I entered the gym yesterday and suddenly found myself surrounded by a screeching, screaming, grunting, sweating mass of humanity. On the first few days in the new year, the gym is usually full, thanks to the freshly-minted resolutions. However, it gets emptier with passing months as the resolves ebb, a relief for us serious gym-goers. But in these early days of the year, we have up put up with jiggly, clumsy amateurs monopolizing and, often, misusing our favorite machines.
Yesterday, however, I was lucky. I found the step climber I was looking for unused, and promptly climbed on it. This machine is higher than the others, and once you are on it, you get a chance to watch the entire gym from a vantage point. This is a perfect opportunity to observe people quietly, without seeming insane or meddlesome.
So, from my gallery of sorts, I watched curiously as a bunch of teenagers huddled around the chest press machine, each trying to attract the attention of a group of girls by grunting loudly and lifting a measly weight with great effort. The girls, on the other hand, were acting pricey and pretended to ignore the boys and at the same time kept watching them from the corner of their kohl lined eyes.
In the exercise studio, the kickboxing class was full. In fact, it had taken on the look of a pademonium, as a mass of some fifty people gyrated to the blaring music with total disregard to both the beats and to the screaming instructor. They were kicking and punching in the air, furiously, almost hitting each other along the way.
A couple of girls walked into the gym, wearing tiniest of exercise bras, their slacks hanging dangerously low at their hip bones, their faces painted with layers of makeup. They walked self consciously, swinging their hips from side to side, their eyes roving and scanning the gym, their tummies pulled in and their breasts thrusted forward. A few of the guys watched them with interest as the lions watch their prey and prepared to make the move.
In one corner, on the beginners machines, a multitude of baby boomers battled the bulges on their hips and their thighs, their stomach and their arms and inside the weight room, enormous, muscular, tattooed men ruthlessly attacked the dumbells and bars, lifting weight more than the combined weight of me and the machine I was on.
As I scanned the room, I noticed that if there was one place for universal integration, it was this - Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, American, Indian, Middle Eastern, European, African, black, white, yellow, brown, big, small, old, young, beautiful, ugly, graceful, clumsy - they were all right there, moving, throbbing at my feet. Isn't it interesting to see contradictions co-exist so seamlessly?
I continued moving my eyes slowly, curiously, watching, observing people who were absorbed in their own worlds - each an island in himself.
That's when I spotted him, running at the treadmill and I held my breath. He was the most beautiful man I have ever seen - an ebony God, a poetry in motion, the archetypal Adam, the essence of raw, primal masculinity. His high forehead glistened with sweat, his head was thrown back and his back was taut and upright. His eyes were half closed and his soft mouth was pursed in a firm resolve. He looked like the lord of his own world with every single muscle of his body at his command.
The muscles on his body were etched out perfectly, but with a sleek, smooth compactness. Unlike the body builders, his muscles were long and supple. There was nothing bulky, clumsy or out of shape about him. The body hugging suit he was wearing enhanced the narrowness of his waist, the tautness of his hips. His well built arms and shoulders made a statement through his half sleeves. His strong legs negotiated with the machine as he took long, sturdy strides. His smooth, dark skin shone with the blood pounding through his veins and the sweat streaming through his pores. His body looked like it was in complete symphony with the motion.
I watched him unabashedly with kind of a lustless appreciation with which one watches a Van Gogh, with which one listens to Bach, with a sense of awe about the artist and humility about oneself. The sight of my ebony God had left me breathless.
Then, too soon, he was done. I kept watching him as he slowed down and come to a halt. Still engrossed in his thoughts, he took a towel and strode wiping his sweat to the mens room. Shamelessly, I watched him walk and once more, appreciated his graceful gait as he disappeared in the changing room.
Even after he was gone, he lingered in my mind. I imagined him to be a warrior, a knight, a king, a corporate leader, a kind, compassionate, matured lover.
Yes, he definitely must be a leader, I thought , not an aggressive one though.
He must be leading by pure mert, by assurance, by purpose.
He must be intelligent, warm. He must be having a great sense of humor and yet he must be humble. He must be the ideal man nature could have created.
I wondered how his woman was.
Was she an essence of femininity, herself? Was he and his woman the new age Adam and Eve, ready to reinvent this world?
I was done with my workout and went into the ladies room but kept thinking about him . After I showered and changed, I came outside and waited in the lobby. I saw him come out of the mens room. He was looking dapper in his crisp white shirt and black trousers. He was freshly shaven and his tousled hair were now neatly groomed. I watched him again as he paced up and down the lobby, waiting for someone.
Is he waiting for her? I wondered and my curiosity was piqued.
In a while she came out - his woman - and she was just as I had imagined her to be. She was slim, strong, yet delicate with luscious brown hair and smooth, walnut-brown, glowing skin.
There's my eve, I thought as I watched her glide by gracefully in a sleek, flowing black dress, to where he was standing.
What a perfect couple, I mused as I watched them come closer to each other.
She went to him as his back was towards her and gently touched his shoulder. Suddenly, he whirled around and glowered at her.
"You bitch!" he screamed, "f@#$, you made me wait here for f@#$ing ten minutes"
"I am sorry, Adam" She said.
"Shuttap you!" He screamed "I am getting f@#$4ng late."
"There was a.." She tried to explain.
"SHUDDAP YOU SHUDDAP YOU MOTHER#@$@..YOU BITCH YOU..." He screamed like madman and she began screaming back at him, in protest, using the choicest of expletives.
The entire gym watched the drama with fascination.
I was disgusted. I got up, and walked out, unable to watch the perfect picture of my ebony God and walnut-brown Goddess shatter, wishing fervently, that if this were to ever happen again, I would rather see a beautiful mind than a beautiful body!