Sunday, June 17, 2012

Turn Fit, burn midnight fat

I would like to take you back to  the days  when I struggled to establish myself as an Aerobics Instructor way back in year 1995 . The story goes somewhat like this:
It is two years since I added yet another facet to my multifarious personality (housewife, part -time writer, Reiki master) : I lay claim to being an established Aerobics Instructor. I get to remain fit at the expense of others not so naturally endowed . Which other career gives you this bonus in addition to a little money/ or lots of money for the lucky few in the pocket ?
 Not that it was a piece of cake , as I soon found out. First, the need to secure a big  enough hall for the workouts, at a reasonable rent in a decent  neighbourhood; next to secure and  retain the requisite number of students in order to break even. The former problem was overcome by a stroke of extreme good luck, after a patient vigil of over six months.
The lesson learnt was not lost while tackling the next order of business: not to providence would I leave the task of gathering enough students. The good news was braodcast far and wide  by mouth.
Target populations were idendtified--- pink, yellow and green fliers were sent out  along with weekend newspapers. Strategic locations were found, to hang up brightly painted sign- boards.  Aerobic demonstrations were held at neighbourhood ladies clubs and meetings. Print media was further peppered with knowledgeable articles on health and fitness by Rama Ananth ( Aerobics Instructor). The neighbourhood newspaper carried weekly panels in bold advertising, wooing individually and severally housewives, husbands, singles, doubles, students, office- goers, early risers, late risers and what have you, I had batches for everybody.
My copy writing skills were honed to perfection during this time : Witness - "Sweat out your inches and get into your jeans" 
or "Lose weight, lose inches gain confidence", 
"Want to get into your swimsuit,  come join " Shape Aerobics", where fitness is fun 
" Keeping Fit Has Never Been More Fun !" 
And I would always add "Call Now", as if it was some life and death matter.
My creative juices began to gush out like a burst BWSSB water main.
In no time , the phone began to ring endlessly (music to my hears) : I had visions of the cash register jingling likewise, not mention visions of  the morning,  afternoon and evening  classes I would conduct everyday. I would have my hands full- What do I tell the poor souls I could not accommodate?  
Please wait, you are in queue ?
 And the husband -- I would show him : I would make enough money to walk out of 16 years of drudgery.
But alas!  everything was khalas !
The ringing bell only proved to be a false alarm. The callers invariably had an excuse for not signing up. Even after long drawn sales pitches and free advice on exercising, dieting, fitness etc., the quarry didn't bite. 
I was astounded at the variety of excuses  these callers came up with : the one to take the cake was,  "I need my husband's permission",  that too in an era where husbands are thrown out at the slightest pretext, ( to think that was my plan too).
 Business was dull, I was ready to sign up as a freelance advertising copywriter provided there were any takers for the crap I came up with. The husband didn't make matters any better:  "So when do you plan to move out darling,  got some money for your plane, train, or bus ticket, or do you plan to jog all the way,  was his idea of a good laugh--- the depraved dolt.
Well things got a lot better as days went by, I was well established in my line, I continued to write articles on fitness, in the Times Of India, continued to laugh at myself in my middles in the Deccan Herald: a lot of water has flown under my troubled bridge : being the type who never give up I sailed through quite safely . 
I have learnt to master the vagaries of my profession and keep under control my seething irritation provoked by these "time pass" callers. 
 When a recent caller asked for a convenient timing at a reasonable fee, my husband, who has a keen nose for business suggested,  "start a midnight batch love, and offer a 50 per cent discount".
 Any takers ? 

Oh my God! the phone is ringing  and I can hear my cash register jingling, I have to go. Bye bye.
That was my story, did you like  it?
(Was published as a Middle in the Deccan Herald, and I got a measly  sum of Rs. 250 for that)


  1. You've got so much drive, and so much energy, I'll bet you're a great instructor!

  2. Hi Cara, how are you?
    It has been a long time, and it is good to hear from you.

  3. are quite a multifaceted personality..I would have certainly joined your classes..

  4. Loved the story! These newspapers are such suckers. They don't want to pay anyone.

  5. Thanks Rachna. These days they pay in thousands, but I have not posted anything, I prefer blogging, as I am not stuck to their word limitations.

  6. As long as the cash box jingles - be it aerobics or writing keep going.

  7. that is good midnight classes .. hey i want to learn all that too :)

    nice one


  8. Funny story, rama, written with much talent, as usual. I like the channels you used to advertise. and the way you adapted to your clients.

  9. Rama, very very inspirational for me, your drive and passion amazes me and I think the motivation from this post can not be measured by money :-) Hats off dear!

  10. A very interesting read, Rama! I would'nt mind the late night session with discount:)

  11. Great read!Wish we lived in the same city.

  12. Hahaha...i can envisage the cash register jingling part;) Funny post, yet i love your attitude. So, when is the midnight batch on? I am ready:P

  13. Hi, I'm a new reader. This is a funny post and I admire your drive! It is true; it will be a great way to stay fit at other people's expense! Best of luck and do visit when you get the chance!

  14. This is really great Rama. Loved the post.
    How do you manage time doing so much?
    Yes, I know what a meager amount the news papers pay for all the time and energy one puts in to bring out a lovely piece.
    All the best :)

  15. I have enjoyed my brief aerobics that I did during college. Wish I am there in Bangalore to burn those Midnight fat. Atleast I don't need to ask permission from my husband ;)
    Why are newspapers always so stingy in paying? This is a great article.

  16. Loved reading the well written piece. Reminded me of my aerobic instructors from the late 90s.

  17. Enjoyed reading about the struggles you underwent which eventually opened up the sky.