We used to have this mass drill routine that we did as part of our Physical Education [PE] in our school days. Every day after Assembly in the school Auditorium, we jumped and threw our arms and legs around to the rhythmic whistle of our PE Instructor. It was part of our curriculum, aimed at building up the body with the brains. All round development and all that. That was then….
Times, they are a-changing, if I understand the scene right. Today, a more curved development seems to be the focus of some. The “Health and Physical Education” text book by Dr. V K Sharma, followed in some CBSE schools in Delhi, advises its 12th grade girl students to strive for those dream numbers – 36-24-36. And the writer encourages those young impressionable lasses towards those numbers by stating that “these are the best figures, appreciated by judges of beauty contests like Miss World and Miss Universe”
These curvaceous chapters have been on the school scene for some time I gather, but they recently went viral on social media and were ’roundly’ trolled by the Twitterati, for planting inappropriate and misleading ideas in the young minds. Though the figures have since been struck off by the publishers, the revised edition just replaces them with ‘Hourglass figure’. Persistent aren’t they!
And in an ensuing paragraph of the same chapter, the boy students have been advised to go for the V-shaped figure! And what’s that you ask? Broad shoulders and narrow hips, I suspect, from the shape of it!! Well, Well.. What next? A chapter on ‘rippling biceps’? Another maybe on X-shaped physique? And how about including a section on different kinds of ‘packs’ – mud, fruit and organic face packs for the girls; 4, 6 and 8-pack abs for the guys?
While one recognizes the impact all this would have on the minds of the young 16-17 year olds; I, on the other hand, am more interested in the effect it ought to have on the PE Instructors themselves. If “Practice what you Preach” is the mantra teachers are expected to adopt, then we should see all school sports coaches rushing towards the nearest Gym before its Back-To-School every June.
I am so looking forward to an Assembly line of Barbie dolls and Johnny Bravos in the coming years. However, the author [bless his figure ….I mean, his soul], having said this much, in further chapters, is quite pessimistic. He warns the students that those “vital statistics do not come up by chance and perfect body shape can be attained only by regular exercise”. So all you wannabe Barbies – those dangerous curves are just some push ups away. However, before our girls get into their leotards, there’s sad news for those dreaming of holding the Olympic torch aloft. Brace yourselves dearies – because whether it’s an hourglass figure or an alarm clock figure, the learned author “does not believe women can ever be good athletes because their body shapes do not allow for it’! Uhoh…. the chap has obviously not heard of P. T. Usha, Sania Mirza, Mary Kom and the others!!
Well anyway, these priceless gems of information might not be in circulation much longer, because the last I heard, an FIR has been lodged against the publisher for misrepresenting the syllabus and on some other charges. Not to worry though. Both the publisher and the author, by virtue of being men and therefore, good athletes, well, they should be able to high jump, long jump or pole vault away from any enquiries and investigations!
Stay healthy. Stay shapely!
Johny Bravo….. Those biceps!!!! And the V-shape!!!