At last, I have paid a visit to the legendary Gold’s Gym Bandra, where many of Bollywood’s biggest stars come to supplement their surgeries, steroids, and botox injections to tighten and tone their delectable physiques.
On Monday morning after a fabulous breakfast of sabudana vadas and a strawberry lassi made by S, I cabbed from S’s place in Mahim to FabIndia at Pali Hill to pick up a few things. I directed the cab driver through a combination of my midway-between-Katrina-Kaif-and-Javed-Akhtar Hindi, and a trick I picked up from H: getting the directions beforehand while I had Wifi, and saving a screenshot of the map. I had a screenshot of directions from FabIndia to Gold’s as well, but I didn’t end up needing them; once I mentioned “Gold’s Gym” the rickshaw driver immediately knew where to take me and zipped me over there in no time.
I’ve been to Gold’s Gyms in the US and was even briefly a member of Gold’s Gym Oakland specifically because I knew of celebrities working out at Gold’s Gym Bandra; but in the US, the chain is really nothing special. I thought maybe it would be a fancier variation here, given that celebrities frequent it. I conclude that perhaps it’s just the novelty and the foreignness that attracts such prominent figures. Seeing a Mercedes parked outside, I got excited imagining Bips or Prateik strutting along on the treadmill, having emerged from this vehicle. I walked up four flights of stairs to prolong the sweet anticipation and to train myself for the ensuing charade of a workout. Once I got to the fourth floor, a gentleman opened the door for me to enter. There was a row of smiling employees to my left, and I informed them that I had a day pass. They referred me to one of the representatives to my right. I sat down and explained that I had a one-day pass that I had signed up for through the Gold’s India website, and I proceeded to pull up a screenshot of it. The employee looked at it for all of two seconds and was like “OK no problem madam, I will show you the changing room.” Wow, really? No intake sheet, or signing of a waiver, or attempt to persuade me into signing up for a longer-term membership or personal training? It’s like this one-day VIP pass is custom-designed for stalkers like me to discreetly slip in from abroad and take candid photos for their blogs!
The interior of the gym was pretty standard to my frame of reference. The bottom floor had weights, ellipticals, and treadmills, and a small upstairs area had more treadmills, ellipticals, and bikes. I started out on an elliptical and moved my way around to different machines downstairs every four minutes or so to get a view of different areas of the gym. Several people looked self-important, but I did not recognize them. Then I decided to go upstairs and stalk if anyone was up there. I trudged on the treadmill for a while so I could leer at the guys pushing weights downstairs, and then I moved over to a bike and cycled for about five minutes before realizing that I was actually just working out and not stalking, which was definitely not the point of my visit. So I went back down to the treadmills for one last try. As I set my backpack down behind a treadmill, there he was, two treadmills down: Sohail Khan! We briefly made eye contact, and I mirror-stalked his sweat-drenched torso. I wondered, should I accost him for a photograph? But I thought maybe he would be annoyed since he was so deep into his workout, which was a really odd one. I was trudging along at a leisurely 4.6 km/hour, and he was going even slower than that; and occasionally he would straddle the treadmill and lean back, practically into a downward dog position. Why was he so greasy from this activity? There must have been more to the story, like he had jogged really fast for 30 minutes before I got there and saw him doing this walk-straddle routine. Indeed, as I was leaving, he was jogging, and I managed to take a stalker photo from behind him. Then I went back upstairs to see if I’d be able to take a good frontal shot, but there was a weird beam or something covering his face, and all I could see was his “Being Human” t-shirt.
The days have really flown by! Monday night, S took me to get some more kurtis in Dadar, and then I had a delicious dinner with cousin P and sister-in-law A at Mainland China. It was great to catch up since I hadn’t seen them since they got married six years ago. On Tuesday morning, A Mama and A Mami took me around to finish all my grocery shopping and get even more kurtis, and then I met cousin R for the ultimate gluttonous feast at China Gate, Global Fusion. Oh my goodness! Again, I hadn’t seen R in a really long time, and we really hadn’t ever one-on-one time before, so this was really lovely. We then did some more shopping in Colaba and went to see P Mavshi and Skype with M, then I went to see V Tai and M (different M) before her departure back to the US. This morning after some tasty misal, I saw A Mama, A Mami, P and S for another wonderful buffet at Orchid. After a two-hour post-food coma, I met up with S and had a great time chilling at Phoenix Mills and Shivaji Park before ending the night with D Mama, A, A, V, and D at Soul Fry, which has the best Goan restaurant food I’ve had.
And tomorrow is my last day in India! I’ll spend most of it packing, eating, and maybe doing a final post from the motherland if I have the time.