Thursday: I can’t help being a half-hour late to the health club this morning because it takes me that much longer to tie my shoes and uncoil from the stooping posture I’ve had to assume to get the laces out of the tangle I’ve put them in, as I seem also to have done with my life, which, till my nephew’s well- intentioned intervention three days ago, was proceeding at the same pace and with the same tranquility that grass is believed to grow in pastoral vistas of sylvan charm, although, these days, one would be extremely hard put to find any of those still surviving. Yolanda is waiting for me impatiently, thin, cruel lips pulled back in a vicious snarl, vampire canines exposed, voice rising to a timbre perfectly capable of shattering the toughest glass, as she shrieks: “You aren’t the only one I have to train, you know.” As punishment for my tardy arrival, she dispenses with the light workout and puts me on dumbbells straightway, turning her back on me as a sign of extreme disapproval, which is the wrong thing for her to do because, with her attention diverted to other hapless souls in various stages of impossible contortion on the gym floor, I slink off on tiptoe to hide in the restroom. But, being the hard taskmistress she is, Yolanda promptly sends one of her dumb belles to find me, which she does in a jiffy making me think that either she isn’t so dumb a belle after all or the restroom is the obvious hiding place for unfortunates, like me, seeking reprieve from Yolanda’s unrelenting regime and who, as punishment for their attempted desertion, are put on the mechanical rowboat, as I was, till they cry “Uncle” or are a jelly-like mess, whichever comes later.
Friday: I hate Yolanda – that stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic little horror from Hades – with every painful fibre in my body, more than any human being has ever hated another in the history of the world and, if there were a part of me that I could still move without unbearable agony, I would beat her with it till she was in the same gelatinous state that I am in after fifteen excruciating rounds with a mechanical monster. To add to the ignominy, she wants to work on my triceps today knowing full well that I don’t have any, and if she really doesn’t want any dents in her pristine, parqueted floor, why hand me anything that weighs more than a chicken and cheese sandwich, and why put me on a fast treadmill only to be thrown off minutes later to land unceremoniously, limbs akimbo, on a health and nutrition advisor of willowy proportions she’s roped in to catch the impromptu entertainment, if it is not to complete my humiliation?
Saturday: I wake up in the middle of the morning after a sleepless night of agonized tossing and turning to find that Yolanda has left a rude message on my answering machine, in her grating, shrilly, imperious voice, in words that are impossible to repeat in a family magazine, particularly one published out of the Middle East, inquiring why I have not shown up today? It’s enough to make me want to smash my Panasonic – her head not being in immediate proximity – with something blunt and heavy, but I lack the strength to even punch the TV remote and end up watching eight straight hours of the Weather Channel till Morpheus brings blissful oblivion.
Sunday: Because of pain that never seems to go away and makes every bodily movement, even a simple turn of the wrist to switch on the ignition, excruciating, I’m having a hired car take me to the Kali Temple today, where I will profusely thank Her the week is finally over, though I’ll have to do all my thanking standing up because falling to the knees is not an option, nor lying prostate since there’s no guarantee that, once down, I’ll ever be able to get up again. I will also pray that next year my nephew – that little piece of fecal matter – if he dares to choose a gift for me again, will pick something more fun, like a root canal or a haemorrhoidectomy, or both.