At the Gym

Designer derrieres

And sculpted six-packs

Designer track suits

And funky shoes

Designer keto shakes

And salads and bakes


Hunks who could strut into

A wrestling rink

And girls who could walk

On any ramp


And then the four or five of us

Desperately battling mid-life bulges

Sagging muscles

Unruly paunches


As if that were not enough

I had to overhear this yesterday:
One PYT to another:

‘All the uncles and aunties in my office

Are damn inspired by me, yaar

They all want to start coming to the gym

You know, all those 35-year old ancients.’


And I picked up

My 55-year old face and muscles

And slunk out.


-Meena Raghunathan

P.S: written a few years ago!

Writing Poetry

The only other time

Ever I wrote poetry

Was when I was fifteen


And pretty awful poetry it was

Generally whiny and confused

Written in a fit of anger

Against the world (as personified by my mother or teacher)

Or from the depths of despondency

(After a ‘I’ll never talk to you’ fight with a best friend)


Never did it rhyme

Have a spark of originality

Or rhythm

Or any redeeming grace


Now that I am fifty five (plus!)

I find myself writing poetry again

As awful as before

As whiny and confused

As graceless—if slightly better spelt!


Second childhood I have heard of,

But why did no one warn me

That adolescence and the mid-life crisis

Have so much in common?