“I am basically a science enthusiast who is into strength training.
I enjoyed arm-wrestling my friends in my childhood to show off my physical strength, which isn’t great by any means (now that I know better).
Watching Shakthimaan intro in which the scene is set in outer space and Discovery Science Channel which encouraged people to ‘question everything’ probably influenced me into developing an interest in all science-oriented things early on.
I was crazy about space science and would often get lost trying to imagine the astronomical scale (pun intended) of Neutron stars and Black holes. I even had a nickname “Captain of M87” back in 2007.
I would also deeply empathize with people getting physically hurt and would hurt myself to ‘share their pain’. I came across mediaeval torture devices and it tore me apart to imagine the pain the victims must have gone through. I saw how innocent deer are eaten alive by innocent wild dogs. Who is to be blamed? Nature, not the wild dogs.
So it became deep-rooted in my mind that life is but an insignificant speck in the vast expanse of space and that this existence is too cruel. I became a Nihilist.
(Nihilistic meaning: rejecting all religious and moral principles in the belief that life is meaningless)
Meanwhile, I was in college, studying Aeronautical Engineering, which was a misguided choice because I thought I was interested in aircraft. I had already dropped out of an Electronics course and I was well on my way to quitting Aeronautical Engineering as well, thanks to my newfound Nihilism.
I would still say college was worth it because I met my life partner there, to whom I’m married now.
My nihilism got so extreme to the point where I was not even ready to move my arms thinking to myself “why bother.
I desperately wanted to kill myself. I researched a little bit about pain-free ways to die. But fleeting memories of Appa dropping me to school and asking for a kiss every time I got off the bike and Amma hand-feeding me my favourite food would stop me from seriously considering suicide. I couldn’t bring myself to imagine what they’d do if I had killed myself. This went on for a couple of years.
I looked for ways to keep myself occupied. I couldn’t endure the absurdity of existence unless I had kept myself busy.
I was dealing with back pain and I managed to recover by putting some time into research and through strength training. Playing DotA 2 and Runescape became my full-time job. I became too attached to my girlfriend (wife now).
I had discussed it with my girlfriend (now wife) about not wanting to have kids and she agreed. I don’t want to perpetuate existence. I don’t want another child to suffer as I had.
I had the thought of being a gym owner in the back of my mind for a while then because I was already training a few of my friends and had helped my mother recover from her debilitating knee pain (Check out the next story to find out about her weight-lifting journey).
Owning a gym seemed like an eventuality.
And that’s how Madras Barbell was founded. I started Madras Barbell in 2018. I am now thoroughly enjoying helping people get out of pain, which I truly despise. Training Senthil (23), a stroke survivor has also been extremely gratifying. Madras Barbell is yet to turn a profit despite the gym running for 4 years. However, I am positive that things will work out.
Marriage, running a gym, fuelling my brain every once in a while with science and playing games have kept me distracted enough that I don’t have time for suicidal thoughts. But it still stands that I am a Nihilist and I have found ways to live with it.”
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