When an Indian shifts abroad for a long term; he has three more leisure hours everyday as he now escapes from the Mumbai local train journey and watching all the swank sport facilities at his condo, his youth comes back to him. And within a month he buys squash rackets/ tennis rackets, swimming trunks, sports shoes and track suits. The booking registers of condo facilities are soon filled with names like Sekharan, Raman and Taneja. And these hairy pachyderms soon fill up the open spaces with all gusto.
For a passive observer, watching the Sekharans, Ramans and Tanejas can be quite entertaining. Lets take the gym to start with. The software engineer goes one evening to the gym; puts on CNN on the gym TV, starts walking on the treadmill at 4km per hour. His wife and kids follow him and sit at the nearby bench. All of them also wear sports attire including tracksuits (they however don’t exercise). With the newly bought digi cam they take snaps of the male of the family. After ten minutes, when the first sweat appears, the man calls it a day. Within five minutes families back home are called to let them know of this achievement and the photographs are mailed over.
Lets now move over to the tennis court. The passive observer can now see badminton style serves. Sekharan, Raman, Iyer and Taneja play with only 3 balls; while the locals at the neighboring court are playing with 50. The seats near the court are lined up with 10 people- Savithri, Geetha, and others; who have all prepared salt/glucose water for their hubbies. The women are talking of Mumbai traffic and price arbitrage between US and India and occasionally look at the game which looks more like elephant polo; and when they look at the court it’s a classic moment: as when Agassi used to make eye contact with Brooke Shields.
Lets now move over to the swimming pool. There are two distinct groups here: the hippos and the wildebeests. The hippos can be seen wearing swimming trunks and half immersed in water. They don’t swim but just park themselves in the water like hippos. The wildebeests are dressed in normal attire and are sitting in a group next to the pool. Both wildebeests and hippos are only bachelors and come to water for one common objective: to better know their neighbors and their undies. No snaps are sent back home this time.
But as with everything, time beats the Sekharans. The frequencies start decreasing; Taneja in fact gives up after the first accumulation of lactic acid. The paunch reestablishes its superiority over vacuum. The bookings registers start remaining empty again; what remains are those shiny happy snaps. And Indians remain true to their tradition of being the least successful sporting nation on a PPP or per capita basis.