It's all relative

Perhaps happiness, misery, worthiness, worthlessnessare all relative.

For all that talk of Zumba being a fun way of shedding stubborn layers of fat, I had no fun whatsoever. The warmup though awkward – try 10 non-stop neck rotations – was tolerable. However, once we started with the songs – for those who came in late, Zumba is a dance fitness routine – I regretted being there. Faster, don’t stop, smile, from the top again – the svelte instructor just kept yelling. For what seemed like eternity.

And then, just as I was about to collapse, the music stopped. There’s a god after all, I thought. Alas, the break was only for a quick sip of water. We had 50 more minutes to go!

That first day was terrible. I made a complete fool of myself. And you know what the worst part was? We were dancing in front of a mirror – it wasn’t just me, everybody could watch my misadventures!

There’s no rational explanation as to why I went back to the class after two days. Perhaps, I’m a masochist. But this time, I chose my position carefully. Right behind the tall, bulky girl. What the mirror can’t see, it can’t reflect! I wish I could say that the second time was better.

My strategic position was a definite advantage during the hi-energy songs, but once we got onto the yoga mats and started with Pilates, it was the same old, humiliating story.

You see, I had enrolled for Zumbalates (Zumba plus Pilates) and though Zumba with its non-stop hip rolls, pelvic thrusts and jumping around is exhausting, Pilates is like slow poisoning. The oh-so-slow crunches (tabletop, butterfly, etc), planks (palms, elbows, et al) and fancy acrobatics killed me, almost. At the end of the session, I could barely move.

The sore muscles may have healed by the next day, but what stayed was the haunting memory of how everyone – including a salwar-kameez-clad lady who must be a good two decades older – was able to do stuff that I simply couldn’t. There was a silver lining. I saw it in my third class. Of course, the Zumba, Pilates and hopeless attempts to move my body continued. But guess what? There are a new girl in class and she was really, really struggling to keep up. That was the first time I smiled in class. In fact, at the water dispenser, I even went up to the girl and told her that things would get better in time.

When she came in for the next class, I couldn’t help but notice how a rather chubby peer was in all earnestness giving the new joinee survival tips.

Over the last couple of months, I have watched with fascination (and some amusement) as the scene recurs with almost every new joinee. Perhaps happiness, misery, worthiness, worthlessness…are all relative.

I no longer felt like a loser because of my inability to do 15 crunches. I saw others who couldn’t even manage five! Sure, there are freaks who easily do 50 and more. And I hope to get there one day. But until then, I know which way to look for happiness.
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