Gymnasium: The New Children’s Park

My friends have lately started teasing me about the “tyres” hanging on my sides, and my behind that gives Jennifer Lopez competition. To be honest, I am not fat. It is just a few extra kilograms, 10 to be precise, all thanks to gorging nachos and cola over the 42 agonizing days of my examinations.

On my first day, I moodily hopped on the treadmill; a vision in mind, daydreaming about a six-pack, when I was stopped short by a 7-year-old kid, you read that right. Smirking rather confidently she said that I have been walking at a meager 5 km/hr for over 2 minutes, and should now start running for the better. I looked around for a parent. Realizing what I had in mind, she started off again as to how she has been a regular to the gym for the past 3 months. My mind went back to an article, which I had read about the existence of akhadas (wrestling camps) and pehelwans (wrestler) where kids were enrolled on attaining puberty. But that was the tradition; this is purely by choice. What is it that’s making parents flock their children to a place stereotyped for those, who on gaining adulthood strive to be the next Rocky, and that too at an age when a playground or a simple swing tempts them more than lunch?

But you cannot blame them either. In this day of play stations, Xbox’s and widespread internet, such kids in the age group of 8-14 are not in the least interested, to step out for an evening of our traditional Hide and Seek or any sporting activity for that matter. They would rather upload pictures of their recent holiday on Facebook and reply to the comments on it. The joy of throwing the books aside at 5pm and rushing to the nearby park is a mere anachronism. Thus, the anxiety builds up in the minds of the parents and they see the gymnasium, where the kid steps out of the house as a physical activity.

These are the informed ones who make sure the kid does not indulge in exercises read weight training, that hamper all round growth of the muscles at this tender age. But not all are like-minded. Some feel it is a necessity, for the next door Mrs. Sharma’s kid has enrolled too, so why lag behind? Some see it as an investment; the earlier the better, just as they see tutorials. They do not understand that just preventing their young ones from being couch potatoes or likewise would completely solve the issue. Ensuring the involvement in sports of the kid’s choice can easily do this. Gym trainers reiterate this, howsoever business-minded they may be. This was just about the parents. Children are not far behind, all thanks to the overstated media and the rules of metrosexuality governing everyday life.

Today’s generation, being brought up in an environment where a fat actor does not exist and beauty before brains guides all, it does not come as a shock. Why should we not look good? They ask, sneering off comments that they have their whole life ahead. They take the neighbourhood gym by storm, threatening the trainer to give them a physique to die for or face terrible consequences. And all of this is happening as the parents helplessly look on. This brings to mind my nephew, aged 6, who was walking shirtless when his grandmother commented on him being anorexic. His instantaneous reply; it’s a six-pack and that SRK roams around without a shirt, why can’t I? Lets just hope a balance is maintained or we shall have 10-14 year old Balboa’s and Schwarzenegger’s with bulging 23’’ biceps shouting out loud; GOOD MORNING TEACHER!

Deshan Tucker

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