My love is not a cheap thing, although just yesterday I declared in public my love for Chitra Bannerjee Devakaruni, after reading her Palace of Illusions. My love expands and encompasses. Kind of like the way my muscles and bones did today after the workout we had, thanks to you.
I admit I was wrong in my initial judgement of you, as I so often am. I was skeptical about your being a real Zumba teacher - the fact that you chose to display your build in a vest - let us not mince words - a banian. The fact that you looked like a typical Punjabi from the Dahli ( no offense: that's what I am too!); the fact that you weren't exactly the smoothest talker in the world.
But boy, are you fit.
Boy, do you have energy.
And boy, can you move that booty.
But here's the thing see - I'm confused. When I told you that I 'work out regularly', I was lying. I occasionally jog and go for a swim, but that's it. You didn't have to take it at face value and expect me to actually keep up. What you said at the beginning - listen to your body, rest when you have to - was not borne out when you snapped at me for taking a break, for rising up out of that squat too early ( so what if that was only the warm-up?). Some amount of compassion for those of us who are lesser mortals with severe physical limitations, would have been much appreciated. It was not to be.
By the time you called out your instructions ''Change'', I wanted to change my entire body although I knew at the back of my head you were merely referring to change the step.
By the time you barked at me ''Knees OUT'', I indeed felt that my knees were giving out, although I just groaned and pushed them further apart like you deemed fit.
I scoffed in the beginning in my head when you said ''The most important thing is to breathe continuously''. I muttered to myself 'As if we need to be told that'. I wasn't scoffing about 30 minutes later when the only reason I remembered to breathe in and out was because you were specifically instructing us to ''3 counts in, 6 counts out''.
I resented it only slightly when you chirpily bounced around the dazed lot of us who were resting for a minute with our hands on our knees wondering ''what happened here?'' - when you were humming to yourself and singing 'Waka Waka', even though it felt like you were mocking me personally. Kind of like 'Mock-a Mock-a'.
The only question I had at the end of it all, Dear Zumba-boy, was -
Where was the actual DANCING?
Oh, I knew the answer soon enough. It was about your particular style. You're not the REGULAR instructor at this place - the regular instructor will come a couple of days later, you're just filling in. But you also teach Zumba elsewhere? In fact, didn't you mention to me that you had just held a class at 5 p.m. before rushing here and doing this favor to this missing-instructor-friend of ours? So the fact is that there is Zumba and there is Zumba, and I'm frankly not sure what we did today was Zumba. At least, not that one.
But wait - should we not pause for a moment and reflect here? You held this incredibly strenuous session with us today - AFTER having held one a mere hour back? If I were able to move right now, I would dive for your feet, such is my respect for you.
Oh there was one point when you were particularly cruel, but it helped me discover more about you. It was when we were -at the end of the session - being forced, or some might say, gently guided to do our floor exercises.
'Hold both your feet up 30 degrees from the ground. Don't MOVE them till the count of ten' you said. And then proceeded to count excruciatingly slowly ' 1....2....3....'
I grit my teeth along with the others and decided I would DO this. I was reasonably confident till about 6. And then you got your phone call.
I appreciate that it was some 'Sir' of yours. You were all excited to be speaking to him. But how could you forget that there were eight people writhing in the throes of agony, waiting for you to reach that GODDAMN number TEN? Oh, you remembered in between alright, saying 7....8... but they were now spaced painfully far apart, and I thought I was going to die. But this is the point where I heard you tell 'Sir' that 'haan, maine Zumba bhi shuru kar diya'.
Let's face it. You were a gym instructor when someone told you that this Zumba thing was more lucrative, right? If it weren't for the fact that while we were doing some of the Zumba dancing, your moves were surprisingly good, I would have doubted that you even had the ability to dance. Oh you can dance. And how. It's just that you apparently prefer interspersing the dance moves with your PT Instructor-cum-Aerobics style.
The 'regular instructor' has exhorted me to come back a couple of days later. He says his 'style' is very different and that he's a trained Salsa dancer and bases all of his instructions on the dance moves. You yourself said in the end, with that wicked unperturbed grin, that the regular guy does a lot more of the dancing than you do. There's nothing to forgive really, but I forgive you for pretending you're a Zumba instructor. Because you made me realize that at some point I can't really run away from the fact that I have not treated my body well despite all that it has done for me, giving me 3 actual human beings to call my own children.
It's time to get in shape. And yes, I would have come back on Wednesday, EVEN if you were the regular teacher.
Because I can't resist a challenge.
Because I really want to get in shape and it was a DAMN good workout, whatever it was.
Because at some really perverse level, it was kind of fun.
Because what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
And guess what? It didn't kill me. Although I must commend you for trying your darnedest.
I told my husband about you - how incredibly fit and energetic you are.
He replied, in his usual skeptical manner 'He's obviously on steroids. Or twenty-two'.
I said, in an uncharacteristically morose way 'I think Both'.
But be that as it may, I do love you.