Ep08: When Zumba helped my soul and pre-workout cleansing helped my skin

  • Time 4 min
  • Date August 20, 2020

"I began tying my hair away from my face. No way was I going to let a guy give me a zit."

I was spent! I felt lighter after my venting which had been an hour-long monologue. “Why did you give him my details?”, I fumed at Shams. Her sympathetic silence instantly turned to annoyance, “Do you think I would do something like that? Really?”

I apologised before it blew up. “He must have picked it up from your conversation,” Becca suggested. When I refused, Shams laughed, “Maybe Samar has some magical powers… though I doubt it.” Through narrowed eyes, I said, “Oh, yeah! The power of turning people off.” Shams, sniggered, “Poor Samar… between you and your colleagues, he has acquired the distinguished reputation of being charmless with questionable virility.”  Becca was amused, but seeing my irritation, she wisely controlled her laughter.

The music signalled the beginning of Zumba class. As Shams rushed to leave, I called out, “Hey… wait for me. Just need a moment.” A testy Shams spat out, “Kya yaar? You do this pre-workout routine every single time. One day won’t really matter”.

Of course, it mattered… every single time. It is common knowledge that haircare formulas + sweat + makeup is a recipe for clogged pores and breakouts on the forehead. I shuddered as I pulled out my headband and began tying my hair away from my face. Becca looked torn between me and an impatient Shams.

Everything that day kept boiling down to Samar. No way was I going to let that guy give me a zit. “Go on ahead… I’ll join,” I said.

Shams left. Becca dithered and looking into the mirror, she joined me in my pre-workout skincare routine.  Good for her! We began by removing our makeup using a cleansing balm, something I never forget.


“Thank you for the lovely flowers, but they don’t make up for a disappointing night.”

Becca looked at me in the mirror as she swiped off her makeup and asked, “Megs… you think Shams really likes Samar… I mean ‘really’?” I did not bat an eyelid, “I don’t think so, at all. She has better taste. And I would know if…”  Oops… wrong thing to say. Rebecca often felt like the third cog in the wheel…. having joined our squad rather late. Apologising for my rude comment, I gave her a hug as ‘Mad Love’ by Mabel began playing out loud.

Some thirty minutes into our sweat session, ‘Fever’ began to fade away and we had a water break, one that I wholly endorse. Keeping yourself hydrated during exercise is super important.

As I guzzled down water, I cringed to see a woman constantly touching her face to dry it. Ugh! Gyms are breeding ground for bacteria and touching your face after touching the equipment transfers bacteria onto the skin, causing acne. Yikes! I itched to go tell her that, but just then the music began. End of break.

We had just begun when, in the middle of a step, Becca whispered, “Megha, how about you send Samar a bouquet at his workplace with a note — Thank you for the lovely flowers, but they don’t make up for a disappointing night. Hope last night was an aberration. Love, Megs.” She made it sound so funny that I almost tripped. We both began to laugh. Shams managed to control hers.

Becca had killed Zumba for me for that day — I couldn’t get the image of a stunned Samar out of my head. And to think of the glances. It was tough to gyrate to the beats with such thoughts in my mind. When Zumba was finally over, I was totally out of breath.

I was still cracking up as I began my post-workout cleansing on auto-pilot. This ritual was just as sacrosanct as the earlier one. Gentle cleansing of the grime + a quick shower to bring the body temperature back to normal.

Though Becca’s delectable idea had already brought down my body temperature. Shams labelled it as childish and Becca gave a discreet cough… indicating this was a sign that Shams was into Samar. I walked away to shower — had to wash away the toxins released during the workout which cause acne on the back. Not today, bacne!

As we walked out, Becca left for her date and Shams and I walked home, I asked her about her feelings for Samar upfront. She laughed as she said, “Have you ever seen me interested in any man?”. And the next moment, we both cracked up at how outrageously crass that had sounded. As we parted ways, I smiled thinking about what an insane day it had been.

Megha’s rigorous pre and post workout skincare routines:

  • Pre — tie your hair up and remove all makeup
  • During — drink water; don’t touch your face
  • Post — wash your face with a gentle cleanser; take a shower and change into fresh clothes