City Life – Unique Gym, Kucha Tarachand
Sweating for the body.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This is a large room with no window. The air smells of salty sweat. The walls are painted orange and purple. Stairs go up to a smaller floor area visible from below. The Delhi Walla can hear grunting sounds coming from there. Weight sets and dumbbells are lying on the ground floor.
Unlike the gyms of upscale Defence Colony and Hauz Khas Village, there are not many air-conditioners in Unique Gym, a health club in Old Delhi’s Daryaganj. It is located in such a narrow street (Kucha Tarachand) that the gym has to display a notice saying, “No parking facility for gym members.” There is also no shower facility. The gym has 300 members but no girls among them. The members, at least those in the evening shift, are not wearing branded tracksuits or expensive sport shoes. Most are barefoot. Their muscles, however, are as well toned as any disciplined exercise freak. At the moment they all are focused on the job.
One is lifting a dumb bell. One is doing push ups. One is busy with squats. One is working out with barbell curls.
The spindly looking Mr Salim, 17, takes off his green T-shirt to show a six-pack chest. “Till a few months ago I weighed 125 kg,” he says. Friends in Nabi Karim, his neighbourhood in Paharganj, would tease him. No girl would come near him. Finally, he joined this gym. “This was the best place to build your dolas (muscles). Guruji is famous and has been a champion,” he says referring to Shiv Kumar, the gym instructor and four-time winner of Mr India Body-building championship (2001, 2004, 2005, 2006). Mr Kumar’s videos can be seen on Youtube. The boys look to him as their hero. “Guruji is very honest. He never shy from giving tips,” says Mr Salim.
Has six-packs got him a girl friend? “I tried making one but she refused.”
The 24-year-old Deepanshu Tanwar is sweating so much that his soaked T-shirt is dripping wet. He has been exercising regularly for three years for professional reasons. “I’m a coach in a gym in Sadar Bazaar and I need a fit body.”
Perhaps the most chiseled body in the gym is that of 25-year-old Shiv Kumar Rana who is exercising upstairs. For six months this man with movie star looks has been coming from faraway Azadpur in north Delhi. “First I take the Metro to New Delhi railway station and than I board the 753 blueline.” A bodyguard by profession, Mr Rana says, “I’m not here to impress anyone. I don’t want to win any championship. I just want to keep exercising. It’s a prerna (inspiration) from Guruji.” Mr Rana’s admirers standing around him nods in approval. Determined to work hard to get a body like him, they go back to focus on their chests and muscles.
Monthly fee Rs 300 Where 3254, Kucha Tarachand, Daryaganj
Mr Salim’s six-pack abs
Mr Tanwar’s ‘dolas’
Don’t mess with us
Yes, you can
The top draw, Mr Rana
On the way
It will happen
… 11, 12, 13, 14, 15… 31, 32…
Where’s my inspiration?
Guru Shiv Kumar and ‘disciples’
Congratulations for the new website.
Kaya cheez ho yaar, kahan kahan se story pakadte ho dost.
Yeah, saw an air con in the ‘soaking wet’ pic………..so factually not correct, technically may be correct (not switched on).
May be they are saving money on electricity ,rise in cost and inflation…..
Great story ….and it is too cheap….. and it does produces results…..
oh wow! 300 bucks for a gym! that’s really awesome! my brother goes to one that charges 400 bucks. he knows all his exercises and has been gymming since he was in class seven, so he says there’s no point wasting money on an expensive gym. plus guys can really do anything, anywhere.
i too joined a gym about a fortnight ago. main purpose is to lose weight. i’ve managed to lose about two kgs, the healthy way. i’ve controlled my diet too.
these guys all look very dedicated. you never really know who’s taking steroids, but i must congratulate the owner/trainer of the gym. he’s managed to gather quite a fan following!
thanks for the lovely post. it could not have come at a better time. 🙂
a suggestion, maybe you could increase the size of the font of your comments. i find it too tiny! difficult to read you see. one can always increase the size by adjusting the browser settings, but then the rest of the fonts become too large.
The spindly looking Mr Salim, 17, takes off his green T-shirt to show a six-pack chest.
is that six pack chest…
and Congratulations for the new site..
Change is good monseigneur..
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