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In 2005 I got a second jolt of my life! I had developed deep vein thrombosis, which the doctor said was another sort of heart attack. Thankfully it was averted. One can get a heart attack with heart arteries clogged, while other with leg veins clogged. I was devastated. It began with, “why me?”

This was the second jolt, because first was the cause of most of my ailments. I began suffering from permanent amoebic dysentery, from early 90s, when I used to go to Marathwada every 3 months, after the Latur earthquake. I was eventually put on steroids which made me a bigger, fatter Neeta. Diet control, boiled foods, all failed. From binge, went onto indifference and finally watching what I ate, but was TOUGH.

Believe me this was all a mental turmoil, physical just the beginning. I was a whole new girl, unrecognisable to self. Born thin, waif, I never knew being fat. Yes, I was flat-footed, lazy (running is for my sister’s types). I’m crazy for adventure, love it. Will go to far-off distant lands on my own, go bald, but running, ain’t my kind of fun. I was an athlete because I played basketball and a Javelin thrower at state level.

I didn’t want those days back in my life. Yes, I was fit and all. But everything was time-controlled by a stop watch and moreover I had achieved beyond what was expected of me. All accolades were for my sister, according to my school I was a nothing. So to prove a point I ran despite excruciating pain, considering I never wore corrective shoes. (I never developed an arch on my heels). My feet are flat and pain, especially at nights. Today I wear comfortable footwear, with inserted arch in every shoe, tad late.

I got recognition, won medals, name appeared in newspapers and I felt like I’ve achieved enough, as I’d shut up people. By then my addiction was daily reporting of shoot outs, encounters, killings, political upheavals and news. This professional life was of odd-time eating, drinking. Because of the kind of places I’d spend maximum time-courts, mortuaries, public places, hospitals-I had to control my bladder. This too took its toll on my health. The doctor said here began many problems.

Post diagnosis, doc asked me to stop everything, including my silly diet and just go on brisk walks. Back to timings, huh. Believe me I do NOT fear anything, except ill-health. And this SHOOK me. Nobody wants to look after an ill person. I had lost balance on my feet, had gout, so I first underwent acupuncture and regained the balance. Began early morning brisk walking. Then, I was eating high proteins and calcium, but at wrong times and consuming very less water. So went on water therapy immediately. I began drinking one and a half litres of water as soon I woke up, before brushing my teeth and consuming 3 litres within afternoon time. I still do.

In this time my weight fluctuated tremendously. I cared a damn. Honestly, if anyone tried to tell, (which was all the time), it wasn’t helping. Till then I was defiant. The more people asked me to lose weight, I wouldn’t. One main problem then, I loved my body. However it may have been, I was comfortable with the fat, I could see my tiers naked and yet not get depressed. That is very nice for us women, but a mental block for losing weight. I still do love my body, now even more.

Then with my 2 other friends we started our early morning walks. They both stopped. So began with two more. This was fun. We began exploring our part of Bombay city, taking pictures. We bust a foreigner druggie encroacher on Siri road, had millionaire Adi Godrej as company, saw Peacock, admired trees, fauna. There was fun element in whatever we did. Come rain or shine we walked. Then one by one we began enrolling at gyms. I am ANTI-gym. I don’t like enclosed places. Body odours are a BIG put-off for me. So the motivation wasn’t much. Ask me to walk and I can do so, the whole day. I actually lost 4 Kgs in Paris eating cheese, having wine, just walking everyday.

So I had to force myself going to the gym. New place, strangers, I am NOT good at it. Somehow as a journalist I am a different person, I can talk to just about anyone, apart, I am different. I don’t like intrusion, I like to observe, sit by myself, happiest in my company. Worse I dislike is people like ghosts hovering behind me-Sales staff or people looking above my shoulder. Father says, he too hates it, we’d prefer standing face to face and talking. So there began a tedious journey of self-motivation.

I had to shake myself up every morning. I first joined a sad gym in Girgaum. The arm-pits of trainers would STINK. When they’d stretch over me it was HELL. Then imagine the diabolical combination of BO + perfume! Aaaargh.

It was a small place with politics like in our Parliament. Then I got malaria and the owners refused to refund money or extend membership deadline. I stopped going to this gym. Anyways they were more ‘gharguti’ (domestic) would switch off aircons to save power, very down market. So resumed walks. This time began walking on the steep slope of Malabar Hill. This walking on slopes is very good for hips.

See, walking was a dedicated time for myself. Here at the gym I didn’t feel so. Then I joined a new gym, at Saifee Hospital. Much better, but I’ve a HUGE mental block about gyms. I wasn’t losing weight, even remotely. Oh and besides the other deterrent being, the pathetic music in gyms. I’ve exercised to love songs. And did I mention that bloody crappy machine called treadmill? I want to shoot in the balls of the person (has to be a menacing man) to have made this machine. There’s a quote that says, “worrying and treadmill are alike. You keep doing and it takes you nowhere.”

There at the gym I’d see a foreigner, South Asian anorexic lady, running an hour on the treadmill. The Gujju uncles would fight that they’ve also paid and why is she monopolising the machine. (Deserved it). These are the reasons I HATE gyms. But the view to this gym is to die for! I just LOVE, as I exercise I look into the Arabian Sea. ONLY for this view I would pull myself out of bed, out of the house and go as if I’m doing a favour to this universe.

I tell the world I go to the gym and I exercise for that one odd hour. Then some of us started our own aerobics and here began some new fun. Still got bored as I found the environment was very casual in morn sessions. So I just changed my timings and began going in the evenings. There are lesser people, more fun and serious about gym. Yes, the body aches at night, but it has become a habit.

I set myself simple goals. I must be able to climb the stairs of Charni rd bridge, like myself looking into the mirror and fit in my old clothes. I can now run up the stairs without panting, I look thinner, I admire myself more and clothes altered! By August I’d finished 1 round of alterations, by Diwali I’d finished 3 rounds of alterations, spending few thousand rupees. But I made a promise that I will NOT buy new clothes unless I lost weight. More than weight, I’ve been losing inches. I weigh same since last December. The fact is, I get bored easily with exercises and I DETEST cardio, but it is the best for weight loss, moreover for building stamina. So my afternoon trainers have ensured that my schedule is modified. At our gym every 3 months our weight and inches are measured, which is also a major motivation.

Like de-addiction, even to go to a gym is self-motivational, no option. Biggest motivation, last week, I made my first purchase of Red HOT pants, 2 sizes smaller.

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