Hearty laugh over top cop’s anecdotes

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Flaunting a lithe physique at 50, ADGP Sylendra Babu , the police force’s poster-boy for physical fitness had his audience of medicos and doctors in splits with his unabashed views on the average Indian’s idea of nutrition and exercise—his pot-bellied colleagues included.

“In our state, the problem starts with the parents who stuff their children with food until they become round like pumpkins; only then are they satisfied that their kids are healthy.

Even my mother did the same — every time I meet her, she complains that I look weak and thin,” he says, pointing out that obesity is considered a sign of prosperity and power here.

“I had a fat, burly support officer who would accompany me to the functions I had to attend as chief guest.

In most places, the hosts would roll out the red carpet for my PSO, ushering him onto the stage, because they expect a top cop to be a heavyweight, literally,” he joked.

Lamenting that school children today did not get nearly enough physical exercise, the IPS Officer recalled a ‘Sports Day’ event at a reputed school he was invited to.

“The first ‘event’ was a Bharathanatyam performance, followed by a western dance, followed by a solo dance, and then came another ‘break’ dance.

I was annoyed, and asked the principal when the ‘sports’ would start. Immediately, they organised a race — they gave the students spoons and lemons, and had a lime-and-spoon race,” he quipped.

Speaking passionately about the importance of exercise, Sylendra Babu urged the young medicos and school students gathered for world heart day celebrations at Madras Medical Mission, to buy a pair of track pants and some good shoes, and start jogging everyday.

“Physical exercise is not only good for your body and your heart; but keeps your mind fit as well. When you exercise, your body produces ‘happy hormones’ called endorphins that will give you immense pleasure — exercise can be more pleasurable than even sex, or good food,” Sylendra Babu stressed.

“Every weekend, I get on my bicycle and cycle a distance of 75 kilometers from Madhya Kailash down ECR.

The idea of exercise is not new to Chennaiites; I see dozens of men wearing lungis and rubber chappals, and women in nighties going for morning walks everyday.

And after the 15-minute stroll, they go and binge on greasy Pongal-vada, probably to make up for the calories lost.

There is no use in exercising if one is not passionate about it — if you are serious about getting in good shape, dress appropriately for your work-out and run at least one mile a day — your heart will thank you for it,” he emphasised.

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