“After marriage, my life was confined to the 4 walls of my house. Every day, I’d wake up, clean and cook for the family. 10 monotonous years went by and every day, I felt like I wasn’t doing anything I loved. So I decided to take music classes for kids at home. But I barely left the house. My health deteriorated; I was so inactive that I put on 25 kgs.
That’s when I joined a gym– I felt happy after so long! I started going every day at 5 AM, so I could get back in time to get the kids ready for school. Over the next 7 months, I lost 24 kgs.
After that, I told my husband I wanted to open my own gym. So we rented a flat and converted it into a mini-gym. I sold my jewellery and we took a loan too. Within the first 4 months, everyone in our neighbourhood had heard about us.
When we realised we needed to expand, we invested in a bigger space. And my body felt better everyday– I became obsessed with the idea of having a six-pack. I made that my new goal– I worked hard and within 8 months, I had a 6 pack and muscles!
I had a new-found confidence– once, a 2-wheeler dashed my car. I was in a saree and at first I didn’t say anything, but then he started abusing me. But when I got out of my car, he saw my body and was mum. I slapped him and told him to never abuse women.
Even media agencies started contacting me for photoshoots. Then the Indian Body Building Federation gave me entry into the bodybuilding world championship– I couldn’t believe it! I started my training.
But 15 days before the championship, my father-in-law passed. So while we were at their house, I was in complete disguise. I wore a salwar to cover my body. There was no time to work out and following a diet became difficult. Non-veg wasn’t allowed inside her house. So one morning, I went all over trying to find someone who’d help me boil eggs. My nephew even snuck me out and helped me go to the gym.
We stayed for a week, after which I told my mom-in-law that I had to go back home to look after the kids. I didn’t want to tell her about the competition because I knew she’d be uncomfortable. I managed to reach Budapest, where the competition was, and won 6th place!
After I even started mountaineering– my husband thought it was risky, but I just told him, ‘Risk toh lena hi padhta hai life mein!’(“In life, we must take risks”) Soon, I followed my passion for music and took up DJing and then took a photography course.
It was simple– I just did everything I loved. So what if I started a little later than usual? At 45, I’m a trainer, a DJ, a mountaineer and a photographer, but most importantly, the happiest version of myself, and that’s really the best advice I can give you– just do whatever the hell makes you happy!”
Story reproduced from Humans of Bombay.