Last week I was officially declared spineless.
I had finally allowed myself to be dragged to the orthopaedic surgeon by the husband when a muscular shoulder pain refused to subside despite three weeks of hot water bottles and muscle relaxants.
Back beauties: Priyanka Chopra and Sushmita Sen at last week’s IIFA awards. Tyrone Shi / Reuters
The good doctor peered at my posture as I sat on the stool in front of him, and began the cross-examination with questions that sounded more motherly than medical:
“How often do you exercise?”
“Are you vegetarian?”
“Do you drink milk? And curds?”
With each question my back slumped further (in case you’re wondering why I’m sharing, dear reader, it’s because I know you work your BlackBerrys harder than you work your back muscles).
The husband animatedly listed all my misdemeanours: “She used to be an athlete, you know, but now she exercises only sporadically; she hates milk and curds, she always fights with her mother about this.” You get the drift.
After an examination, the surgeon gave his verdict. He declared my back muscles were shockingly weak (as good as non-existent) and that I would have to a) drink one litre of milk every day b) swim every day c) do a daily, hour and a half of back strengthening physiotherapy for the next three weeks to kick-start my recovery.
My husband even got a new favourite party joke out of that examination.
Wife to doctor: Isn’t there any option to milk?
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Doctor to wife: Yes, actually. Is there a park near your house? Does it have good grass?
(Eager) wife to doctor: Yes, yes.
Doctor to wife: You could eat the grass.
Fast forward to four days later.
“Let’s get her to do neck hanging today,” my physiotherapist tells her colleague as I underwent my painful daily contortions. Luckily, neck hanging has nothing to do with any traction device. It’s a simple enough exercise where you lie on the edge of a bed with your neck hanging off. I swear I read in Cosmopolitan a few years ago that this position enhances the female orgasm.
So, these days I live in a world where computers are villains and electrical machines called K2 and Phyaction make subcutaneous love to my skeletal muscles. It’s a narrow maze of rooms with nearly a dozen beds where angels of mercy gently push/twist your stiff self as you gaze at biology class posters with titles such as Human Spine Disorder and Back…Back to Work. For entertainment, I gaze fixedly through swimming goggles (gifted by the husband) at the silvery patterns the sun forms on the floor of the dinky swimming pool (because, as my physiotherapist says, your neck should not stick out of the pool while doing breast stroke).
These days my world overflows with the goodness of milk (Nestle Slim and Godrej Soya)—a drink that I cut out of my diet at least 15 years ago. Thus far my mother has resisted the “I told you so” conversation (but I know she’s just waiting for my shock to subside).
As you get ready to watch Wimbledon starting 22 June (hell, we even got the sports journalist who’s writing the official Wimbledon blog to write for you), remember not to slouch on the couch; cheer Federer with milk, not Pimm’s; and stay active i.e. play some tennis of your own.
And don’t say I didn’t tell you so.
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