Tomorrow morning, I am supposed to have, as soon as I wake up, some lukewarm water with honey and lemon, a couple of dates, walnuts, almonds, and some sprouts. This is to be followed up after half an hour with three slices of brown bread, some cottage cheese, a whey protein shake, more sprouts, one egg white, and umpteen other things that I would include if I wasn't so dead bored of reading my dietician's sheet.
I had not met a dietician in my life till about two days ago, and the one I met made me wish I'd maintained that status for a much longer time. They are quite a singular category, if they are mostly similar to the one I met. Shrik tells me that dieticians are to be kept at arm's length, and made allusions to a dietician who apparently terrorizes the protagonist in Wodehouse's "The indiscretions of Archie" (which, incidentally, is available online - for FREE!), but even without his advice, there is no way I would talk to a dietician longer than necessary.
To start at the beginning, the Lord said, "Let there be light!" And He saw that the light was good, and... wait, got carried away a bit there. Now where was I... oh, yes, the beginning. It's like this: I have been grossly underweight for the past twenty-five-odd years (apparently I was kind of healthy till my first birthday), and I finally decided to attack the problem head-on. I thus joined a weight-gain programme at a nearby gym... for the fourth time. However, this gym had what all my previous gyms lacked sorely - a dietician.
Feeling pretty much like the guy who has spent the week leading to his appointment with the dentist brushing thrice a day and flossing at traffic lights in the hopes of reducing the effects of three years of dental neglect, I walked into her office, thanking my lucky stars for the recent vacation and the good home-cooked food. Unfortunately, like with the guy meeting the dentist, the effect was microscopic, not to be discerned with the naked eye.
Thankfully, she did not comment, and went straight to the questionnaire, which had questions like "What time do you wake up?" "How many chapatis/slices of bread do you have for lunch?" "What was the average surface area of those chapatis?" and other probing enquiries about my personal life that I have never had the courage to disclose to my closest friends.
Finally, moving to the end of the questionnaire, she asked, "What is your mood when you eat?"
Now this had me stumped. I am used to reading when I eat alone, which is quite often, so I guess it would depend on what book I'm reading at the moment. I tried to explain that my mood had less to do with the food and more to do with the entertainment, unless of course I was having really good south indian food, especially curd rice and -
"Shall I write 'okay'? Your mood is 'okay'?"
My discourse on the subject of mood swings was brought to a grinding halt.
Two days later - today - I was told to pick up my customized diet chart, the gym being all about personal attention given to the customer. I entered her office again.
"Hi... (consulting chart)... Senthil, get on the weighing machine."
Now this was a little unexpected. I had been weighed in for the records a few days back, and here she was, asking me to kick my shoes off and hop on the scales again. Must be for eliminating errors caused by local seismic disturbances, I thought, kicking off my shoes and hopping on the scales.
"So what's the weight?" She asked.
I told her.
A frown creased her features. "It's reduced. Why has it reduced?"
After recovering from the initial shock of seeing a drop in weight after a week of shoveling in mum's food, I reminded her that she was the dietician and that I had joined the gym to find an answer to that very question, and had already spent extravagant amounts of money on it.
"Where is your diary?" She snapped.
"The diary I asked you to bring. You're supposed to write details of what you ate in it."
"I was not asked to bring any diary." Accusations are taken better when made in the passive voice.
"I told you - ah, anyway, write down the list of stuff you ate today."
Another frown. "This is not what I mentioned in your diet."
I agreed with her, saying that she was probably right, and asked her to give me my diet sheet so that I could make a comparison myself.
"But I gave you the diet sheet."
The penny dropped, in both places at the same time.
"You probably have me confused-"
"Ah, I got you mixed up-"
"-with someone else!"
"-with someone else!"
"I'm so sorry, it was another guy, and he looked exactly like you, and he, too, had joined the weight gain programme!"
I remarked coldly that if he had looked exactly like me, he had to have joined the weight gain programme.
"Oh, no, I didn't mean that..." embarrassed silence.
But in the end, she has had the last word. Printed. On the diet sheet.
If the diary she's given me had had a 'remarks' section, I'd mention in it today's dietary observation: Whey protein shakes are made from rotten eggs.