F*t!

High frequency words – body fat percentage, low carb, glutes, Nikes, steroids, shin splints, pasta salad.. the list is endless.

Ask me, a hopeless soul trying to stay on a diet. I’m slapped everyday with e-newsletters and tips on how a banana is better than a burger or how to avoid eating highly refined foods. And all that while, I’ve been binging on rice and mango pickle.

Sigh.

One of the activities I try to do earnestly is to ‘get through the freaking door of the gym’. Take my word for it, exercising is great fun.. it’s getting your butt to the gym that takes a HUGE effort.

One of the first realizations I had was that the best bods were seen at the gym. Teenagers flexing their biceps, gals showing off their shapely figures, even the gym representatives wearing uniforms which exhibited body perfection.. it is such a setup! I mean, there’s no need for marketing this one, it’s already in your face!

So anyway, I decided to ignore the blatant swimsuit advertisements all around and made my way to the girls locker room. Half an hour later, I was having a minor heart attack on a treadmill. My neighbor had her tablet PC put up on the display to catch the latest music video while she ran. At the same time, she ticked off some items in her online exercise planner one by one so that her instructor could approve of it.. online. On the other side, a small chinese woman walked staidly, unnerved by the marathon speeds of some of the other teenagers on the 15 treadmills, 40 ellipticals and 20 steppers.

At the other end of the gym, some jocks had casually thrown their tees aside and were grunting on the rowing machine. From the opposite end, a glass wall allowed us a full view of the swimming pools – one a 25 m recreational pool and the other a 50 m olympic pool. With a sauna attached to it.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the university recreational center for you. I haven’t mentioned even 40% of it.

Did I also mention the various visual treats you get to see there? If not, I suggest everyone visit a gym atleast once. It’s EXACTLY like those TV shows. I’ve actually seen some boys gawk while an aerobics class was going on!

An hour later, I retreated to the locker room to change. And guess what, the shower cubicles are separated by only a curtain. While you’re busy holding that damned curtain in place and terrorized that someone will just rip it aside, all the other gals, frankly, couldn’t care less.

And if that’s not enough, my friend tells me that the men’s locker room has just a set of showers attached to a clear wall. He also reported seeing a lot of squirming Indian males there. Best of luck, pals! Don’t say I didn’t warn ya! *wink*

As I walked out, squeaky clean and tired, I was thinking of the various chores to do at home when this woman walked by.. all I could think of was,”WHOA! Woman! Did you just, like, forget your clothes back in the shower?!” Apparently, nudity is not something to be shy of, but to be appropriately displayed when you have a body worthy of it.

A year down, not only have I gotten used to the displays, I feel I might slip in some of the conservative mannerisms when I get back. The physical freedom here is a luxury, I must admit.

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Top 5 Don’ts in the US – By Pilon

Now this guy has been here for over two years as an engineer for really big names. He’s seen it all – staying with a Russian female, having his hotel room burnt to ashes, getting squeezed in a car by a truck, and even worrying about insurance when his foot banged against a bannister. Many call him Pinak.. I call him a monkey! 🙂

And he’s now at the edge of a new tryst.. getting back to student life after more than 4 years. He’s currently seen biting his nails, finding out types of cheap food and their availability, updating his information on how he should be revising for exams and generally getting into prep mode (at least, that’s what all these ex-corporate folks say).

He has a few nuggets to offer, and a herculean task like writing about them only goes to show how strongly he feels about a part of life in USA.. so, without further ado..

PREEESSEEENNTTTTINNGGGGGG, PIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINAAAAAAAAAAAAKKK! (God, I’ll love the expression on his face when he sees this.)

Top 5 “DON’Ts” in United States of America –

1) DO NOT fall for any form of ‘advertisement” thrown at you 24 hours a day. They’ll tell you to ‘buy’ a cheaply priced product or service to save(?!!) a lot of the green bills. This violates basic laws of logic and arithmetic, if you will. The thumb rule of “folding the bill and keeping it back in your pocket” is still the mantra!

2) DO NOT get into a motor accident. Well, accidents happen by accident. But as a driver, do everything you can to avoid them. The auto insurance company that projected itself as the best one to protect you in the beginning will demolish your sleep now. If you are at fault in the accident, the premiums will sky rocket and the thumb rule mentioned above will go down the drain. If you are not at fault, you still can’t make the scars on your vehicle and mind go away fully. It is just not worth it.

3) DO NOT eat what tastes the best. Eat what tastes second best. I know it is harsh but true. It is not just “bad” for your health like your parents kept telling you, it is a “ruin”. And the process is irreversible. Without any more details, I urge you to watch this 100 minute SUPERSIZE ME video –

4) DO NOT underestimate or misunderstand the word “CREDIT”. Be it your “CREDIT CARD” or (unfortunately) “CREDIT HISTORY”. The simple and harsh rule is “spend half of what you have”, and use your credit card as a monthly debit card. Remember, the credit card is a monthly loan. It is best to do away with that kind of system to begin with. But “credit history” scam does not let you do that. Use it with utmost caution. Swiping sound is music to ears, and “minimum due” sounds amazing. But the word APR is poisonous, and be aware of it. For some reason, it rhymes well with “bankruptcy”.

5) DO NOT come to a foreign country thinking it is a heaven. You will have / may have seen or heard only one side of the coin until you enter a different country. It has become very common to go and settle in foreign countries through “educational” gateways; no one is to be blamed for a human nature it is. Please, please keep in mind that the other side of the coin may be just as rusty. And, if you find it great, please remember that it does not officially give you rights to start giving (fake accented) bullshit to where you came from. :-))

I would highly, highly, highly (just that highly) recommend watching the SUPERSIZE ME video.. it’s a documentary which has effectively led me OFF McDonald’s and similar joints for the rest of my life. Yep. It’s just that good at convincing you to get off this marketing gimmick called ‘FAST FOOD’.

And then, about that!

I did not know how to approach this topic, having very less experience with it myself. An unbiased review would have been past the point of attempt, but a classmate of mine has done a wonderful job at it.

It’s not that I don’t understand the need for erotica by some people.. it’s just the amount of it that’s flowing into the common man’s life these days that’s totally inundating. I can’t open one movie site without having to see tonnes of pornographic pictures lining the top, sides and bottom of the page. The actual movie link would be somewhere obscure.. but more about Web UID later.

And true to my foot-in-mouth nature, we had once opened up a website to see a movie, only to see graphic pictures and videos ready to be played, when I had exclaimed irritatedly, “This whole website totally turns me off.” – You can imagine the raised eyebrows and pregnant pauses that followed. Pun unintended.

Sarang has shed a lot of light on this topic .. check it out!