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My New Year Resolution

This is the story of my New Year Resolution for last year. Unfortunately it ended just like my other resolutions, every year, a flash in the pan. For the weak hearted, please don’t read further, it might de-motivate you…

Now that the strong hearted have continued, let me take you on my journey.

Has anyone heard about Otonamaki? Well, I did. And was intrigued.

For the uninitiated, Otonamaki is adult wrapping, made famous in Japan. It is similar to the wrapping of new borns and involves wrapping of adults in a huge piece of cloth for about 20 minutes. It is said to reduce body aches, making your joints more flexible and gives you a secure feeling. Or so said the Japanese.

So when I heard that Otonamaki has been introduced in India, I decided to try it as part of my New Year Resolution.

I think I work worse than the Japanese (or so I like to think), and I really needed to de-stress. Someone does Yoga while some practice meditation to de-stress. I decided to Otonamaki.

The Otonamaki studio opened in a mall near us and became an instant attraction for the denizens of Thane.

Everyone made a beeline for the mall in the weekend and I too joined the serpentine queue outside the studio. After all I really wanted to treat my tired joints to this elixir of a therapy. After waiting patiently for two hours I was standing before the peacock blue clad Japanese receptionist.

I was wearing very comfortable track suit since I had seen some Japanese Otonamaki YouTube videos.

The receptionist looked at me from head to toe, and asked in shuddh Hindi, “kahiye, main apki kya seva kar sakti hun?”. Surprised with her Hindi diction, I blurted out “Otonamaki!”.

Giving me the sweetest smile she said, “padhariye”, and I was escorted inside. It was quite dark, the passage lined with candles. As my eyes adjusted to the candlelight, I entered a room where I saw another customer, a portly man , with his round stomach accentuated by the tight t-shirt he was wearing. He was a funny sight.

There were four Japanese males , typically slim and trim, wearing pure white cotton pyjamas and loose shirt.

Myself and the portly gentleman were asked to sit on the cotton mats, facing each other, on separate pieces of clean white cotton cloths. I was sitting comfortably, with my legs crossed, and we were asked to close our eyes and breathe deeply. Then one of the attendants proceeded to explain the process of Otonamaki to make us feel comfortable.

“Okayyy, now we will start” said the attendant in his nasal, Japanese accent. “Open your eyes now”.

Two attendants were standing near me and two near the portly man. One attendant lifted the cloth from behind me, took it over my head, and handed over two corners to the attendant sitting in front of me. He proceeded to tie a knot, in front of my nose. He held both my hands and crossed them on my chest and was asked to lower myself on my back. Then he asked me to lift my legs, bend them at the knees and push them towards my stomach.

Suddenly a thunder was heard in the room, a thunder usually related to heavy eating, I could visualise the portly man put through the same contortions of the body as myself. I couldn’t reach my fingers to my nose…

The other end of the white cloth was wrapped around and tied up and I found myself locked inside. This was to be my situation for the next 15-20 minutes.

After an eternity, which was actually only 5 minutes, I could hear the portly man screaming to be let free, but in a very calm voice, the attendant was dissuading him in firm tones.

The attendants then asked us to rock ourselves on our backs, which I did. After 10 minutes I started feeling claustrophobic since I could see nothing but the white cloth around me. Believe me it was a very frightening experience.

After 15 minutes, both of us were let out of our white prison, but the portly gentleman was frozen in that embryonic pose. How I wished to have my mobile camera to click a unique photo. I helped to straighten him and both of us stumbled out of the Otonamaki studio. I don’t know whether we were walking straight or not, but I could see some people chuckling as we went past them.

I don’t know about stress relief, but next day I had to skip office to help recover my joints from the circus performance of the previous day. Hats off to the Japanese for having thought of putting non-flexible adults into baby pyrotechnics.

After that experience, I never stepped back into that Otona whatever maki studio again. Last heard, the studio had closed down due to zilch patronage from non flexible Indians.

Thus ended my New Year Resolution.

Yatindra Tawde

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