Sandy’s Goal

He was a stubborn guy.

Case in point, his name — he was actually named Sandeep in honor of his grandfather but he preferred the nickname his friends gave him — Sandy. He liked it as much as he loathed his given name.

He was not a very intelligent guy but he usually achieved his goals by being very persistent. If he wanted something, he’d work himself to the bone to get it. There were faster ways to get it, sure, but he liked to stick to his strengths.

Two months ago, he’d set himself a ‘goal’ of losing ten kilos in three months. Complicating matters slightly was the fact that he was not willing to follow any kind of diet. He ate what he wanted, when he wanted it, without a thought as to how it would affect his body.

So, rather than taking the smart route of maintaining a proper diet with some exercise, he’d slogged himself sick — waking up at five in the morning every day, going for a five kilometer run and then repeating the run before dinner every night!

It had not been easy but he always believed things not achieved easily were worth more than those that were. He’d set a target of three months to achieve the weight loss goal. Right now though, he was very happy because he’d achieved his goal in two!

Never mind the fact that he didn’t need to lose weight! He wanted to prove something to himself. He had a habit of setting unreasonable goals for himself. Now, he looked like a half-dead goat — all bones with not a pinch of fat anywhere on his body! But he was happy.

He was staring at his weight being displayed on the scale, and he was happy. He’d just completed a ten kilometer run after two months of going half the distance! He was huffing and puffing after the tiring run, he was short of breath, his legs were burning with exhaustion, he could feel his heart beating so loud that he thought any passerby could hear it too, but he was happy.

A moment later, he was not happy anymore. He felt a pinching sensation in his abdomen, it felt like something was piercing his liver (or was it his right lung?) with a long needle, and before he could think any further, he collapsed.

He fell sideways, his right shoulder brushing the edge of the treadmill next to the weight scale. He was lucky it wasn’t his head hitting something!

In a minute, there were hands on him, trying to help him up. His legs couldn’t support his body’s weight, so the people trying to help him lifted him up onto a stretcher. The last thing he felt was the stretcher being moved to the right for a few meters and then to the left.

He woke up so slowly that he could actually hear each new sound entering his mind as it regained consciousness. He heard the beeping of a heart monitor, the hum of the air conditioning, the murmurs of people talking about something hurriedly and someone sobbing softly in the corner.

The sobbing was what grabbed his attention. Where had he heard that sound before? That was his elder sister, Sneha! He’d heard her crying many times in the past, back when they were teenagers, mostly when he’d hide her favorite stuff and not give them back.

He’d been awake for fifteen minutes before he decided to open his eyes. And what he saw scared a few years out of his lifespan!

His skin was wrinkled all over! It was not just some fat. He could see his arms and they were flopping listlessly on the bed, the slight movement making all the flab on them jiggle and wrinkle. It was disgusting! How did this happen?

“Oh Sandeep! You’re awake! Why did you have to be so stubborn?”, his sister cried.

“What happened? I don’t understand.”, he asked, or tried to, because all that came out of his throat was a series of coughs. He tried repeating it but he couldn’t speak. It felt like his throat was on fire!

“You have been in a coma for almost a year, Sandeep! You lost so much weight that your body couldn’t support itself. By the time they brought you to the hospital from the gym in your apartment, you’d entered a coma. The doctors told me that it was your body trying to save itself.”

He couldn’t speak yet, but she seemed to understand what was going on through his mind. “They had to pump nutrients into your body through tubes. And since there was no physical activity or exercise, your skin started shriveling and fat deposits gathered in unlikely places. Don’t worry! The doctor said that as soon as you wake up and start living healthy, your skin will become normal. You’ll need to adhere to a strict diet and exercise regime though. No overdoing it!”, she continued.

Unaware of his mounting horror, or maybe not caring for his comfort after he’d so carelessly destroyed his health, Sneha went on, “I’d almost lost hope that you’d come out of that coma! As soon as you are discharged, you will move in with me so that I can keep an eye on you. I’ve had enough of your bull-headedness! What did you think you were doing? You looked worse than Christian Bale in ‘The Machinist’!”

In between his bouts of panic at having to live with his sister (and her ‘rules’), he felt happy that he was being compared to one of his favorite actors! Unfortunately, he forgot that his sister had gotten up from the sofa in the corner and was standing right next to his bed. So, she could see the tiny smile on his face immediately.

“Idiot! You nearly died! You made my hair turn gray years before it should! And while I’m trying to explain your idiocy to you, all you can do is smile at being compared to Batman!”

She didn’t stop there, even though he’d stopped smiling, “How do I get it into your thick skull that life is not all fun? You’re such an irresponsible boy!”

Sneha turned her attention from the ceiling that she’d been shouting at, back to his face to make sure that he was paying attention, and noticed that he’d drifted off into sleep!

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