“My dad is fat and my mom loves him. Just because we are fat doesn’t mean our lives are ruined,” says Ron, the guy who has been silently scouting everyone of the girls in our class over the past three years of college. He must be really desperate now to turn his eyes on Nancy, a girl who is fat, if not fatter, than both of us.
He notices Nancy coming up the stairs. He swallows hard, then, with a quivering nervous smile at me, walks to the top of the stairs to meet her.
For the umpteenth time, I suppress the urge to stop him and explain to him that even though we both weigh exactly 100 kg, I am 3 inches taller than him. Which means that if we were to take our BMIs into consideration, I am less obese than him. I make a mental note that the next time he refers to both of us as fat, I am going to throw this fact at him and watch him cringe. A while back, I had gained a few extra kilos. Upon realizing this, I kept it a closely guarded secret and immediately went on a crash diet to bring my weight back down to 100 kilos. I couldn’t give the fucker the satisfaction of weighing lesser than me.
Nancy walks up the stairs with her signature head-down, shoulders rolled in, and cocooned-in-her-own-inner-world posture. Reaching the top and realizing that a pair of legs stood in her way, then looking up and realizing that it was intentional, she looks taken aback.
Ron has his back to me, but I observe that he has this strange animated body language on that I have never noticed before. I can see Nancy’s eyes nervously dart from side to side as she stands there helplessly, as if she was stuck, listening to whatever Ron is telling her. A couple of times she looks around as if expecting this to be some kind of a sick joke, as if a group of people would jump out and laugh pointing at her at any moment. And then, her eyes fall on me. For a few seconds, our eyes lock on each other. I abruptly break the contact and look down at my IPHONE which is held in my right hand’s default flexed position.
I have the Facebook app open in my phone, and I notice the recent post on the Karanpur News Facebook Page. Karanpur News is one out of the two news agencies in our town. They both have been steadily increasing their online presence over the past year, and they both now have over 10,000 followers on their respective pages. The post I am looking at is their front page news for the day. It was a sting operation in which they caught public urinators in the act. On video. The video has garnered more than 6K likes and reactions with hundreds of comments pouring in. As you can guess, this is the most newsworthy thing to happen in our town since yesterday.
I hear Nancy walking up the next flight of stairs. Away from Ron. He stands, his back to me, watching her climb away. He is hunched over. Defeated. He slowly turns around. I am trying hard not to laugh. I’m trying to look confused. It's more fun to pretend like I didn’t understand what just happened and to hear him say it.
Then it happened.
He misplaces his foot down the top step and falls back. He rolls down the stairs and ends on the floor below. I hear a bone crunching noise. He jaw is broken.
They had to wire his jaw shut. And with the liquid “nutritious” diet he was on for 2 months, he ended up losing 25 kg. Fuck.
THE WEIGHT LOSS BOYS
Genres: Drama. Black Comedy.
- Rejo John
He's one of them.
After 2 months, he returns. He sits beside me in the FAT LOSER’S CORNER. I am wondering if he's mocking me by doing this. He looks leaner. His jawline doesn't show any sign of trauma, but the shocking thing is I can see his jawline.
"I never thought I would say this, but I’m so glad to be back at school. Sometimes I feel my mom is crazy protective," the fucker says with a loud sigh.
I push my open bag towards him. A JUMBO potato chips packet in it with its mouth wide open. I go back to pretend-examining my new high-end smart watch.
"No, thanks. I just don't feel that hungry anymore," he says with a cursory glance at the bag.
HE'S ONE OF THEM!!
As I sit there wondering what all this means, the stupid classmates passing by would stop and mention how Ron looked different and fake sympathy on breaking his jaw and shit. I continue to ignore them and pretend-fix my TAG Heuer Connected luxury smart watch.
Then, I hear her. The squeaky voice of the most popular girl in the class. Rosy. The diva.
"You look soo different, I mean ‘good’ different," she squealed with a well-rehearsed laugh that didn't deviate from her best looks.
"Thank you," Ron says. Blushing.
"You know what? Tonight, we are celebrating Dexie's birthday," she says showing to her friend, Dakshayani, in an elegant manner the way show business people introduce other show business people.
"We are having a small party” she continues, “and we want you to join us."
She isn't looking at me. Doesn’t acknowledge my existence. I go back to my watch. I smack it violently. I pretend to be a customer with high standards who brought the TAG Heuer Connected luxury smart watch with equally high expectations, but the product has failed to deliver. My heart skips a beat when the perfectly working watch's screen turns off at one of my smacks. But I don't show it on my face.
I hear Ron whisper something to them, but I am not interested.
"Oh, of course! He's your friend, right? He can come too," she says. Her squeaky voice directed at me. I look up at her and her cronies. They have weird looks on their faces. Ron is beaming.
Rosy turns to Ron, smiles, gives him one of those hand wiggling of a bye-bye, and walks away with her ensemble following her.
I personally don't like parties. If someone had invited me to one before, I would have turned it down. The only reason I decided to come to this is because I thought it was a good opportunity to debut my Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones that I bought a month back. I made sure to load some of my favorite songs. After all, this is a party.
I and Ron roamed around in silence till we found a place which we felt could be the loser's spot for the evening.
We sit there. I keep nodding my head to the beats in my Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones. To be clear, I and Ron never talk much. We are more or less friends by exclusion. Nobody hung out with us, therefore we ended up with each other. I suspect Ron, like me, finds it uncomfortable to be by himself in public, so we sit together. Alone together. That way, nobody would judge us.
Also, we have our unspoken agreements. If Ron is watching a movie on his phone, I never feign interest and ask him about it. Or if I am eating something, Ron will never ask me for a bite. We keep the “socially acceptable” bullshit away.
A squeaky noise pierces my eardrum although the Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones is supposed to be noise cancelling headphones. I look up. It's Rosy. The diva. With her gang.
"I have to saaay, every time I see you, it's.... it's.. you used to be soo fa-.... heav-"
"Fat," Ron interjected accompanied with a humble chuckle.
"Ye- yes. Fat," she giggled. "You used to be soo fat, but now...."
Bitch is comfortable with the word now.
"I HAVE to make a before-after comparison photo. Do you have, like, an older photo of you- your fat self?" she said sounding excited.
Ron squirmed. His brows bunched together as his brain went into cognitive overdrive. We never took pictures of ourselves. There's no amount of "right posturing" or "fitting clothes" or “lighting” that would make us look good.
"Oh, someone had tagged us in a photo on Facebook once!" Ron exclaimed.
Fuck, no! Not that one!
An over-enthusiastic Ron jumps up and helps Rosy find it in her phone.
The group huddle together, look at the photo, look at Ron, and then gasp. Look back at the photo again, look at Ron again, and then gasp.
"This is perfect! This would inspire soo many people!” Rosy says with a look of benevolence on her face.
"Yeah, sure," says an over-the-top eager Ron.
"We need your friend too in the shot so that it would look perfect. Actually, I think your friend has lost a bit of weight too," she squeaked.
Ron coaxes me to stand beside him, and Rosy directs us into the exact posture we were in the old picture. After taking the photo, her fingers work like little ninjas on her phone, a grin plastered on her face. A minute later, she shows us the before and after picture.
I look exactly the same in both photos. The only difference being I was holding onto a Galaxy Note in the before photo versus the Beats headphone I now wore around my neck. Ron has a striking difference in his body habitus. I look like the fat comic relief guy.
"There! I shared it on my wall," she says, excited. Then, in an instant, her eyes go wide open, her mouth drops open, and she turns to her fan squad:
"I got another 800 likes on my profile picture! This is officially my second most liked profile picture!"
“Uuuuuuhhh” her cronies respond.
After they leave us the fuck alone, I go back to my music with Ron chatting up with some of the other students. He at one point leaves me alone to hang out with them. I, of course, don’t care. I don't care about this entire affair even though I desperately want to find her Facebook profile and find out how the sheep are responding to the photo. I chuckle at the thought of her trying to respond to the shitton of messages from girls inquiring about the cool guy in the photo wearing the Beats. But who am I kidding? I bet most of them haven’t even heard of Beats.
Besides, I know what is going to happen. Nobody’s going to give a fuck about a photo of two dudes. She will probably delete the photo upon seeing the abysmal number of likes accrued so that people visiting her profile won’t see a dud.
Little did I know that a guy who works for Karanpur News was on her friends list, and it must have been the most unnewsworthy day because they posted the photo as their top news with the headline:
LOCAL BOY LOSES ASTONISHING AMOUNT OF WEIGHT; USES HIS FRIEND AS COMPARISON; SHOWS THE POWER OF THE HUMAN WILL.
By the next evening, the post had garnered 7k likes.
It’s the next day, and I am not at school. Instead, I sit in my room obsessively re-reading the comments and awaiting new ones. These stupid townsfolk are making a joke out of me! They think I am lazy! Some comments say I am probably a guy who can’t refuse a samosa!
I want to set the record straight. Tell these dumb fuckers the truth behind Ron’s weight loss. It was no HUMAN FUCKING WILL. But how do I go about this? Make a Youtube video? Write a Facebook post? Write a long comment ranting abou- I get a message. It's from a reporter working for Karanpur Now, the competitor of Karanpur News.
'Sir, I am Rajesh from Karanpur Now. We believe in real news and now. We believe in news that happens in the now. I would like an interview with you to hear your reaction to Karanpur's News' article and the response from the town's persons," the message reads.
'When shall I come in?' I reply.
'No, sir. We do it through Facebook Messenger video feature and record it. But if you don't have the equipment, I can come over with a camera.'
I am just pushed over the edge right now. I type back, furiously,
'Of course I have the equipment! In fact, I have the best! I have an iPhone X with a 4G conn-' Before I can finish typing, the screen shifts to show that he's calling me.
I accept the video call.
"Hello, sir, I am Rajesh from Karanpur Now. We believe in real news and now. We believe in news that happens in the now."
"Oh, h- hi, Rajesh," I say.
"Sir, I just wanted to know about your response to the news published by a local newspap-" he continued.
"I just want to set things straight here! I know what that stupid newspaper wrote, and I want to tell them that they haven't done their research. Ron didn't lose weight by will or by choice. What happened was, 2 months ago, he broke his jaw and couldn't eat food. That's how he lost it. If it was me in his place, I would have lost the weight instead of HIM!" I can’t remember the last time I spoke so much to another human being other than shouting at my parents.
"So, sir, this was fake news by an unethical newspaper," he says.
"I don't get why people are calling me lazy. If this was a competition and both of us were given the same amount of time, I would have lost more weight than him!" This was followed by a pause. I have been shouting again.
Rajesh acknowledged the pause and said,
"So, sir, if both of you had concensly taken decision to lose weight for, I say, like 6 months, you would have lost more weight than him?"
"Sir, I'm having some connection issues. Is it nice on your end?" Rajesh says.
"Wh- Of course, it is alright on my end. I have an Iphone 6S with a 4G connection with a 100 MBPS backup WiFi." But Rajesh's voice is breaking up and the video is pixelating. I shout as loud as I can, "I have an Iphone 6S with a 4G connection with a 100 MBPS backup WiFi! Did you get tha-" The video call ends abruptly.
I try calling him back, but he declines. A minute later, he messages apologizing for the technical issue and stating he got everything that he needed. These fucking guys don't even have the necessary equipment to run a news company!
An hour later, the interview is up on their Facebook page. The fucker had edited out the part at the end about my phone and my WiFi connection.
Within a few minutes, the comments start to roll in.
'I feel cheated. Karanpur News should be ashamed to post such masala-ed up news,' read one of the comments.
'I knew something was not right. A guy loses 25 kg in 2 months by dieting?? That's a load of bullshit,' reads another excellent comment.
'Boo-hoo! Listen to this jealous little cry baby trying to say how the entire world is aga-" FUCK THIS GUY!
'Good work, Karanpur Now. You guys are way better than Karanpur News. Unlike them, you believe in real news and now. We believe in news that happens in the now. Karanpur News sucks. Karanpur Now rox! Follow us for real news,' read another sensible comment written by someone who had a well-oiled bullshit detector.
I lie down on my bed feeling pleased at how things are turning out.
Next day, Karanpur News had put out a post in response:
In response to the epic rant by John - the town's obese boy, Rosy (speaking on behalf of Ron) stated that she accepted the challenge put forth by the aforementioned party. She and Ron are going to prove once and for all how wrong John is! <....> A public weigh-in will be held in 6 months to once and for all “set things straight.”"
Cardio and dieting: Two words I always scoffed at until everything went to hell. In fact, I think hell is nothing but a gym where you are locked in and forced to do cardio all the time, and all they serve in their cafeteria are leafy vegetables.
I noticed something interesting in the gym today. Nancy, the fat girl, was walking on a treadmill at the farthest end of the cardio floor. To tell the truth, it’s demotivating to see fat people running on the treadmill. You start asking yourself questions such as “How long have they been working out?” “Are they just starting out or have they been working out for over a year and still fat?”
The next day after the post appeared in Karanpur News challenging me, I had gone to my college and told my principal that I would like a study leave for the rest of the 3 months. He didn't care. The syllabus was completed. It was the final year of college. These 3 months were just a formality. Now, I can concentrate on losing my weight full-time.
A couple of weeks later, I see Nancy using a treadmill closer to mine.
I change my phone's SIM and disable my Facebook account. I message all 10 friends on my friends list, except Ron, stating that I was leaving Facebook to take care of some personal stuff. I don’t wait for them to try and cox me to stay back on Facebook. To be honest, I don't even know these guys. They were just random friend requests that I received. I have a feeling they are fake profiles created by some click farm to provide fake likes to paying customers.
Once I disabled my Facebook account, I immediately created a fake account to spy on Ron and Rosy. To keep myself updated on their progress.
It seems Ron is hanging out with Rosy and her friends a lot nowadays. Some of her selfies were of him eating BUFFETS!! I can't wait to see the look on their faces when I surprise them with my lean body in 6 months.
Nancy is now walking on the treadmill right next to mine. She comes in earlier than anybody else in the gym, including me, and picks the treadmill right next to mine. I had been careful to avoid eye contact, but today we looked at each other at the exact same time. After abruptly looking away, I turned to look back at her. She smiled, and then almost stumbled. I gave her a WHATEVER KINDA SMILE and went back to the quantum physics documentary on my iPad which was propped up on the treadmill.
Things were heating up. The media from nearby towns were interviewing Ron. I, of course, avoided all forms of communication. The media must be desperate to grab ahold of me. I go out in hooded jackets and make sure to grab copies of the newspapers. I make sure to watch the interviews on YouTube to have a look at the fucker. He seems to have made no progress!
For my exam, I request that I be given a different center than my classmates. With only 3 months to go for the public weigh-in, and probably because they were blown away by my progress, the college’s management team seemed very eager to comply to my demand. I guess they want to be a part of this phenomenon.
Now with just 2 months left for the weigh-in, I pretty much spent half my day in the gym and the rest at home resisting the urge to order a pizza. I was the last person to leave the gym. I just have to wake the security guy up on my way out so that he can lock the place up and go back to sleep.
But then one day, when I changed my clothes and came out to the floor, I see Nancy standing there. Waiting for me. In front of my treadmill. She isn't in her usual workout clothes. She has changed into something more girly. She stands in her classic Nancy pose: Looking down at her feet, her shoulders rounded, part of her hair forming a natural screen and hiding her face. She stands facing the treadmill and probably hasn't noticed me yet. My first instinct is to walk away before she notices me, but my iPad is on the treadmill. Finally, I walk to my treadmill pretending I don't see her. But before I can grab my iPad, she jumps at me and hugs me. I am stunned. I initially try to wriggle out of her grip, but then give in. To be clear, I dislike this, but at the same time, there is something strangely nice about this. To be honest, I have never been hugged by anyone from the opposite sex that was not related to me by blood. Just when I am growing comfortable with it, she lets me go, then says a quick "thank you" and starts to walk away.
I must have been crazy because instead of letting it go at that, I quiver,
She turns around and says,
"It is because of you I come to the gym every day. I wanted to thank you for the motivation."
But, bitch, you haven't lost any weight, I want to say. But instead I say,
“I go out to dinner once in a while, and that once happens to be tomorrow. Would you like to join me?”
She smiles. And nods.
Some of the people in the restaurant are taking pictures of me. Fuck, if Ron gets ahold of them, he's going to know my progress. Not to mention I am wearing well-fitting clothes that show off my leaner, fitter body. But, fuck it, how many times do you get to go on a first date?
I order what I usually get home delivered from here: A fruit salad.
"And what about you, madam?" asks the waiter.
"What he’s having," she says. Blushing.
At times I feel like I should say something. Throughout the journey, right from the gym to the restaurant, we had been pretty quiet. The same continues as we both finish our fruit salads.
"That was nice. Wasn't that nice?" I finally say prodding for a response.
"Would you like something else, madam?" the waiter interjects appearing out of nowhere.
"Yes, a chicken biriyani, please."
WHAT THE FUCK!!
"What about you, sir?" the waiter asks.
"No- nothing," I say. The waiter walks away. Nancy looks down. Realizing her stupidity, she looks horrified and ashamed. I continue to glare at her judgingly. CHICKEN FUCKING BIRIYANI! How are people like her supposed to lose any weight if they don't make any fucking sacrifices??
"It's not like I don’t try," she says as if reading my mind, "I- I have this thyroid condition. I have tried everything - exercise, diet, yoga, but they don't make any difference."Her voice breaks towards the end.
I make myself comfortable in my seat and tell her, "It's all about motivation and determination. Did you know that 'impossible' is a word that's not in my dictionary??"
Right then, a hot plate of biryani arrives between us. My salivary glands go into overdrive. But, no. FUCK, NO! I take a sip of my water and hold myself together. I see her eyeing the biryani, but she doesn't dare make any advances toward it.
"If you want results, you need to make sacrifices! Are you ready to make sacrifices?" I ask.
Nancy looks close to tears. She finally manages to nod her head.
I grab my glass of water, take a sip, and pour the rest in the biryani saying,
"Then enough with the crappy food!"
She looks shocked as if I was killing her baby. She begins to say,
"But it's my thy-"
"FUCK YOUR THYROID!! IT'S JUST ANOTHER EXCUSE FAT PEOPLE MAKE!"
It takes me a moment to realize I said that too loud. I hear gasps and murmurs . Nancy, close to tears, stands up and runs out of the restaurant.
Nancy hasn't turned up at the gym over the past 2 months since the incident at the restaurant. I actually feel relieved. Human beings are so complicated. You never know what they are thinking.
A photo of me walking out of the restaurant was published in Karanpur News. Now I have to work twice as hard because it is now public knowledge as to how far I have gotten along. Ron has a milestone to reach.
Finally, on the weigh-in day, Karanpur Times had organised a small social event. A local singer sang songs and a local magician performed magic on the stage. About a thousand people gathered to witness the historic event. I could feel my heart thumping against my chest. As hard as I tried, I couldn't even get a glimpse of Ron. They apparently had given him a dressing room on the other side of the stage. The whispers say he's already in the room.
Towards the end of the night, the host calls me out. I walk out wearing a long robe like the ones that boxers wear on their way to the ring.
"We have calibrated the weighing machine in such a way that it counts back from 100 to the actual weight so that it creates a bit of SUSPENSE!!" the host says. The audience cheers. A LED screen held up on a tripod displayed the digit “100” in huge, bright, red digits. I remove by rob amidst cheers from the crowd and step on the weighing scale.
"ANNNNND.... GO!" the host shouts.
The number on the scale starts counting down. Once it passes 70, it starts to slow down. Once it crosses 60, it slows down to a dribble with each change taking a couple of seconds. The crowd cheers louder with each change. It finally comes to a stop at 51, and the audience loses it.
"Alright, alright! Now, let's bring out the previous winner!" the host says.
From the other side of the stage enters Ron followed closely by Rosy. Rosy has a forced smile on her face. Ron climbs on the weighing scale. The same process of counting back from 100 ensues. It passes 60. The crowd cheers louder. It stops at 57. The applause dies down.
"Awww... I was actually rooting for you, bud. Would you like to say something to your fans?," the shithead host says showing the mike to Ron.
Rosy jumps in between them and says,
"We are soo sorry to have let our fans down. Shucks!"
"Why do you think you lost?" the host asks showing the mic clearly to Ron.
Rosy jumps in once again,
"Well, there were too many things going on. We were quite busy with the exams and other things, but now that we have more time on our hands, we are going to dedicate ourselves completely to this and make sure we win the next weigh-in!"
NEXT WEIGH-IN?!!? Let me celebrate my win, for fuck's sake!
"Wait, are you guys together?" the host says, now showing the mic to Rosy while Ron stands with a plastered smile on his face.
"Ah, yes, we have been together for the past 5-6 months, going strong!" the hillbilly says.
"Wow, that's great! Give the lovely couple a big hand!” the audience gives a wimpy applause for the losers.
“And now, our clear winner for tonight," the host says walking towards me.
I notice Rosy taking a selfie with Ron. She nudges him to make an exaggerated sad face. She then rapidly types a status to go along with it.
"Wow, this is totally a surprise! You lost a ton of weight!" the host says, flabbergasted.
"Yes. It was twice as hard for me because when we started out, Ron was already halfway there and I had to lose twice as much weight. And it's made even harder by the fact that I am 3 inches taller than him, so it was really tough."
The host is wide eyed with amazement as he processes the hard facts.
"We all know how difficult it is and all the hard work that it takes to lose weight. What kept you motivated through this journey?"
“ I watch motivating Youtube videos on my iPad when I feel down, my GIRLFRIEND motivated me, and I also used the latest technology of wearables to monitor my vital signs to make sure I got the optimum workout done."
"Your girlfriend? Is she here?"
"Ye- yes. Nancy is somewhere in the crowd. She's a bit camera-shy."
"Ha ha! Alrighty! Now, what are your thoughts on the next weigh-in?"
The dickhead has assumed that it's actually happening just because she said so. But I didn't want to seem like a chicken. I'm going to play along till they realize how hard it is and drop out themselves.
"Yeah, I think it's going to be a close call. After a certain point, it gets harder and harder to lose weight, so it's going to be really tough."
”Let's give it up for our winner!!”
The crowd goes nuts.
A few minutes later, I am making my way through the crowd to get the fuck out of there. The singer is back on the stage singing more songs on public demand. There are quite a number of food stalls and pushcarts selling unhealthy shit. This has turned into some sort of a carnival.
As I push through the crowd to get to the parking lot, people pat me, congratulating me. I try to ignore them, pretend like this whole thing was a piece of cake, but I can't help but smile. I have finally gotten myself to these dickheads that I am superior to them in all ways. They mocked me thinking I'm just anoth- Shit! Nancy stands in my way. She looks at me with an expressionless face. It's difficult to read humans. Is she mad? Is she here to apologize to me? Either ways, I don't care.
"I haven't seen you around for 2 mo-" I start to say when she hugs me again. This time I don't try to wriggle out, instead I just let myself be a limp doll in her hands. She finally lets me go, blushes, and says,
"I never had a boyfriend before."
The only reason I said that was because I didn't want fucking Ron and Rosy to have a one up over me, I wanted to tell her. I didn't want people to think that the only reason I won was because I was a loser who had nothing else going on with his life. As I stand there racking my brain to say something, fucking Ron shows up. I am confused whether to be relieved or upset.
"What's the fuck's wrong with your phone??" he says in a forced whisper, "I've been trying to reach you!" Then, as if in a quick afterthought, he waves his arms around dismissing the thought and says, "Why did you accept another weigh-in?? Rosy is driving me crazy! She's a total control freak. At first, I thought this was how relationships are supposed to be. My mom's always bossing my dad around, and I think I now know why he's always drinking a lot. Rosy even spends most of the day at my house, and it's now like a fucking competition between her and my mother to see who can control me the most. It's driving me nu-"
"RON!" Rosy had appeared seemingly out of nowhere like the waiter at the hotel.
"Oh, hi, dear," Ron says in a low squeaky voice. Rosy looks pissed off. Her grip tightening on her phone with the pink glittery cover. Her eyes rapidly moving from person to person, judging.
"We need to go! The driver's getting the car!" she says finally, tight-lipped.
"Oh, ah, ye- okay, dear," Ron whimpers and follows her out of there.
"What the fuck..." Nancy stops, suddenly becoming self conscious of her language, looks down guiltily at her feet in her classic pose, and murmurs, "..was that?"
"The oldest trick in the book. Make your competitor drop out of the competition so that you make them look like pussies. If they want another weigh-in, that's exactly what I will give them!" I say, my chest thrust out, warrior pose.
A moment of silence ensued while we both stand awkwardly. Nancy is still recovering from her slip-up, her head down. She finally looks up and exclaims,
FIVE MONTHS LATER
Losing weight after a certain point becomes torture. After obsessively counting calories taken in and calories burnt, I have lost just 10 kgs over the past 5 months. Whenever I am about to eat something, I always ask myself if Ron would do the same. Then I throw away the food. May be he eats just once in a day, or may be he goes on week-long fasts to lose that last kilo.
You can imagine my frustration when the TV station gets in touch with me to say that the weigh-in has been postponed for another 3 months. When probed for an explanation, it's always, "I don't know, sir. My manager won't say." When I call the manager, he would say, "It's from the top. I have no idea." What was Ron up to!? Did he have a spy in my gym? Was he monitoring my progress, and upon falling short, was he pushing the weigh-in date with some shitty excuse so that he can beat me? Just thinking about these things make me dizzy, but I refuse to take in more calories. Let him play his stupid game. I'm going to be ready no matter what. At this point, my weight loss has dribbled to a few measly grams per week.
Nancy is back in the gym working alongside me. She thinks we are now in a relationship although I think that's debatable. Not to mention that any form of physical contact with her at this point is painful. A hug from her enormous body feels like what I imagine must be the bearhug move from professional wrestling. Bet she eats junk food all day at home and puts on a show at the gym.
"Who are they!?" I ask irritated referring to the girls at the gym with whom she just spent some time laughing near the watercooler. This ‘socializing’ had been going on for a couple of days now. I could hear them giggling and laughing. I have noticed some of them even wave bye at Nancy when they leave the gym for the day.
"Wha- Who?" she says, nervous, obviously trying to play dumb.
"Your ‘FRIENDS’??" I scoff.
"They are jus-"
"The only reason they want to be friends with you is because you are my girlfriend," I state the obvious. She doesn't reply. She looks guilty as fuck and continues to walk on the treadmill which is set to run at a snail's pace.
I am starting to enjoy this relationship thing. Like they say, it’s all about finding the right person. And I found Nancy. I like to dominate and Nancy loves being dominated. We are the perfect match.
We go out on dinner dates every weekend. But now, with the competition just 2 months away, I even skimp on the salad. I just watch Nancy eat her salad and may be steal a piece or two from her plate, all the while wondering if Ron would eat this.
"Just 2 more months to go, unless they fucking extend the date again," I say nibbling on a piece of carrot.
"I think they should just cancel the entire thing."
I almost retch up. I stare at her. She doesn't catch my eye and continues to chomp down on her vegetables with no regard for the calories.
I don't talk much for the rest of the date and keep the thoughts to myself. But it isn't over. Next day, at the gym, she is back on it.
"I don't think it’s healthy anymore," says the fatso.
I turn off my treadmill and stand up straight by holding onto the handles. She must have noticed my serious stance because she turned to me with a blank expression on her face.
"You know, Nancy, remember the time when you said I motivated you to hit the gym?"
"How about you, you know, return the favor? Why don't you be a bit more supportive? This is important to me," I say.
"But you are killing yoursel-" she stops mid-sentence when she notices one of the girls from the gym walking towards us. I stare at Nancy who rightfully instantly has a guilty look on her face. It’s all a powerplay.
"We are headed to Tom's Pizza. You coming?" the pseudohealth girl says.
Nancy seemed to be struggling with her response, so I instantly reply for her,
"She won't be joining you guys." And the calorie-loving girl just won't leave.
"She was the one who suggested we go, so may be you should let her talk," the girl says.
"I am sure you guys pressured her into this, and as she's my girlfriend, I can talk on her behalf," I say. The rest of the girls from the Love Handles Club were slowly converging around us, probably to drag this girl back like a wounded animal in the wild.
"You don't ‘own’ her," says another girl.
"We have been listening to how you talk to her, and it's just not right," says another. Oh, these fucking feminists trying to fix the world when its not brok-
"What's happening, guys?" a mellow voice broke in. The voice belonged to the 6-feet, 85-kilo muscle mass gym owner, Arun.
"Arun, you said this gym was safe for women," says one of the girls.
"Ye- yes, it is. What's the matter?" he mellows.
"This guy here is abusing her."
"Wha- What??" Arun painfully shuffles his muscles to turn around so that he can look at me.
"Yeah, it's not a safe environment for women when he's around," says another.
"What are you going to do about it, Arun?" says another.
Arun shifts with a humongous amount of effort every time someone speaks.
"The only reason his gym is popular than the competition is because I work out here. Besides, I pay twice the subscription amount. It's a win-win for him that I'm here," I scoff. The girls stare at Arun. I can sense the fall of pride on their faces. Then the steroid abuser opens his mouth.
"Well, I have been receiving som- eh, some complaints. People think you look malnourished, and its a bit, you know, demotivating, because they want to be, you know, eh, healthy," the movement-handicapped asshole actually waved his hand to himself when he said the word ‘healthy.’ He then turns to the girls, "And I don't think I would risk losing out on all you guys just for him.”
I have never been more saddened in my life. This is exactly the reason why I always distance myself from these pathetic humans. Gadgets are way better.
"Fuck all of you!" I say grabbing my towel and getting off the treadmill. I turn to Arun,
"We are going to join one of your competitors who will actually value us," I say walking away. It takes me a while to realize that I was alone. I turn around to see Nancy still on her treadmill.
"What are you waiting for? You need to get changed?" I say.
"I'm not coming. May be- may be we should take a break from our relationship," she says looking down at her feet. The girls smile and give approving smiles to Nancy!
"I always knew you were one of them, the ‘losers,‘ so, fuck you too!" I say and walk out.
I realize that the other gyms aren't exactly clamoring to have me be a part of their gym. I guess they don't recognize me. I guess I have changed too much over the past 7 months. These fools probably think I am thin because I'm sickly. One of the bastards even asked me to do a pushup, which I promptly tried and failed. I then argued how being able to do pushups isn't a stamp of good health. People with fucking beer bellys can do pushups!
Anyways, I risked it with my dad's credit card, and it worked. I bought a treadmill and got it delivered to my apartment. I moved out of my house 5 months ago after I could no longer take my parents' bickering about my diet. On my way out, I take my dad's credit card and the old car.
Fuck gyms! Now, I can cardio right in my apartment.
I use my fake Facebook profile to stalk Ron and Rosy, but Ron has gone AWOL for many months. I guess he has finally learnt the importance of hiding your progress. Rosy as usual posted her weekend selfies with her gang of woo-hoos and, as usual, they would rake in hundreds of likes.
The fact that the weigh-in is less than 2 months away was starting to make me anxious. I found myself messaging Raghu, the only guy I used to talk to in my class apart from Ron. In fact, Raghu had once featured me in his Youtube channel where he reviewed gadgets. He treated me rightfully as an expert whose opinions mattered and were final. I like him. I message him inquiring if he had any info on Ron. He said he will get back to me after asking around.
Over the past 2 weeks, I have had a third person in my Facebook Stalk List: Nancy. Prior to these 2 weeks, she barely posted anything on her wall. In fact, her profile picture was that of a flower. But now, there was a fresh post everyday. Selfies in the gym with her new dumb friends. Selfies at Tom's Pizzas. Selfies hanging out at the park playing tennis with her new dumb friends. Selfies wit- You get the idea. And then there were plenty more of her being tagged. I almost gagged. The only reason her new ‘friends' even wanted to talk to her is because of me. Its fame by association. It got her close enough to people for just long enough for them to see her personality. I too had the personality back when I was heavy, and now I still got the personality but I am also thin and handsome. I am everything in one packa- I just got a message from Raghu. Apparently someone saw Ron at Florence Hospital a week ago. He was apparently admitted there.
What was the fucker up to?? Getting some kind of weight loss surgery done?? But now I got the sucker! I will find out what he's up to and get one up on him!
I found myself stumbling as I made my way to the car. Probably because I hadn't left home over the past week. Than you, home deliveries!
Florence Hospital is on the other side of the town. As I drive I wonder if what really united Nancy and her new 'gym buddies' was a common hatred towards me. Do they think I am going to lose? Am I the butt of their jokes? Do they crack jokes at my expense? I can't wait to win and watch them cringe. May be then they will avoid Nancy. May be then Nancy would realize what she's done and come crawling back to me and ask for forgiveness.
Upon reaching the hospital, I face a problem. A security guard stands at the entrance and argues with an old couple that he can't let them in because visiting hours are over.
I just walk right through the entrance. The security guard did give me a look, but I looked back at him with calm confidence. The secret is to feign confidence. Even when in doubt that you are wrong, always ‘project’ confidence. All the techniques to succeed in life are already available on the vast library of human knowledge called YouTube, but the majority of the population still try to go through life by trial and error, trying to reinvent the wh-
"May I help you? Are you lost?" says a pretty nurse sitting behind the Help Counter.
I tell her I am searching for Ron. "I have something important to give him." I add. I project confidence. She looks at her computer.
"Sir , um, he's in room #104, but, it's not visi-"
It takes me a while before I find room #104. But before I walk right in and expose the fraud that Ron is, I hear the squeaky noise of a hospital bed being rolled out of the room. A nurse comes into view pulling out a bed. I step back and watch. On the bed is Ron with his eyes closed. Except his head, the rest of his body is under a blanket. The blanket outlines a very thin body. I panic. I wait till they turn around a corner and peek into the room. I rush in. I find medical records on the table.
'The patient is a 20-year-old male with genetic lymphocytic carcin-' WHERE THE FUCK IS THE WEIGHT?? Finally, after suffering through some more medical psychobabble, I find the weight that was taken a few days back: '30 kgs.'
THIRTY FUCKING KILOS!
My weight about an hour ago was 38 kilos and 635 grams. I have to lose 8 and a half kilos in 6 weeks! I feel my life crumble.
I don't remember getting out of the hospital room. All I remember is that when I was wheeling myself towards the exit, the security guy stopped and said,
"Sir, what are you doing? You can't leave!"
It took me a moment to remember what had happened. A nurse had noticed me stumbling along and had gotten me a wheelchair. I was so lost in thought, and the wheelchair such a comfortable way to get around, I didn't complain or correct her that I wasn’t a patient although I look like one. She then abruptly left me to handle some emergency, and I had been wheeling myself towards the exit.
I manage to convince the security guard that I am not a patient. He finally lets me go, but not before giving me several suspicious glances.
I make my way back to the car without any falls. Once inside, I feel renewed determination. Sure, I have only 6 weeks left, but now I knew where my competition stood. This means, I now have something concrete to work towards, and I will be ready for the final showdown.
Six weeks later.
"So, doctor, we have been receiving a bit of criticism from the public that we are encouraging unhealthiness through this competition. What’s your take on this?" the host says.
"First of all, let me correct you that not only am I a doctor, I am also a life coach and a motivational speaker," the doctor says with a proud smile, and then continues, "To answer your question, athletes in any sports push themselves to the limits unhealthily. They don't have a joyride to the top. We only see their toned body and a may be a few minutes of their performance where they perform as if it's a piece of cake. But behind this are years and years of dedicated hard work and determination. And they all go through health issues because our body wasn't made to be pushed to such limits, but the winners always solve these problems and keep going. So, the question we must ask tonight is, are you a winner or a quitter?"
"Alright, thank you, doctor, for your clarification," the host says and turns to the crowd, “And Dr. Sanjay will also be presenting the trophy to the winner tonight."
I peek through the curtains and see Nancy in the audience with her ‘huge’ friends. Guess they came prepared to cheer at my defeat. Oh, I can't wait!
The host first brings in Ron. Ron slowly walks in from the other side of the stage. He is held up by a man and Rosy. There's a strained look on his face as he takes every step. As if walking is a job too difficult for him.
Oh, the drama!
They help him climb on the weighing scale, and the digits on the LED monitors starts counting down from 100. People cheer as the number crosses 50, then 40, and finally it stops at 32.
THE FUCKER ACTUALLY GAINED TWO KILOS!!
"Wow, this is- this is just unbelievable!" the dickhead host says and continues, "I mean this is-"
Rosy interrupts, "This has been a tough journey, but we are happy to have completed it, and I have my fingers crossed!" She looks proudly at Ron.
"Well, looking at the result, I don't think you will need to have your fingers crossed," the asshole of a host says with a fake 'wiping my sweat' gesture and the audience laughs and applauds.
"No, Dr. Sanjay, don't give them the trophy yet!" the host says turning to Dr. Sanjay who stood on the stage giggling, "We need to give the competitor a chance to compete, although, let’s be honest, we know who the winner is tonight." The audience laughs and applauds. The fuckers!
"Alright, so now, let's bring in the reigning champion!" the host says.
I direct my 2 helpers to push my wheelchair onto the stage. I have a blanket over my body for suspense. If Ron thought having 2 people help him walk onto the stage was going to be dramatic, he was wrong. The host and the audience gasp at my entrance. I don't react. I maintain a blank expression on my face. The helpers stop right next to the weigh-in scale. I look at Ron and Rosy. Rosy has this plastered nervous smile on her face. Right at that moment, I wanted to break out into a laughter, but I don't. The big reveal is still pending. One of the helpers pulls off my blanket, and I sit up proud. The entire audience gasps in horror overshadowed by admiration. There is a loud noise as the host dropped the mic in reverence.
Yes, I amputated both my legs at the knees and my left arm at its elbow. I left my right hand intact because I had plans for it; I like to think ahead.
One of the helpers then lifts me up and places me on the weighing scale. The digits on the LED screen run down and dribbles to a stop at 26.
"YES!" I shout with my right arm held up high. The audience murmurs. Rosy looks horrified and ashamed. She just walks off the stage while Ron tries to grab her back, but she just pushes him away. He stumbles and falls on the floor while Rosy walks away without a backward glance. The audience gasps at this. I look at Nancy. I grin at her. Mocking her. She looks shocked, as do her friends, although I am not sure if they would want to be her friends anymore.
This was taking way too fucking long! I extend out my unamputated hand towards the trophy. The host gingerly picks up the trophy and hands it to the doctor who then brings it to me with what I think is a look of awe on his face. I hold the trophy up in my right hand just the way I had imagined I would a thousand times over the past month. The only difference being that the audience weren’t cheering and passionately tearing up as I imagined them to do in my visualization sessions. I bet they thought I wouldn't win again. Fuck em!