Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

The Weight Factory

“It will be Rs. 5000 per pound, sir.” Garima said trying her hardest to not judge. She had started working in Platinum Gym since last month and she was still adjusting to the environment. Garima had been a fitness freak since childhood and now, she wanted to share her experiences and knowledge with others. More importantly, she wanted to fight against a new phenomenon that had risen in the world.

Three years ago, a new technology was discovered that helped the weight of a person to be removed permanently, without the risks of any surgery, called the Weight Transfer Therapy. Even more, the procedure was harmless and positively healthy for the body. The only catch was that this weight can only be transferred to another body. Several tests were done to see if the weight could be transferred to animal bodies or machines but they failed. It was related to genetic composition of human body and thus could only work through a human body. Even in human body, there were two types — A and B. While type A could give or take the weight from each other, in type B, the therapy only worked between two genetically related people.

“That sounds a little costly mam. Phosita gym takes only half the price.” The man said with a stern look on his face. Garima groaned inside.

“Sir, we are members of the original consortium and the quality of our machines are unparalleled. Additionally, other gyms don’t give the kind of guarantee that we give. In case of reversion, the next one will be free from us. No one gives this kind of service sir.” Garima recited like a robot. She had done this more than she cared to admit. Everyone wanted the new technology, hard work be damned.

The man looked at her with a constipated look on his face. Garima assumed this as his thinking face and waited.

“Ok. I will have a Gemini package.”

‘Really! You want to lose 50 pounds like this.’ Garima thought disgustedly but smiled outwardly.

“Please go to the receptionist and she will take care of the rest of the things.” Garima said and pointed the man to the door. Once he was gone, she looked around at the empty room containing several treadmills, dumbells, exercise cycles and what not. The gym was state of the art. The only thing it lacked was people to use the instruments. It was made a long time ago and now, these machines were more sunk cost than anything else. For every 5 people interested in gymming, 95 people were here for weight transfer therapy.

The people she hated the most were repeat customers. People who would lose the weight through this mechanism and then gained it back in a span of few months to come back again for the same process. The gym would have to find a new person to take on the weight. Although, she was amazed to see how many people were ready to take on the weight. People in need of money, college students in need of quick money and of course, health freaks!

That was something that shocked Garima the most. Many health freaks became Weight carriers. They would take on the weight and then reduce it in the next few months or so and then return for the next job. She found it detesting.

“Garima!” Karan called entering the room.

“Hi Karan.” Garima said blushing slightly. Karan did this to her. With a perfectly chiseled body, Karan was what attracted Garima to Platinum gym. He owned this franchise and would often encourage people to start exercising instead of weight transfer therapy. Unlike Garima, he had some success in converting the people.

Karan had a unique history too. Unlike Garima, Karan was really fat as a kid and had to work really hard to gain the body that he showed off today. Around 5 years ago, he started to get his life back on track and got the amazing body that made Garima drool. After that, he started his own gym until Platinum gym offered him their brand name to create a better facility.

“I have a unique case for you.” Karan said gesturing a girl through the door. The girl was extremely thin and almost starved. If not for her clothes, Garima would have placed her as malnourished due to poverty.

“Hi. My name is Rini.” The girl said smiling uncertainly.

“She is my sister. She has acute anorexia and she wants to become better the traditional way. Please take care of her.” Karan said giving Garima a wink. He left the two girls alone.

“Why are you not using the weight transfer therapy? For once, I see a person who should actually use it.”

“Honestly, I just don’t like it.” Rini smiled and replied tersely.

“It’s good. I hate it too. I think that people should put effort in what they are doing.” Garima replied enthusiastically. She rarely found people who shared her views on the matter. Karan was one and Garima was glad to know that Rini was similar.

“So, how should we start?” Rini asked.

“We will change your diet and have a few exercises to begin with. Once you have gained some weight, we will move towards building your strength. Are there any food preferences you have?” Garima asked. Her mind had already started to swirl with ideas. It was as if someone had started an old machine that had been out of use for a long time. All her knowledge was coming to her in pieces as she thought of the best food groups that would help Rini.

“Umm.. Not really. To be honest, I haven’t eaten in the past few years to know what the food tastes like anymore.” Rini said while checking out a running machine.

“WHAT!” Garima shouted.

“Oh! I thought Karan told you. I used to get the weight transfer therapy to gain weight and then didn’t eat at all to lose it back. I used to take micronutrient pills to get vitamins, iron, calcium etc. It has been years since I have eaten something. Though I do cheat sometimes for coffee- once a month or so.

Garima felt a pang of pity for the girl standing in front of her. She couldn’t believe that someone could do this and she didn’t understand Rini’s motives either.

“Why?” Garima asked.

“Not important. I won’t do it anymore.” Rini said.

“But didn’t Karan stop you? He wouldn’t have let such atrocity in front of him.” Garima said holding Rini’s arms. She realised she had been shaking Rini while asking the question. She immediately released her, embarrassed.

“You like my brother.” Rini said smiling. Garima nodded. She was feeling a little hot around her years and was sure that her cheeks were blushing.

“He is good. He takes care of me a lot. Although its a bit strange that you like him.” Rini said absentmindedly.

“Why?” Garima asked.

“You are so against weight transfer theory and his gym is the biggest factory for that in the city.”

“Yeah but it’s not because he likes it. He can’t fight the customer. He himself however took the pain to make his body like it is now.”

“Yeah. That’s true. He has worked very hard in the past few months.” Rini said.

“You don’t get this body in a few months Rini. He worked for 5 years.” Garima said.

Rini started to laugh.

“You are so naive.” Rini said in between her laughters.

“Why?” Garima asked defiantly.

“Karan has only started working on his body in the past six months. Before that, he was one of the most ardent users of the therapy that you hate so much. In fact, he was one of the first people to use this therapy.” Rini said.

Garima looked at Rini stunned.

“But he told me… Why would he lie?”

“Because he is of type B.” Rini said and winked.

“You! He transferred his weight to you.” Garima said waving her finger at Rini. “But he lost his weight 5 years ago. The technology came only three years back. It doesn’t make any sense.”

“We were the initial test subjects. In fact, Karan and I were the first type B who were found.” Rini said, now weighing her words.

“And let me guess. He was a repeat customer of the weight transfer therapy.” Garima spat.

“Yes, and because I was the only one who could take his weight, I had to stop eating altogether.” Rini said with a little longing on her face.

“He gave you an eating disorder.” Garima said now shaking.

“Hey. Relax. I am sorry I said anything. I didn’t think you would take it this seriously. I joke about it all the time with people close to us.” Rini said, now tense.

“He says he is running a gym but it is like any other weight factory out there. He behaves like he did it all by himself.”

“Well, he has been training since the past six months. Once we found out that I couldn’t continue like this, he really controlled on his food habits. He has really turned his life around.” Rini said.

“How are you so calm about all of this?” Garima asked trying to grasp the whole situation. She was mad at Karan and she was mad at Rini for being so nonchalant about the abuse she had taken.

“He’s my baby brother.” Rini shrugged as if that cleared everything up.