Reading the above headlines, every Powaikar was excited for their own local lad making it to the top pageant held in India for males. I have personally seen Vidur, a chubby cute kid, always in trouble for being naughty, transform into a fit and fabulous young man envied by many. Intrigued, I spoke to him and here’s his story in his own words.
I love food and myself, lived to eat and eat well at that. As I was growing (and I don’t just mean growing up in age but also in weight) people started passing snide remarks at my gluttony. That’s when my ever-fit and energetic Daddu (grandpa) enrolled me in a gym. I wanted to emulate him because he was so able-bodied, even well into his 80s. ‘Guruji’, as he was to his morning walk buddies, was the oldest in that circle and an inspiration to young and old as he gelled well with all. That’s how I started thinking and studying about fitness and health. What is good for the body? How do certain food items react to our bodies? Through mere trail n error, without any guidance or training, I achieved my physique. I didn’t aspire for huge biceps/triceps. I just wanted to be a better version of myself and finally after a year of persistent hard work, I saw amazing results. My family was dead against me taking artificial supplements. My counter-arguments of nothing today being natural, not even bananas didn’t cut any ice with my stubborn Mom. But she did motivate me and kept me on track. So from a foodie I came down to washing/wiping the masala off food before eating to avoid grease. Today I love everything natural without many spices.
It was around this time that a friend told me about the Mr. India contest. He thought I was perfect for it so I browsed the net to give it a try since I was off my ship. I wanted to utilise my break time well although I had no interest in pageants. But a crazy mood took charge and I applied without consulting my family. Soon the rounds began; height, body, question-answers.. They took 45 days to revert. I worried I hadn’t cut the grade.
A week before the final contest, I got a call that I was selected as the Wild Card Entry. In total shock, I started inquiring about how these things function. I received training and guidance in terms of grooming, walking the ramp, entry and exit from stage etc...Days merged into one other. All that I did in those 4 days in Goa was wear outfit after outfit and pose for pictures.
I bagged the title of Mr. Personality and won a beautiful trophy. I was elated to know the judges were impressed by my overall persona. I cherished every moment of those days where I was exposed to a world totally alien to me. The media was curious about me because I stood out in that group due to my professional background. My primary career is as a merchant navy officer. But I don’t mind having this as Plan B because it’s not just about looking but also feeling good. My life on the ship is not easy because I’m away for months and constantly miss my family and friends. That’s the only drawback of my job but every mariner faces this. Our social life is not all that great. We’re isolated and feel disconnected. I chose this line because a family member I admire was in the marine fraternity. Life on a tanker is tough and I’ve had to slog yet I wouldn’t change my adventures on the high seas for anything.
My hobbies encompass being fit not just gymming or doing weights etc. I love running despite the maniacs on the road. On board despite a busy schedule, I find at least 20-30 minutes for a brisk walk on the treadmill or a few push-ups. I need some physical activity in addition to that on board so I make time for myself to make a mind-body connection, a signal to the muscle that I’m giving them some kind of pump or activity to keep the blood flowing. Working out refreshes me, improves my mood, relieving stress. I enjoy it so much that I find time for it even on vacation.
My dad encourages me to do the impossible. It’s my life’s motto. I love adventure and water sports, bungee jumping, jet skiing, para-sailing and the rush of adrenaline. Robert Frost’s lines keep me going,
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.