" THE MAN"…in the gym – Tikhe Sir

“The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.” says Baseball star James Rollins. A gym is a sacred place for every athlete. It’s a place where they work towards their dreams. Pushing their bodies beyond limitations, dreaming dreams when they lie down on the ground dead tired.  There are two kinds of gyms. One where men work relentlessly towards goals and second where it’s just a style statement. I have been to so called classy gyms though I have always been let down, may be I’m that worked up about it because I belong to the first category. I think if you go to the gym thinking it is about wearing expensive sport outfits,  the so called cool crowd, music, air conditioning, treadmills with television so on and so forth, you have completely lost the point.  A gym is a place of heavy iron,of getting a good body, it’s about immense concentration. You need to have proper co ordination of breathing while lifting weights and a right posture to get the best results.  When someone with real purpose enters the gym you don’t see him fooling around, he’s so focused that people around automatically stay away from him.

If you have read stories of athletes you will see that most of them build up their own gyms. If you have read Agassi’s Open he mentions a gym that his trainer exclusively makes for his specific needs in his own garage. Athletes choose to work out alone, and more so when they are as big as Agassi or Nadal. There’s just no room for distraction. The other most important component of a gym is the trainer. A good trainer can do wonders to a athlete’s career. After a certain stage it’s the trainer who makes most of the impact on your game sometimes even more than the coach. I have always felt that when a athlete is getting his medal on the podium he should be allowed to take his trainer with him too. They just deserve as much respect as the player does.  One such trainer that I want to write about today is Tikhe Sir.

I don’t train under him. Though he is one of the most important man in the P.D.M.B.A gym.  He has been working here for the last 25 years. Tikhe sir has a daunting personality.  At 60 years of age and 5.7 m he has a really well built body. A big chest, strong arms and a strong core. He doesn’t have too much hair on his head but he isn’t exactly a baldy either. He wears a tikka on his forehead which immensely adds up to his new students being all the more petrified of him.  Most men who look immensely strong outside and are softies inside, well Tikhe sir is just like them. He might yell at you, pick on you, make fun of you in front of all the pretty ladies but he will also make sure you get exactly the kind of results you want.

Tikhe sirs story is a unique one. I feel though he is a man dealing with muscle he is also a saint. At a very young age he realised he was a little different from his siblings. He was a ardent follower of hanuman ji and when children his age ate lollypop he would be doing push ups in front of Hanumanji’s photo. He wanted to be as strong as him. When he was in his 20s he had decided that he would follow brahmacharya all his life.  Though he had to start earning money. So he joined Dr.Sarangpani in his clinic. He learnt as much as he could from the doctor and would help out all his patients with their exercises.  At that time he did not have a house to live in, when he reached his 30th year he had become a follower of a Yogi who had a math(something like a ashram) in Pune he started living with him in that math, and still lives there. In his mid 30s he became a trainer in now P.D.M.B.A then called chaitanya.

Tikhe sir says that 80% of trainers working in the gym were his students. He has trained the likes of Vinod Kamble, Shriram  Lagoo and so on. He says, “Right from the start I never have worked for money. I work for only one thing that is to get a smile on my clients face. That is my wealth. The satisfaction that I get by getting clients rid of their weaknesses is priceless.” I ask him, does he have friends, he says, ” Ofcourse, I do. I may not be rich but I am pretty rich in terms of friendships. Though I do hang out more with younger people. As the people my age are constantly sulking about their daughter in laws, wives, the increasing costs of medicines. I find it immensely boring.”  I ask him about his bachelorhood, I mean how can a man live without a woman. He gives me a mischievous smile, ” Kay ga tu, aditi? Now what’s the point discussing it.” I tell him that if he wants I can still hook him up with someone. He laughs and hits a tapli on my head. ” Its not that easy. When I was younger all my fellow trainers got married to their students. I could never even look at a girl. I am a Maruti Man. Yes, girls used to ask me to come out with them though I used to scare them off with my muscles.” and he bursts out laughing, I join in. “I have dedicated my life to god and helping people overcome pain and fear. I am happy.”

What a man! He did push ups at the age of ten, decided to live without a woman at 20, made fitness his profession and started living in a yogis ashram when he was 30.  He knows no songs other than bhajans and the last movie he saw was deewar and he didnt like Mr. Bachhan much.

Tikhe sir has people from the age of 65 to 15 training under him. He has students who earn 5000 Rs per month to a student who owns a Harley davidson.  One of the richest and the strongest guys  in the gym once told me, ” You know Aditi, I have my own gym at my place. But I keep coming back to this guy. Till I don’t hear his nagging my day just doesn’t pass by. When I was younger I would waste time doing all the wrong things. My parents forced me to join him and he made a GOOD MAN out of me. I dont believe in GOD but I believe in TIKHE SIR.” A gym is not just about the machines its about the man who teaches you to use them.

I love to hear stories of people.  Discovering people is one of my favourite hobbies, and having people like Tikhe Sir around always brings a smile on my face.

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