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My Turn: Sounds of silence answer prayer at the gym

It is 4:30 a.m. You can hear a pin drop. I had waited for this day forever. Finally, it has arrived.

Most things about the luxury condo building where we bought a unit in August are frosting on the cake for me — totally unnecessary for my happiness because in my lexicon, joy is not spelled L-U-X-E.

For one thing, a luxe lifestyle costs extra. But this luxury is a package deal. A ton of amenities come with Lido Beach Towers, a landmark building erected in the 1920s. Until 1982, it was a high-end hotel.

And as much as I profess not to be pro-luxury, I had dreamed of an on-site gym. And though I know that prayer is often a wasted effort, I had prayed for a quiet gym, where the only sound is from the machines.

Since the gym is not my favorite place, it’s important that at least it be quiet. The quiet lets my thoughts flow freely: A writing idea is born, a problem that has been nagging at me is blessed with a solution that I can implement, etc. The sweetest spots of life, too — desserts and other guilty pleasures — are worth every drop that I sweat every morning for 50 minutes.

I had begged the attendant at my old gym to lower the volume on the music dial only to be told that it was corporate policy to have the music at a certain level. (Ideally, I wanted total silence. At 5 a.m. loud music sounds unwholesome to me, especially because, at a sports club, mental and physical heath are the goal.) Mentally, I was going crazy hearing that so-called music. To my ears it sounded like loud banging and repetitive screeching and screaming, as if multiple people were being stabbed multiple times in the ether. The attendant tried to be considerate, at times lowering the volume. Nevertheless, on the frequent days when his mood was off, I’d have to wear earplugs, which did not suffice.

So the fact that I can hear a pin drop at this gym is a prayer answered.

Another benefit of this gym — hallelujah! — is that I have my own key. No more dealing with angst-ridden employees who, precisely at opening time, invariably choose to make patrons wait outside regardless of how brutal the weather is so they can sip water from the fountain or fold the remaining five towels.

For now, my gym is a sanctuary. It’s just me and the machines (how much had I fantasized about such a day!). I know nothing stays great forever — the silent and darkened TV sets could light up any day. In the meantime, I will enjoy this gift from heaven, an answer to my prayers.

Rohini B. Ramanathan,


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