adventure did not go well and physical trainer won’t train me till doc gives clearance, I have decided to go back to yoga. I showed up again for advanced yoga but they politely informed me that I should probably go to beginner’s class. I asked them why would I do any such thing when I performed fairly well in my last class. They told me that elderly woman that I knocked down is threatening to litigate if I am ever allowed in same class as her. To be honest I did not expect such cunning and cruelty from a senior citizen. But what can one do?

I decided to start at the bottom and rise through the ranks with hard work all the way again to advanced class, so I can confront that cunning elderly. I signed up for a beginner’s class. The only positive was they had also demoted equally unfit, pregnant woman’s hubby with me. I think he must be entered in some record books. He probably is the first guy in history who was not able to do things that his very advanced pregnant wife was doing.

This class was dream come true. All I had to do was to lie down, control my breathing and relax. This was great. I was so relaxed that I fell asleep. Unfortunately no one else could due to me and my buddy’s snoring.

After this there was a demonstration for healthy cooking. This was a very depressing activity. All they had were green vegetables and Tofu. The women giving demonstration was one of those patronizing types who kept on asking such questions as, ” What do green vegetables have? Why should we eat them?”

If this was not bad enough, there was also a very annoying woman who kept on asking, “what if I add coriander? What if I add basil”? I swear she was asking it after every single step. To counter this nuisance I also started asking questions like, “What if I add super hot buffalo sauce to salad? What if I add vodka to kale smoothie”?

Eventually they created some kind of food that was supposed to be healthy. The color was fresh vomitus with 100% bile. The smell was type of diarrhea that elderly get when they have been on antibiotics for very long. There was tofu as well. Those of you who have been fortunate enough to never have tasted it, this is something that you get after sleeping with Pamela Anderson if you haven’t taken proper precautions.

I asked them when would we have real food rather than this salad type nonsense. It looks like this WAS the food. I looked at food, yoga types and food again. I asked them if we are celebrating April 1st late. One of them said something as intelligent as how food should nourish the soul. I told them first of all there is no soul that we know of and food has nothing to do with it. It seemed to offend Yoga types a lot. Apparently soul is a big thing for these nutheads. I am afraid this thing might not work for me as well. These phonys are as bad as cycling ones.

Physical prior to Physical Trainer.

As my physical trainer is hell bent on getting me to see a doc prior to initiating my exercise, I had to call and make an appointment. One of the things that strikes you when you visit a doctor’s office is how healthy people are. Not a single person in waiting room looked sick to me. in fact they all seemed to be having a jolly good time. Some of them seem to have become friends by waiting long periods of time in same doctor’s office over the years. I can smell an occasional romance blossoming amid walkers and under the sweet smell of chlorhexidine, hand sanitizers, death and dementia.

The other thing is amount of information they want. Your name, gender, DOB, address, Insurance, ethnicity, religion, spouse’s name, emergency contact etc. This is followed by next layer of welcoming material. These include forms about status of your health. This is a masochist’s dream come true.

Do you feel safe at home? Do you own a gun? (What if I own a gun and still do not feel safe? Are they going to get me an army tank?). Do you wear seat belt? Are you sexually active? Do you have STD’s? Have you noticed any blood in your saliva, stool, urine and sputum? (Some elderly couples seem to do this as some kind of a trip down the memory lane). Do you feel threatened at home or work? Do you use drugs? Have you had sex with another man? (No, but if doc suggests it then I might give it a thought). To be honest, I stopped reading the questions after first few and just circled the whole page and wrote a big NO.

As there is always a long wait, they have quality entertainment. There is a TV which seems to run only lifetime channel. There are some magazines with such exciting titles as “beautiful home”, “home and garden”, “retirement” and “golden sunset” (which apparently is even further down retirement road and for someone who is seriously considering dying). They have flyers about retirement communities, diapers for incontinent, potty chairs, colostomy bags at discounted prices, straight catheters, walkers, canes, special shoes and god knows what else. If you did not have depression before you come here, you sure are going to walk away with one.

The other problem is that some of the folks who are here seem to consider it as a social event. As soon as you sit, they start chatting up. They will say two polite things and after that it is all about their own health. They all believe in uniqueness of their complicated cases and challenges they have presented to medical world. I have a hypertensive on one side whose BP is not being controlled by collective might of American healthcare, pharmaceutical industry and three different pills. He seems almost proud of this. This dude apparently has to come in twice a week for just a BP check. He has been on every category of medications. Either he develops side effects of his “man parts” not working or it does not do anything. I told him may be he should just give up. Life is very over-rated and death is a golden sunset. I handed him the magazine with same title.

There is a lady who is talking to another lady about her Insurance problems, weed problems in her garden, husband losing memory, frequent UTI’s, not being able to sleep and her daughter living way too far. She is gifted (or cursed) with a high pitch voice that can drive you homicidal, suicidal or both. I honestly believe she should not be allowed anywhere near a medical facility. I can also understand her daughter choosing to live away so far. How long do I have to be here?

A love story; Boy is all in (part 2).

boyBoy puts his best clothes together. Boy tries them on, discards, hates, likes, throws them away and tries them on again. He puts himself together with effort. He does not have polish, he only has effort. And two tickets to a show for which he has begged and begged. Boy is all in.

Boy walks into the hostel where girl lives. He calls for her. His palms are sweaty. His legs are shaking. Girl comes out. She does not know him. She is puzzled. She does not know who called for her. Boy is scared. But it has to be done. Boy is all in. He walks to her. He starts speaking but realizes he is stuttering. Boy is headstrong. Boy is becoming a man right this minute.

He tells her that if he is not mistaken she likes classic music. It is so difficult to find people who like classic music. It so happens I have 2 tickets for the artist and would she want to go with him. Boy has become a man. He won’t be buried under an unmarked tombstone.

She is speechless. This has never happened to her before. Girl does not know how to react. This is very different from her world. This is illogical, unreasonable and pure madness. Her world has an order. This is anarchy.

Girl tries to place his face from somewhere. Has she seen him before? Who are you? Do I know you? Boy shrugs his shoulders. How do you know I like classical music? Boy is all in. He is going to dive headfirst. I have been trying to sit close to you and I overheard you. Isn’t that stalking though? Boy shrugs his shoulders again. Girls takes another look. He does look scared despite his bravado. At times he seems like he is going to cry. Harmless, girl thinks.

Why do you think I would go out with you? I don’t know. Did you learn classic music? No. How did you get in classic music? My father used to play records all the time when I was growing up. What artists do you follow? Boy had prepared well. He answered it perfectly. They talked some more. The aliens from two different worlds slowly trying to feel each other. She is a white cloud on blue sky, he is trampled grass.

The girl seems to have softened. Look, I appreciate you coming here and offering to take me to the show. But someone already asked me and I did commit. I am sorry. But may be some other time! At this very minute, boy realizes that he is in love. He does not mind that she has already committed and will be going to same show with someone else. He is happy that she simply did not turn him away. He is slowly choking. He tries to say something but the words won’t come out. The girl looks and feels something. He is not coarse. She is touched that Boy can cry. Boy simply nodes, turns around and walks away.

Boy is in a daze. He does not know what just happened. He is a mess of joy, sadness, tears, question marks and adrenaline. He has never been so sad. He has never been so happy. He is almost nauseated with emotions. He can’t believe that she was almost ready to go with him.

Boy wanders around. Someone has a party. Boy drinks and then some. Boy laughs, Boy cries. Nobody knows what is going on with Boy. Boy is drunk. Boy throws all over himself. Boy passes out. Boy wakes up. He is not sure if it was a dream. He retraces his evening. This was real. Boy has a hangover. Boy is throwing up more. Boy is in love, heart-broken and hung over. Boy is becoming a man.

Weight Loss- Bicycling (part 3)

cycleSo the ride starts. I am already having problems with this advanced equipment. It has separate gears for front and back tires. I have no clue what 3rd gear in front will do in combination with 12th gear in back. At times it looks like they want to do their own thing. I have gone as high or as low as possible. In the lower gears, it is very easy but you are going at a speed where guys in wheelchair are beating you. If you do high gears, it goes faster but then I changed something and it started making a very weird noise. Frankly I don’t even know what gear I am in.

I have already managed to almost knock down 2 of my group riders. They are trying very hard to stay away from me now. The head honcho is shouting encouragements like “come on boys” to others and “stay on the bike” to me. Either the word has gone around that I am dangerous or they have a lot of respect for me. They are giving me a lot of space.

I am also finding out that these bikes do not have any kind of cushioning or shock absorbers. So if you hit a pothole or pebble, shock waves go through your spinal cord to base of brain. I can’t exactly describe this sensation but it feels like a constant electrocution with low voltage. I am already sweating under the helmet. I am trying to take it off. The head honcho tells me I can’t because we are “safe riders”. I tried to tell him that right now I am more of a sweat drenched and dehydrated rider.

Now there is fairly steep hill approaching. I again try to change gears but somehow I have managed to make it even more sluggish. I am already at the bottom of hill. The bike refuses to move despite my best efforts. I try harder but nothing. My whole group is already uphill. They are shouting encouragement from up there. They are asking me to come up. I am asking them to come down so someone can show me how the heck this thing works. One of them comes down and tells me that I should do something with something and do some more of something and that way it won’t be a problem. I politely asked him if he would be willing to push me uphill while I sit on the bike. He was not very enthused about this. He said something like everybody should ride their own bikes and it is supposed to be an activity. I countered that since he was already here, he would get more exercise if he pushes me. He pretended not to even hear me and ran uphill. I had to push my own bike uphill. So much so for the group!

Now they are worried that they won’t be able to do this route in hour and 13 minutes as they planned. Nobody is saying anything but they obviously blame me for this. I am blaming the kid who sold me this bike, stupid helmet and head honcho. Head Honcho is shouting even more encouragements in that phony British accent. I still have no idea what am I doing or supposed to do.

I told them that we should all relax as it is just a stupid bicycle ride. May be we are looking like uptight arses and that’s why lot of motorists hate cyclists. Apparently I have offended them great deal by calling this passionate activity stupid. I told them I am turning back. Since I didn’t want to sound like a quitter, I told them that I am disappointed in them, their phony accents and their unwillingness to push me uphill. I think with that dramatic outburst my cycling career is over.

A love story-Boy is all in!

boyThe boy was shy, the girl was not. They were products of the same society but from different strata. She was polished, he was not. They were in same place but circulated in different universes. To see her he had to look upwards, she could not see him even if he was right in front of her. She smelled of generational success, he reeked of self-doubt and destined failure. She was silk, he was all edges.

There are rarely “love at first sights” in real world. It is a continuous hum dum of calculations, league to which one belongs and self-perceived notions of success and failure. The typical love stories are found in grave yards buried under tombstones which read nothing.

Boy sees her face fleeing through a crowd of faces and he feels something. Something within him stirs. A strange feeling! Just a strange itch. Nothing more. Earth did not stop rotating, flowers did not suddenly bloom and there was definitely no music in air.

Boy does not remember after few hours, girl does not even know of his existence. Boy sees her again, same strange feeling again. What is it? This time the feeling persists. He has an ache in his heart. He is puzzled. Boy does not know what to do. He tries to sleep. It won’t come.

He hopes he can see her next day and every day. He makes sure he does. But their paths don’t cross. She has her own friends and he has his own. Even their friend’s paths don’t cross. Boy is learning that even in one world we have different orbits around which we revolve.

The things are getting worse. Boy can’t get his thinking straight. What is it? Sleep won’t come. Everything is a drag. Life seems so barren, pointless and colorless. Not a single thing brings any joy.

Boy realizes that he has to do something. But what or how remains elusive. Does she even know that he exists? Boy tries to gradually gate crash in this world of privilege. He tries to grab a seat little bit closer in class and cafeteria. He wants to hear her voice. He wants to hear her laughter. He knows it is not for him. It makes it even harder.

Boy gets lucky. He overhears her that she likes classic music. Boy can’t stand classic music. But he finally found something that he knows about her. Boy goes home, turns radio to a classic station. This time it does not sound so bad. In fact it is almost pleasant. Boy goes and buys classic music cassettes. Boys learns names of singers, their music and reads about them. But boy still can’t get anywhere close. The invisible barriers are way too strong.

Boy gets lucky again. Or may be he is making his own luck. He finds out there is a classic music concert in coming days. He has heard her saying the name of singer. He begs, borrows and begs some more. He gets two prime seats for the show. Boy is headstrong. He is going to make it work. He will try something that has never been done in these parts. Boy is going to be a man. Boy is all in!        To be continued…..

Weight Loss-Cycling Group(part-2)

cyclingWe meet at the parking lot of a local Starbucks. Soon all the members are there. It is your usual sub-urban, soya latte drinking, prep school educated, iPhone-carrying crowd of trust fund babies. Almost all of them are carrying a whole bunch of accessories. They all have one of those big-ass wristwatches that measure a whole lot of things. They also have some kind of activity monitor on another wrist. Since they all seem to support everything from testicular cancer to shelter less animals, they have 5-6 of those colored wristbands. Your’s truly sticks out like a Chicago hotdog on a Michelin chef’s plate.

The head honcho is a Caucasian dude with an accent. I thought he was British. No, but he went to a private boarding school in New England. This means the dude talks as if he has a carrot permanently stuck in his throat. I almost want to reach out and pull out that carrot or whatever is stuck in his throat, so he can speak like a normal person.

The head honcho starts outlining the route we will be taking. I am somewhat confused now. The flyer mentioned a “quick” ride but this mad dude is talking about different towns. I politely asked if we would be leaving the boundaries of our wonderful sub-urban heaven. We will have to cross some “blue-collar towns”, unfortunately there is no way around it.

He apparently plans to 9.5 miles of descending U with a cross of 2 miles and then 9.5 miles of ascending U and then cross back 2 miles. I asked him politely if he could speak American (my lame attempt at a joke! Nobody laughed. I am finding out that in fact most of these dudes might have either gone to private boarding schools or have carrots stuck in their throat). He took out his phone and showed me some kind of an app where this route does look like a U.

So this bugger calls almost 25 miles a quick ride. What kind of maniac do we have here? I told him I don’t have whole day. He tells me if all goes well, we will be done in hour 13 minutes flat. What the heck is he talking about?

Soon they go through this ritual of checking tires, making sure they have “hydrants”, have a quick snack and making sure they have their ID and contact info on a paper. I asked them why are they doing this ID and contact thing. They told me about a possible scenario where someone gets run over, we should have a contact number. This is getting depressing real fast.

Now some of them are calling their “hon”, who are putting their kids on the phone so that they can say good ride to daddy. The air smells of wealth, old money, new money, superficiality and off course carrots stuck in someone’s throat. I feel like I have joined some kind of a Caucasian cult and will be sacrificed at the end of this ride.

Conversations with a Jihadi

Me: How are you doing! Thanks for talking to me.

J: Infidel! Come to the point. I have rockets to fire and IED’s to place. Me and my Jihadi brothers are under attack everywhere.

M: But why do you want to do such things?

J: Infidels need to be stopped. They are killing our brothers in Somalia, Syria and Disneyland.

M: I am very sad to hear that. I am also very sad about what happened in Paris. Should a Cartoonist be killed for a cartoon?

J: Well, you know how French are, killing and raping our brothers.

M: That does not sound right. No matter how weird French are but raping brothers might be a stretch. Why do people fear your radical ideology so much?

J: I have no idea why anyone will fear us. Just because we carry rocket launchers, blow ourselves up when mood strikes and are trying to run over all of Middle East! But you know how they are! Killing our brothers in Madagascar.

M: Who are “they”?

J: You know Americans, Chinese, Russians, British, French, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs, gays, lesbians, transgenders, Arabs, Turks, whites, blacks, browns, yellows, colorless ones and those blue ones who live on another planet. You know how they are!

M: Why do you expect people to support you when you are committing inhuman crimes?

J: We feel everyone is supporting us. Do you want to give me name and exact address of someone who is not supporting us?

M: But don’t you think that the world order you want to establish is medieval and frankly cruel. It treats women as secondary citizens and has inhuman punishments.

J: I agree they are not citizens of any class and should serve men only. Do you want to use a rocket launcher? Trust me, it is crazy fun.

M: Thanks again but I am good. What about cutting hands for theft?

J: I agree it is wrong. Their heads should be cut.

M: Why should a woman need to have 4 witnesses to prove rape?

J:I agree it is unfair. They should need 10. Do you want to blow a bridge?

M: What drives you?

J: Toyota pick ups mostly though sometimes we get Hummers. Is that an iphone6? Can I see it?

M: I mean..

J: Do you want to exchange this phone for a rocket launcher?

M: No, I have no use for a rocket launcher. Why would anyone shoot Malala?

J: She is an American agent, works for Mossad and still unmarried at 13. You know how they are! You sure you don’t want a rocket launcher!

M: Do you realize that 99.9% of the world including people from faith you claim to represent don’t support you.

J: Infidel, I must warn you that you are entering serious blasphemy territory. I will declare a fatwa so fast you won’t even know what hit you.

M: I am sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you.

J: But, you did!  You uncircumcised, non rocket- firing, non-bridge blowing bastard! Leave now.