Popping Pills to Pumping Iron

Dipankar's Guha's Fitness Odyssey 

A regal air, chipper countenance and an agile physique , Dipankar Guha, a retired government officer,  doesn't lack any sign of zest. Behind this infectious zest for life, lies the story of a 67- year old cancer survivor,  who has negotiated painful day-long sessions of chemotherapies, defied thoughts of giving up, engineered new ideas to live, and tasted success and at times its bitter nemesis, but carried on. In a tete-e-tete with Daily Hunt, Mr Guha, also a disaster management scholar, gives us  a glimpse into his breath-taking chemo-to-dumbell  journey. 

Q. What keeps you motivated post retirement keeping in view your zest for fitness ?

Ans : I'm a fitness enthusiast.  One can construe that as 'freak' also. In a nutshell,  fitness for me  is the state of being physically fit and healthy. Fitness is a broad term that means something different to each person but it refers to your own optimal health and overall well being.  I think being fit not only means looking slim or muscular but also reflection of emotional and mental  quotient . I also do yoga because in conjunction with resistance training, it's a surefire road to robust well-being.

Q.Don't you feel you are a late starter? Should you have made strides during your youth?

Ans : No, I have never really felt that way. In fact in my youth there was no such concept of gym. But still I used to do lot of push and pull workouts to propel my fitness and strength. Having lived a disciplined life peppered with balanced diet and decent dose of brisk walking, it has helped me combat  the malady called Lymphoma. For a senior citizen, squeezing out an hour in a day is not a great feat. A medley of physical health and mental alertness is the key  to improving mortality among  senior citizens.

Q. What are your goals in shorter and longer terms, respectively ?

Ans : Looking at shorter-term goal I forsee myself being consistent with my workout and diet regimes. For longer term objective, I harbor a desire to participate in various bodybuilding championships in my weight and age category. The desire, if compounded by hard work , can translate into reality . Just that my health and body have to aid the endevour at this age.

 Q. Narate in short how the journey has been from being cancer impacted to surviving the disease to now being as fit as a fiddle?

Ans : When I was diagnosed with cancer I was never depressed. I fought it valiantly and merged triumphant. After a hiatus of  a few months of rest,  I stood up to my goal of leading zeal-filled life. I started to working out because it made me happy. This isn't from the celluloid  but believe me I'm not afraid of death. The news  of my illness was sudden and hence left my family utterly dejected. But I never went down under. Today , my family and friends embrace my modus-vivendi.

5) How are you keeping up with your workout regime in the wake of pandemic?

Ans : My son and I have  together set up a home gym in our basement.  Also because commercial gyms are not operational right now and we don't see it de-shutter  for a long time. I needed to continue my tryst with iron albeit in a safe zone in the wake of pandemic.

6)What is your advice for the youth so much taken in by fitness mania?

Ans. I would advise all of them to lift and get strong. Being weak is inviting illness. Being sedentary is inviting lifestyle diseases. Today I hear and see people half my age in the throes of lifestyle related ailments like hypertension, diabeties and hypothyroidism , among others.  What hurts you today (read exercise) makes you stronger tomorrow.


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