when a 52 year old Indian woman walks into the branch of an international Gym chain in a Bangalore suburb:

Ok, I can hear you thinking 'what exactly were YOU doing there?'
So let me start at the beginning. It was my birthday sometime last week.Yes you may wish me, thank you.(presents will be accepted till end of the month and yes, I accept cash.)
So dear daughter-in-law decided to gift me a gym membership knowing that I'd never do it on my own. She also knows that I won't cheat on exercising when money has been paid.
So that is how I ended up in the gym today afternoon.

As I climbed up the stairs to the gym on the first floor, the guard smiled and told me: "Beauty parlor on the next floor."
In return I gave him a warm smile and walked inside.
There were three girls at the reception who stopped their conversation abruptly and looked at me as though I had walked into a men's restroom. (What do you mean, how do I know that? I am 52!I have done every stupid mistake there is to do. So you better believe it when I say that is how they looked!)
So I waved my receipt at them and while they were dealing with the truth I made my way to the changing room.
The two handsome guys who were on treadmills lost interest in me the minute I came out in my exercise clothes. The trainer was examining my shoes with interest particularly the area that had been chewed up by Zoozoo, my puppy on prozac.
Remember I already told you, I am too cheap to spend another 3.5 thousand on a fresh pair of shoes while I can still slip my soles inside this pair and tie the strings.

I fell in love with the trainer when he said that I need to consume 150 more calories each day. I almost called him "mother!". Who else has ever told you that you must eat more?!
He asked me what I hoped to achieve in these 4 months. Frankly all I had hoped to achieve was to extract maximum value for the amount that D-I-L had spent. I had no other nobler goals or ambitions. But this was my Miss India moment and I had to think up a smart, winning answer. So I said "I want to be as fit as I can possibly be at this age".
I could say he was impressed. Or perhaps he is paid to look impressed. Then he launched a lecture about how fitness is most neglected particularly among older women in India and how losing weight is not the same as being fit blah blah. He spoke of carbs and proteins and diet supplements and mutivitamins and...
Oh ya ya.wn -I lost him midway and started looking at all those fancy equipment and wanted to go and try each one like a five year old in a play ground. He asked me:"So that is my recommendation for you. Are you with me?" I hadn't understood half of what he said but enthusiastically agreed with him just to go and use the tread mill. Finally.

'Poor cardio-vascular and weight resistance; needs a lot of improvement' he muttered as he led me for what he claimed to be the toughest challenge. I could not believe that anything could be tougher than what I had already been through. As I waited for him to ask me to lift weights of 100 kg or some such thing he simply asked me to lift my knees and bend my hips and so on like school P.T. exercises.
'Ju ju bi' I said to myself as I twisted my arms and turned my body , and bent forward to touch my toes. Years of yoga and stretching were not a waste after all.
"I have never seen a person of your age who is so flexible. you could pass for a 30 year old" , he said with disbelief.
And I said: "show me a thirty year old who can touch his toe".
Sweet revenge!

So tomorrow if the guard tells me that the parlor is upstairs I intend giving him a feel of my oneday -toned arm with a nice punch!
55 Responses
  1. Vijay Says:

    Beauty parlor on the next floor
    Still laughing....

  2. shilpa Says:


    Age is only a state of min, like you have proved. I know my mom is surely more flexible than I am, though I can probably run longer and lift more weights than she can, but oh she can touch her toes without having to cheat :-D

  3. I liked what you told the trainer of what you hope to achieve from the fitness regime.

  4. Garima Says:

    Haha!!! Beauty parlour... Love the post. And its an amazing thought of your daughter in law to get you the membership.
    Hmm, time to call up the gym near my MIL's place NOW!!! ;-)

  5. "Fit"ting reply to the trainer !

    Hope you enjoy your workouts

  6. WOW! Usha! Awesome!

  7. starry eyed Says:

    Good one! You show 'em!

  8. maami Says:

    Am very impressed with your coomitment to gym.Have a great birthday. And mail me your address for me to send something across.(*So saying quickly dashes into beauty parlour*)

  9. Right On, Ma'am !

  10. Asha Says:

    :) :) :) :)

    Very well-written, Usha! I think you get enough exercise in your house, just chasing those dogs, but this is also good, you get to teach people lessons :) :)

  11. Jane Turley Says:

    A late happy birthday Usha! But what a prezzie eh?! Your daughter in law sounds a real gem (unless she's trying to finish you off for the inheritance!), I hope my boys pick equally thoughtful young ladies to marry.

    I look forward to hearing more stories of your trials and tribulations at the gym - I think this is one that will run and run:))

  12. Anonymous Says:

    I highly approve of the Miss-India style reply. Take that, 30-somethings.

  13. shy Says:

    Hope you had a wonderful birthday! God bless you and your dear DIL!

    lol'd..miss india moment. their replies are very are original Ageless.

    more Gym stories please..including watchman's reaction to your punch!

    shy( though i was reading everything, been a while I commented)

  14. Avisha Says:

    Way to go!! :)

  15. Hip Grandma Says:

    'The two handsome guys who were on treadmills lost interest in me the minute I came out in my exercise clothes......'

    Were they interested before that? Just curious to know if I stand a chance in my 9 yds saree!!If I get the green signal from you may be i can ask rahul or priya to sponsor a course for me. No way i am paying for it.

  16. Hip Grandma Says:

    BTW I can touch my toes too but with a little difficulty of course!!

  17. dipali Says:

    Yaayyyyy for the fifties, Usha! You're a better man than I am , Gungadin- I've never yet entered a gym:(
    Give us your progress report. And belated birthday greetings.

  18. Artnavy Says:

    ask them to read your posts - they will have to say sharper, wittier than a 30 yr old as well!!


  19. Serendipity Says:

    Happy Belated birthday :),one tight punch from me too @guard

  20. Sriram Says:

    Respect!! Just as beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, age lies in the mind of thinker! :)

  21. phucker Says:

    Maybe you should come live up North. In Delhi, the Punjabi 'show-sha' culture means that people of all ages try to look as good as they can - and seeing older people in gyms is not an odd sight at all. In fact, I couldn't figure out what the big deal was when I read the introductory line to this post!

  22. Usha Says:

    Vijay: I wish I could laugh as much. It took a while to sink.


    Bouncingbubble: wasn't it awesome and I thought of it right on my feet!

    PV: hehe. I hope so too..

    GNSD:Oh yes and then write about it too!

    S n S:!

    Starryeyed:I will, just you wait!

    maami:commitment a, ippodaan oru nall aaradu. Commitment will come if if I keep looking at the figure on the receipt. Daylight robbery!

    Suranga: hehe

    Asha:Come to thin k of it, this one hour will be a getaway from my monster dogs.

    Jane: Thank you, Thank you.
    finish me off for the inheritance, if only she knew my bank balance. what a joke that would be!
    Trials and tribulations - you said it.

    DutchCourage: Bows.

    Shy: Thank you!

    Avisha: :)

    Hipgran: The guys - I think they were curious to know why I was there - may be looking for a son or daughter? There was no other kind of interest, hehe.It was just a look of amusement.
    I am sure that most South Indian ladies of our gen would be more flexible. with our elai eduthu echil idum experience.

    Dipali: These gyms are quite fun but of course so expensive. It is ok if you can charm/arm-twist someone else to pay - have a dil yet?

    Art: hehe thanks. you are always kind.

    Seren!!! I will anyway punch him and tell him it is a gift from you.

    Sriram: agree, totally!

    Phoenix: Oh I am sure it is the same in other parts of bangalore like Koramangala or Indiranagar and in the cantonment areas. I live in a suburb and hence the first line.

  23. R's Mom Says:

    Hahahaha! Belated Happy birthday..and did you visit the beauty parlour??? I wish I was there to see that guy's face when you touched your toes..but honestly without making you feel old or is amazing that you can do it ;)

  24. Gauri Says:


    Could we expect a post every time you visit the gym, Usha ??

    Pleaseeeee !!

    @ Hip Grandma : They would be absolutey fascinated by someone in a 9 yards saree !! They'd be staring wide eyed, open mouthed just trying to figure out where the 9 yards actually begins and where it ends !! :))))

  25. amreekandesi Says:

    Good stuff!

    Looking forward to hearing accounts of the time you start doing those 400kg bench presses.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    'The two handsome guys who were on treadmills lost interest in me the minute I came out in my exercise clothes......'

    ahhahaha.............haven't they seen old gals in gym........?....laughing.....

    but I wish you stay fit all along

  27. Praveen Says:

    A told me last week. Great going! :)

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Funny. Looking forward for more verbal gymnastics on this topic.

  29. Sraboney Says:

    Ha! Ha! Ha!

    Happy belated birthday!

  30. Phoenixritu Says:

    Allow me to say "I love you" and no, dont punch me with your one day toned arm please! I am blogrolling you. Oh and yes, happy birthday

  31. Raj Says:

    Usha, please don't keep saying "52-year old" in that tone. In 22 years from now, when I reach that age, I don't want to feel old.

    Bent your knees and touched your toes? Is bending knees allowed?

  32. Anonymous Says:

    What a delightful post :) A belated happy birthday to you!

    I am sure by the end of the four months, you might find yourself addicted to being told how flexible you are :) Yoga is the best for general fitness etc

  33. Anonymous Says:

    Belated Birthday wishes. Reading your blog is a sure way of starting the day good. :-)

  34. Anonymous Says:

    Belated Birthday wishes Usha. I thoroughly enjoyed your post and I am still smiling even when typing this comment.

    I am not wishing for a thoughtful DIL like yours

    -At the age of 52 (If that happens, we will be legally responsible for another 16 year old girl and possibly a child too. See scenario very much possible in US of A)
    -Not even at the age of 62 when my son will be 26 ( Very likely scenario since his dad got married at 26 )

    But, I wish to be a happy, thoughtful, mature and caring person like you. If not, I wish to inherit at least your funny bone at that age)



  35. shail Says:

    Hilarious. Hoping form ore updates.

  36. Usha Says:

    R's mom:Thanks. And yes I went up and had a haircut too only because the gym membership gave me a 30% discount at the parlor!

    Gauri:oh with all those weights I am doing I can hardly type. I think that trainer intends to kill me.

    Amreekandesi: you mean such stuff is legal? There ought to be a law against it!

    KK: I don't know - but they certainly didn't fancy looking at a overweight lady in gym clothes. They probably expected a Navaratilova!

    Praveen: :)

    Vivek: I can see that it is already turning into a great comedy!

    Sraboney: Thanks

    Ritu: Thank you and Thank you.

    Raj: oh li'l one you are already 30? How soon time flies!just the other day you were 50 and starting your reverse aging and here already!
    OOps I meant bending knees and touching toes as two separate acts. Will edit it as the sentence is misleading.

    IHM:I suspect that I am already addicted. Must do something soon!

    Jay: thank you. That is a HUGE compliment.

    CS: Thank you for that observation. If you have more responsibilities in your 50s and 60s, isn't that more reason to stay fit?

  37. You really are one awesome lady!
    Always thought of you as a lady with a fine sense of humour, but now realized that you are the fit lady with a fine sense of humour.Belated Bday wishes to you and may your stay fit and fine all your life.

  38. S.V. Says:

    Lol Usha.....too good.

    I like your attitude. The best thing is you shouldn't care much about what others think, just do your own thing. I have personally joined 2 gyms till date only to spend a month and then leave. Im sure you would definitely do better than me. Honestly at least you are upbeat about your fitness. 20-30 year olds these days are sooo lazy, (me included). Totally agree with your thoughts on the toe touching exercise.

    Also, Belated wishes for your bday. Cash will be sent once I geta better appraisal...lolz...for now, only wishes for you.

  39. Dhanya Says:

    Belated Happy B'day and have a nice time in the Gym :)

  40. Usha Says:

    attagirl!!! :)

    n hope you had a happy happy one this year!

  41. hillgrandmom Says:

    Hurray to you Usha! I totally agree 'which 30 year-old can still touch their toes'.Way to go, way to go :-)

  42. Suku Says:

    Happy belated birthday!!!
    enjoy gymming!! and show those girls how much fitter you are!

  43. Uma Says:

    What a thoughtful DIL! Am inspired :)
    I beat you on the men's restroom bit - I'm 36 and I've already done it! I know that look :D
    Did he/ other 30 somethings yelp 'ouch' at the reply? :D

  44. Chitra Says:

    Happy birthday, belated, of course!And good for you :-)

  45. WhatsInAName Says:

    He he Usha :)
    Keep looking at the receipt and it will keep inspiring ;)
    You know, whenever my FIL asks for the price of anything we bought we give him a figure divided by 10 ;) and even then he complains of the daylight robbery !!! Inflation inflation everywhere :)))

  46. hahahaha have missed the Vintage Usha posts. you've not posted one this funny in quite some time. Still grinning as i type this.. and I need to get notes from you- have been wondering whether or not to enrol in a gym. Hubby as usual is being nasty and saying that I should have done so ages back. I think m-a-y-b-e it is time I did.

  47. Choxbox Says:

    Go Usha!

  48. Anonymous Says:

    Way to go!

    Belated happy birthday :)

  49. sandhya Says:

    Hey, remember me? We met at Art's. Was LOL throughout, esp where you almost called the trainer 'mother'. How true.
    Do visit sometime. And a belated happy birthday. So many May borns. Check out:

  50. Mama - Mia Says:

    enjoy yourselves Usha!! :) and keep updating us with your gym stories!


  51. Wow! Usha, Hope you enjoy your workouts.

  52. Asha Says:

    To the gym? Oh, I admire Thee!

  53. muthu Says:


    Hope the guard know's what he is getting into- If he s gonna welcome you the same way...

  54. astatine Says:

    Ma'am.. no.. Usha.. love your blog. I have been going thru the archives all day today,cheating work. It has really given me a boost of energy when I was all sapped out ..Just hoping I could have half your attitude now..and twenty years hence too...

  55. Obaitori Says:

    So funny. A wonderful story! Thank you, Katie, Australia.