The Day being fat became bad

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to Lusaka Voice (Lusakavoice.com)

Chali sat in his office typing on the computer keyboard.The silence was interrupted by a knock on the door.”Come in” he said,and the door opened revealing a familiar face.”Mwitwa,haven’t seen you in a long time!” “I can say the same about you.” Said Mwitwa reaching out to shake Chali’s hand.”My God you’ve gained weight Chali,you look like Santa Claus came by and dropped you his excess kilos for Christmas!” Then the friends broke out into laughter.Some catching up was done,business was discussed,a deal worked out.

It’s always a pleasure doing business with you” said Chali as he  got up to leave.Suddenly Mwitwa stopped as if remembering something important that he was supposed to say.”Chali when did you last visit the gym or do some exercise?””Why do you ask?” replied Chali looking genuinely puzzled.”Your weight man,you have a serious problem?” “Are you trying to say I’m too fat?” “Exactly answered Mwitwa.”Look,I’m doing good,business is booming,and I’m eating well,so this a sign of good living!” “You won’t live much longer if you keep gaining weight at this pace, and you are not even forty yet.””What do you mean?” “You didn’t hear about my brother Mike?” “No I didn’t.” “Heart attack! He barely survived.I kept telling him to reduce his weight but he was adamant,now look,he almost died!””You know what I think Mwitwa,you spent too much time in Europe  and now you are here doing all these White antics, telling me “reduce your weight,its bad” you want me to stop eating and enjoying the fruits of my labour? What is so bad about being fat anyway,it has it advantages,this pot belly is like a magnet for these young college girls” said Chali patting his protruding belly.”Ok my friend,let me educate you a bit.Do you know that when you become too fat,you weight increases  and do you know what part of your body is responsible for pumping blood to the rest of your body?””My heart?” “Yes ,so by becoming excessively fat,you increase the amount of work your heart has to do pump blood to your body,and it starts getting overworked,that’s why many obese people  get “ma “ high blood pressure and  heart problems! And my brother do you know that the excess fat in your body is not just there for nothing,it becomes a factory for hormones? Female hormones,and this can reduce your performance” Mwitwa said pointing down to Chali’s crotch.Now Chali was looking very worried,”I didn’t know all this.” “That’s not all,when there’s too much fat in your bloodstream it tends to group together and form little plugs that block the passage of blood,now imagine if one of those plugs blocked a blood vessel in your  brain,do you know what that is called?” “No man I’m no doctor!” “It’s called a stroke!” “Hey I have an Uncle who died from one of those!  Are you saying being too fat can cause you to have a stoke?” “Yes.”

“Hey wait a minute” said Chali,”You are not a doctor,how did you find out all of this stuff?” “I read it in a brochure I found when I was on the waiting list at some clinic.” “So if I want to reduce my weight,I should stop eating meat and fatty foods?” “No man there’s no need to starve yourself.” “Thank God” said Chali looking relieved.”Just exercise,even 30 minutes each day,join a gym or something, and exercise doesn’t mean you’ll have to stress your self out,it can be simple things such as walking to work,or to the mall instead of being in that Toyota Camry of yours all the time.” “Thanks a lot Mwitwa” “don’t thank me Chali,thank yourself if you’ll lose a little weight because your family still needs you around,and honestly you are too young to be this fat!” “I get your point.” “Later my friend.”

The weeks that followed were a change of routine for Chali,due to his busy schedule at the office Chali couldn’t join a gym so he found ways of exercising around the block.Though inconsistently he would run laps around the neighbourhood,to the sound of Poppy,the neighbour’s dobberman,barking loudly,each time he passed by their place.the runs were exhausting at first ending with him falling to grass panting like he was about to die,lacking even enough strength to swallow water,but as he continued,each week the jogs became less and less tiresome.Other times when he felt lazy to jog,he did the impossible – a full scale company executive leaving his beloved Toyota Camry new series parked in the yard,and walking to work just like an ordinary labourer.Soon he started to get fanatic,when the office oderly,Mavuto would pass by his office at lunch taking orders about what food to go and buy for who,he was in for a surprise:”Ba mudala,For you should I buy the double fried  Chicken with chips as usual?” “No Mavuto, just pass by Cha cha and get a fresh apple from one of those Street vendors.” Without even thinking Mavuto asked the next question,as if it was a reflex to orders he had received;”Sir,have you eaten already?” “No Mavuto,I just don’t feel like eating heavy today!” Mavuto dropped his jaw in disbelief:”Mhhh,you sir? Mr Chicken and Chips?”Chali laughed out,”things are changing my friend”.

Chali was getting the hang of his weight reduction programme;he would watch  fitness tapes online and work along with them as the music played with people jumping up and down and the instructor shouting ;”One –two –three –four.”  “Chali are you trying to make our living room a fitness club?” came Glady’s voice voice from the kitchen.Gladys was Chali’s wife,and like a fair amount of Zambian women she had landed herself the jackpot in marrying a successful businessman and the years of a sedentary life mixed with a history of two pregnancies and a high class diet had taken its toll on the once shapely former miss Roma Girls beauty : her cheeks were bulging,not to mention her figure,and she could barely pass for the 32 years of age she was.”Honey I’m simply exercising.” Came Chali’s voice “No,take that laptop of yours outside and you can jump up and down all you want,but not in my living room!””Come to think of it Gladys,a little exercise wouldn’t kill you.Just look at yourself!” “What do you mean ‘just look at yourself’ ? are you saying I’m overweight?””I’m not saying you are overweight – you ARE overweight! Newsflash honey!” “Chali,you are a fool,you are sleeping in the sitting room today,and don’t even try to come and knock on my door!” and the argument ended.Chali picked up his laptop,went to the yard and within a few minutes he was back at it again:”Up –sideways – down,Up –sideways –down.” He thought to himself:”I feel great.” Within a few months,Chali stepped on the scale,and could scarcely believe it,he had shed over 15 kilos and he looked at his thin figure in the mirror,”Wow,now there’s a young man,full of energy and vibrance,ready to face the world.”

“Ba mudala how are you feeling?”asked Saulos,Chali’s garden boy “I’m doing great Saulos and how are you?” “I’m ok bosses ,I’m more worried about you.Are you sure you are ok?” “What do you mean,”AM I SURE”?” of course I’m fine!” “But I’m worried bosses” said Saulos looking concerned,you are loosing weight bosses.” “It’s because I’ want to Saulos,I’m trying to live healthy now.” “Ok boss.” “See you later” said Chali as he walked out out of the yard.

“Mr Chilufya is it ok if I come in for a moment?” said Chali’s secretary peeping behind the door.”Why of course Sylvia,come in,what can I do for you?” “My sister is HIV – positive.” “what does that have to do with me?” asked Chal;I looking perplexed.”She was almost dead,thin as a stick, but after she got on ARVs she was back to herself in no time,infact she even picked up some weight.””Sylvia I still don’t understand what any of this has to with me.” “Mr Chilufya I’ve noticed you’ve lost a lot of weight.You’re a good boss and I dopn’t want to see you die.There’s amedication that can help you.” “Are you suggesting that I’m HIV positive?” asked  Chali looking amused.”Sir,I don’t mean any disrespect,I’m just trying to help.” By this time chali couldn’t help himself,he was laughing senseless.”My dear Sylvia,I’m in perfectly good health,I’ve just been exercising so that I can lose some excess weight.” “Oh,I’m so sorry sir” “You’re forgiven Sylvia.”

It had been a long day and the prospect of going straight home to his nagging wife seemed like horror movie,he needed a drink .Chali picked up his Samsung galaxy and nervously called his wife.”Hello Cleopatra…..I’ll be a little late tonight……I’m just going to hang out at the pub a bit……..but Baby it’s Friday!….Ok I’ll be back by eleven.”And he set out to the pub.

The drinks were all over the place,and everyone at the table was already in the excitation stage of Alcohol intoxication.”These are hard times we live in,insn’t that right Chali?”This Mukungo Banda ,one of the regularsat the Bar.”Now how am I supposed to know that?” asked Chali,half drunk,half irritated.”It’s all over the place man,word around is you are going through some tough times.” “Why would someone think that?” “Man,you’re losing weight plus you’ve been seen walking to work….fuel is expensive nowadays.” Said Banda with a silly grin on his face.”Np that’s not true,I’ve just been exercising  and eating a heathy,I WANT to lose weight! I’m not in any crisis for your information.””Sorry man,no need to get your knickers in a twist!” “what did you say?” “You heard me!” The next few seconds passed as if nin the blink of an eye:Chali delivered a right hook straight to Banda’s jaw,Banda crushed straight into the table,and all the beers spilled on the floor…and the evening was dismissed.

“Bashi Chilufya,I need to have a word with you.” “what is it now Cleopatra?” asked Chali.”My mother was here critising me saying I’m not feeding you right,and that you’ve stopped enjoying my cooking.” “What’s the problem?” “It’s this weight loss of yours,Bashi Chilufya we are not in Europe or America,people around are talking:some are saying you have Hiv,others are saying you are broke,others are saying you have too many problems,and you are thinking too much,others are saying you’ve been fired,others  are saying….” “Stoooooop!” shouted Chali “I can’t take it any more,all I wanted to do was to live a  healthy life ut now everyone thinks I’m sick or broke or whatever.,to hell with this weight loss thing!”

It’s present day,A fat man walks into Hungry Chicken Take Away.The waiter asks for the order. “That will be Chicken and Chips  as usual,and please don’t forget the Tomato Sauce.” “Of Ba Mr.Chali,for a regular customer like you,we can’t forget anything!”

 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to Lusaka Voice (Lusakavoice.com)

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