health

Massage Part Deux

a.k.a. The feel good factor

Mostly misfit’s undying love of massages is well known to the few readers who’ve been so nice to read this blog. While the last massage was pure relaxation for an hour that managed to treacle down to sensual delights for several hours afterwards, today’s was a very different experience.

I found an ayurvedic treatment centre that is less than a kilometer away from home. I obviously had to try it with the anticipation of making this a regular hangout if the service was good. This treatment centre hardly looked promising, even shady to someone used to associating massages with swanky white furniture, some obscure oriental music, nicely placed flowers (orchids to be precise) and smiling masseuses dressed in uniform.  This was an old, inconspicuous building with an old man manning the the reception counter and able to answer your questions only in between bouts of coughing.  I was unsure of trying out this place but the price was so inexpensive that I booked an appointment for the next day.

A long story cut short, they didn’t have a shower room, their steam room didn’t function that day and the over all atmosphere looked rather depressing.  I would have expressed fierce rage under normal circumstances; but having to pay just 400 rupees for a 45 minute massage was too good a deal if it worked out, to unnecessarily create drama and have them refuse my entry the next time. So I was taken to a small room by a masseuse who looked no more than twenty and who wouldn’t have weighed over 45 kilos. My apathy about the whole experience started to fade away once she took charge. She spoke to me in Malayalam or Kannada, I don’t know; and reprimanded me for not understanding and said, “aiyyo, bag keep”. That’s when I realized that she wanted me to keep my bag on the table rather than the floor. The next step was obviously to strip, but this girl let me keep my own underwear on. Goody! This was a lot better than the negligible piece of g-string I was made to wear the last time and the whole time I kept feeling that it was a mockery of my over enthusiasm for all pursuits of sensual relaxation.

This massage was hardly soothing but it was something a lot better than just soothing. I normally like massages where every ounce of your body is kneaded with strength. This was precisely that. The little girl was not that little when it came to her profession. She had strong, firm hands. She didn’t utter a word throughout, even to tell me to move an inch here or there. She was strong enough to brusquely move my feet in the exact angle needed and she did it in the exact same way for both the feet. She vigorously rubbed my entire body in a way that I felt that vigour was actually being injected in every atom of my body. The force jolted every muscle that I didn’t even know I had into a sudden state of awareness and awakening. She didn’t ask me polite questions like, “is the pressure fine? is the music good? (there wasn’t any), is the oil temperature fine?” and the practiced questions. I wasn’t her client, I was a patient whom she had to treat in the way she knew best. There was no need to check what was fine for me. She knew what was fine for me and had no questions about her skills. And it was a great experience. I literally surrendered my body to this little therapist who knew her job and did it perfectly. She cracked ALL my knuckles, even the thumb; and all my toes, even the big one. That itself made me give her 100 percent rating. She massaged my belly with considerable force and strength that I felt as if my belly fat was melting inside and that I’d pee fat after I was done.  She didn’t waste a minute and didn’t have to fill up time with useless things like asking to sit back for 5 minutes after finishing one kind of stroke. She promised 45 minutes of massage and she gave full 45 minutes, not a second less.

I must say that I’ll be a regular here except for the times when I’d want the superficial pleasantries and swanky ambiance. This was some tough love my body got. Unlike the massages where your body is lightly oiled and handled as if you were as delicate as a feather, this was the polar opposite where your muscles were strengthened. No cajoling your body into relaxing to be renewed for a grueling schedule to come, but good old scolding and pulling up your spirit and knocking off your restlessness to just face what you cannot change. This is a perfect place for the kind of massage you’d take just like some vitamins which you know are good for your body, not necessarily leaving you with layers and layers of tickling sensation that would keep unfolding over the next few hours. But a rejuvenating shot of strength and a serious, healthy oiling of your body…just like Dhanwantari meant it to be.

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How it all began…

I have never really been thin, nor have I ever been what might be considered fat. But I have had a struggle with weight since as far back as I was 16. It’s after my school that I started becoming heavier. I always had a near flat belly and slender waist but the rest of me was increasingly becoming voluptuous to the point that I’d feel that my boobs always went ahead of me to announce my arrival. And I have no idea why I had issues staying slim like my friends and classmates who ate  crappy food and hardly worked out. I on the other hand would go for walks with dad everyday, do at least 2oo jumps and our household never really needed a doctor’s intervention to train us on eating healthy. My mum, extremely nutrition conscious that she is, made it a point to not use even an extra drop of oil than is the recommended daily intake for adults. We’d eat a lot of salads, buttermilk, pulses, everything which is good for your health…but I was still unable to reach my dream of being a slender and irresistibly lithe young woman.

It was after I moved to Pune and met EM that I started becoming desperate to look thinner. It was not about being healthy; all I cared about was having a 24 inch waist. EM has always been markedly skinny, in fact I would totally make him participate in the Indian version of Super-size vs. Super-skinny if there was any. I realized that I had started thinking of him as more than just friends when my mind would constantly try to picture us together and I’d feel that we wouldn’t suit each other physically. I know, I know…love should be blind and how you look physically is the least of concerns, especially if you are literally a perfect fit in every other way. But I was only 17 and what wisdom do you expect from a teenager anyway! Plus I have always been obsessed with things like harmony and fitting together. 9 years down the line I realize that this was nothing but an inexperienced mind’s randomness.

The more I started thinking of the probability or rather inevitability of a romantic liaison with EM, the more convinced I became that I needed to lose a few pounds. I thought I owed it to myself. Thus began my first official weight-loss journey. I don’t remember being so determined about anything else, perhaps not even about being with EM.

I would wake up at 6 every morning, diligently go for jogs and do a couple of sprints if possible. I’d come back and do some stretches, several exercise to cinch my waist in, drink water constantly. I’d down litres and litres of water. Making sure that every time I peed, it was as clear as water had become sort of an obsession. I’d have only salads for breakfast. After that I wouldn’t snack and only have lunch and dinner. Nothing I did was even remotely advisable or recommended for a healthy weight loss apart from probably cutting down junk food completely. I’d get up every few minutes from where I was and do a couple more jumps, then again after an hour I’d get up and do a few more crunches, then an hour later side twists. I had become very imaginative and had even invented exercises. The results soon started showing and from a healthy but slightly plump 52 kilos, I went down to 47. This should have satisfied me, but no! The results made me feel powerful and I wanted to explore my power a little further. I kept at my rather insignificant diet and increased the exercise. When what could have been a minor stomach upset due to a spicy chutney I had one day manifested itself as a major bout of vomiting and food poisoning, I realized that my body had reached  its limit. No no, I was not smart enough to realize it then. I was rather happy about the timeliness of the food poisoning that helped me slim down further. It was around this time that along with food poisoning and the general feeling of restless which had become a constant for me during my first 4 years with EM, that I reached my all time low of 41 kilos. I was happy but it had started worrying mum and dad. More than weight loss, it was their daughter’s obsession with a sickly skinny body and increasing emotional dependence on a guy (“sheer insult to her upbringing”..courtesy the mother) which was worrying my parents.

Finally, my love for good food took over and I started eating well again. Point to note, I have never been into deep fried oily stuff anyway, although I cannot resist things like panipuri and chaat. But I eat healthy most of the time. anyway, I gained some weight post the all time low and maintained a recommended 45-46 kilos for the next 2-3 years. That’s the ideal weight recommended for me as I’m only 5 ft tall.

I tortured and tested my body during this time, cursing it for not letting go of its fat stores, for not making me happy and such other insensitive thoughts. I broke it down and made it lose the excess weight. When I look back at that period, I wouldn’t completely discard myself. I know now that it was important though not advisable for me to do what I did. It is an important phase in my teenage years. It was probably my way of dealing with the insecurities of suddenly coming to a new city, suddenly falling in love when till that point I was sure that I was above love and didn’t want to tie myself to anyone (aaahh…the immature thoughts of a baby mind that thought it was so mature! ), suddenly realizing that I was hating what I had gone to Pune to do and wanted to study something else instead, suddenly feeling emotionally exposed and vulnerable and still having to pretend to be strong because EM was 5-6 months younger and there was no way he’d get what I felt then with his mind flooded with equally turbulent emotions. In all the turmoil that defines teenage years, even though unhealthy and wrong, I know I wouldn’t have evolved if I hadn’t been a crazy, idiotic, superficial and impulsive little woman who just did what she thought was good for her then.