I won’t say that I’m fat. I would never say that. I’m probably among those multitudes of men who’re simply a bit out-of-shape, primarily due to lack of physical exercising, and no fixed eating routine. As much as our society emphasizes women to strive and take all possible measures to maintain a fair complexion in order to supposedly ease their lives a bit, men are reminded time and again that their protruding tummies are not only obstacles in their path towards greatness, along with being sights assumedly abhorred by women around them, but they might end up causing cardiovascular diseases—shortening their agonized lives.

I had a week off from university so I decided that it might be the right time to get started with jogging as nearly all my pants were gradually giving up on me by getting a bit tighter around the waist; not a pleasant development. On one fine evening, during that off-week, I ringed a friend of mine who was somewhat of an athlete, and invited him (or requested him) to jog with me as I required the presence of such an individual around me who would keep persuading me to test my limits as we would run at a steady pace for prolonged sessions. Tough ask, one might say, but I was very determined.

Considering our crisscrossed schedules, we decided that we would go for jogging after dusk. Being young folks, it was not only a challenge for us to get up early in the morning, but we had an idea that during the early hours of the day, the track would mostly be inhibited with older folks in their fifties or sixties, who maintain a casual gait whilst sharing their insights on matters of politics, religion, and cricket; thus it would be tough for us to zigzag through them considering their abundance and pace.

We met at the track on the set time and date, and got going with our business. Initially, we took faster steps just to build some momentum, afterwards we began running. As we briskly made our way through the track, we came across all sorts of people attempting to get rid of the extra kgs they had gained. After having run hardly a hundred meters, I realized that I was gasping for breath; my heart was pounding heavily, my face turned red, the muscles in my legs seemed to be quite sore, and I couldn’t think straight. I stopped for a while trying to catch my breath whereas my pal, taking pity on my condition, halted a little ahead of me though he would have run the entire track without requiring any short breaks.

I realized then and there that jogging was not for me. Cut off regular supply of oxygen to the mind and you enter a whole new world. You start seeing, and comprehending things very differently. Still catching my breath while resuming our walk with quicker steps, I observed that there were so many skinny guys jogging on the track; they lacked bulging bellies, and appeared to be in great nick. I started to despise them. Since they were in perfect shape, why on earth did they felt the need to undergo this struggle, this battle between the mind and the body—in which, none seemed to be winning for sure? They could have opted heading to an American burger chain right now, savoring the signature meal they offered with double beef patty, extra cheese, and upsizing the whole order in order to relish the increased quantity of fries, and Coke. But, no, they preferred jogging. The extent of irrationality of these individuals greatly surprised and disappointed me, and I questioned their sanity.

After a while, a young couple overtook us. With earphones plugged in, they were running at a steady pace, and neither of them showed any signs of fatigue whereas I was clearly struggling to walk in a straight path. For a while, it seemed rather cute to me, and I thought of someone special. However, my mind was alive enough to bring me back to reality, and make me loathe the very activity of jogging as it had turned every single muscle in my lower body sore as if there was a protest going on within me. And that that someone special didn’t exist—for now. After these bitter realities dawned upon me, the earlier recorded observation ceased being cute, and I started to feel a bit nauseous.

The athletic friend of mine spotted some exercising equipment, and headed towards them. I followed him, though to me, it seemed more agony. My friend used all the equipment quite well, and performed a number of exercises, including chin-ups, push-ups, dips, planks, burpees, and others whose names I know not. I simply stood there and watched him and the other folks loosen themselves. Though I was instructed by my athletic friend to try some stretches on a flat horizontal structure, I simply lay there and gazed at the heavens above. I felt so tired that I could’ve had a short nap there. My pal approached me. The disappointment over his face due to my lack of interest in the exercises or the process of jogging was clearly noticeable. After a while we resumed running.

The kilometer-long jogging track seemed to be endless. I was excessively perspiring. I wanted to drink a gallon or two of chilled water. I questioned my decision of embarking on this painful journey. Why was I doing this to myself? I wasn’t born to be a sportsman, as it was them who need to jog. Was my body really in an awful state? If I don’t die as a result of a heart-attack due to obesity, I would most certainly pass away due to jogging as I felt the blood-pumping organ giving up on me. How nice would it have been if I were in my room right now, getting done with that novel I started yesterday? Instead of asking this athletic friend of mine to jog with me, I could have asked him to come to this new café, and try their molten lava cake, as I had heard that it was really good. I didn’t really need to jog. May be I might have to in the later part of my life, but not now. I would control my diet. Yes, I would most certainly do that. I will try to limit the intake of carbonated beverages, reduce the consumption of fast food, and consult YouTube for some indoor exercises which would facilitate me getting back to shape.

And thus, I committed with myself. No jogging, but precautionary measures. I could sense my body temperature on the rise. Finally, the end of the track appeared in sight. I was delighted though I felt lifeless. I wanted a crowd of people to gather towards the end, and congratulate me over this magnanimous achievement. I wanted some significant personality to hand over a trophy or a check of several million rupees to me as a result of the momentous landmark I had achieved. Where was the media? Why didn’t I see any photographers? As we finally completed one round of the track, I stood there bent, hands on knees, looking at the ground, happy to know that it was all over. Or that is what I had in mind:

‘One more round.’


‘Come on. One round isn’t going to do you any good. We’ve got to do at least a couple more.’

‘Are you nuts? I’m about to die here, and you want a couple more rounds?’

(Pointing towards my unattractive abdomen) ‘Do you want that thing to go in or not?’

‘I most certainly do, but this will take time, you know. I believe that we had a good start today. We’ll do two tracks tomorrow for sure.’

(Sniffs) ‘Well, all right. Don’t forget to do a bit of stretching when you get home or your sore muscles will kill you.’

‘Absolutely! Thanks for coming. See you tomorrow.’

I got home, and reached for my bed to rest for a while. I didn’t realize when I went to sleep, but when I got up, it was early next morning.  My sore legs were indeed killing me. I texted my friend that jogging with him turned out to be a wonderful experience but I won’t be able to continue as I had to go out of city to spend the rest of my vacations with cousins, but we’ll definitely stay in touch. I lied. I got to know how people felt when they dumped someone: Hey, you know what? I think we’re great friends and I would want us to remain that way, but we can’t be together anymore.

Jogging turned out to be quite an ordeal for me. It certainly wasn’t as simple a task as they portrayed it in Hollywood productions. I was definitely going to look for lesser demanding alternatives to that extensive physical toiling as I needed to cope with the shrinking clothes dilemma; after all, I’m not fat. I would never say that.