The L&M is at it again — constant queries about his loss of weight and appearance. Yes. He is on a dieting spree. This has become a sort of annual event for him. They call it yo-yo dieting in fitness circles. He will lose a couple of kgs and then promptly gain back all of it and some. So over the years it has been more of gain than loss.
I must tell you about his diets. Why, he is perpetually on one. No, not the kind where you eat smaller portions of your food or avoid eating fried and salty food. Such mundane diets are for the uninitiated. For the likes of the L&M, it has to be something exotic; it is called mono dieting. He goes on an all-fruit diet, an all-milk diet and even an all-nuts diet. When he had been on the last mentioned, I almost went crazy enduring the crunch-crunch of the L&M munching his way through bowlsful of nuts through the day.
Needless to say, he would have gained, rather than lost a few pounds at the end of the particular diet. You see, no one had told him that the special diet is in lieu of the three regular meals he has in the day! Perhaps he misunderstood mono-dieting for mono-snacking! 😀
Food is not the only thing in his scheme of dieting. He doesn’t believe in doing things by half. No sir, not my L&M. So, he fills our already cramped flat with fitness paraphernalia — exercise bike, dumb-bells, an assortment of weights, a treadmill, not to speak of half-a-dozen pairs of shoes. I have lost count of the number of this equipment. Suffice to say that I have to sit on the treadmill while cutting vegetables, dry the clothes on the bike when it rains and use the weights to grind my masala. One day I almost broke my neck when I accidentally switched on the treadmill while getting off it and had to scramble for safety. I have a perpetual crick in my neck trying to duck under assorted fitness machines and an everlasting wound on my toe where I have stubbed it a million times on one of them. Any protest against them are greeted by a full-blown quarrel and accusations about an uncooperative spouse. So I have resigned myself to their presence and have decided that it would be much easier to endure them than fight them.
This regular gaining and losing of weight has made it necessary for him to keep clothes in several sizes. His wardrobe contains shirts and trousers from sizes 38-44. The number of vests and briefs run into several dozens. I have had to develop a special classification code akin to the library classification coding to identify them. I know that he has gained a few kilos if he surreptitiously starts hunting for his bigger sized clothes. I also become suspicious when he offers to wash the clothes, lest I get to see the larger size tags.
There are variations to this:
“Where did you buy these vests?”
“Why, what happened?”
“They have shrunk! Wonder if even VIP is getting its wares from China!” he would guffaw to put me off-track. Not me sirree!
“They don’t have a size bigger than 110cms! I have to place a special order for the larger size,” – grumpy me.
“Who said anything about a bigger size?” and he would valiantly struggle into the smaller sized vest and try to breathe normally without bursting a seam.
When he is on one of his dieting expeditions, he is completely obsessed with his weight. The someone steps in through the door, he begins grilling them, “How do I look? Slimmer than the last time you saw me?”
Now, the person who has been targeted thus by L&M is in a spot, and a tight one at that: answer in the affirmative or negative, is the dilemma.
If the person so cornered were to answer that he had indeed slimmed a bit, he/she would have to face a further barrage of questions:
“Where exactly have I reduced? Around my waist? Arms?” the questions would continue ad nauseum.
If, to avoid these questions they were to answer that he had not reduced, he would go into a sulk for the rest of their visit, making them wish they had never come. Childish? You bet!
My brother has found a way to get over this grilling. As soon as he sees L&M, he says, “Hi there! You have reduced quite a bit around your tummy. I should think about an inch and a half. Your neck looks slimmer too. And man! What have you done to your arms and chest? They are rippling with muscles!” All said in one breath, without letting L&M to get in a word edgeways. Does this please the L&M? Yes and no. He is contrarily upset much like the child whose toy has been snatched away, because he has been forestalled in his questions. But of course, he couldn’t complain, could he, now that all his possible questions had been answered?
But L&M is not one to be cowed down for long. Soon he would launch on a critique on the wonderful diet that had enabled him to achieve the goal. My brother would groan (inaudibly, of course). The poor man!
I must admit that he comes up with ingenuous ways to stop dieting.
“Fancy a drive? The weather is perfect for a long drive,” he would suggest. The sucker that I am, I would think he was in a romantic mood and agree to it. Some kilometres into the drive he would imperceptibly begin slowing down. I would then notice the cause – far in the distance the Haldiram’s would be beckoning dieters with a weak will, much like my L&M.
“Hey look, Haldirams! The last time I had goofed up with your order for aloo tikki, remember? Shall I get you one?”
“No, I don’t want to eat anything.”
“I know, you are afraid I would eat something. I promise not to touch anything,” he would say with such a pathetic face, that I would relent and we would pull over.
He would just order an aloo tikki as promised and a bottle of water for himself, the regular martyr! But the way he would keep looking at every bite I took, I would be freaked out and beg him to have a piece. He would demur and when I kept insisting, he would ‘reluctantly’ agree to get himself a plate of pani puris (‘they don’t have so many calories’). And from there it would be downhill all the way.
“I shouldn’t have done that,” he would keep saying and looking at me accusingly as if I had been the cause of his sliding back in his dieting. No response from me.
“We should not have come this way and avoided the temptation.”
Still no response from me.
After a sidelong glance at me, he would sigh and say, “From tomorrow I will not touch any rice for a month. That should do the trick, what do you think?”
“Hey, what did I say? Why are you crying?”