Posts Tagged ‘ recreation ’

The Gymkhana Problem.

Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual.” Man cannot live alone.

-Aristotle.

Gymkhana (Global): A public place with facilities for Sports.

Gymkhana (India): A gentleman’s club for leisure.

During the British rule, The English had started a concept called Gymkhana or a gentleman’s club where people from the rich families would gather over drinks and sports. This tradition carried on even after Indian independence for social gatherings amongst the elites.

This is the reason why there are so many gymkhanas in South Bombay, namely The wodehouse, Bombay, Islam, Police,Jvpd etc. Some gymkhanas are simply called clubs or sports clubs, The most famous that I know is the Goregaon sports club. People do often wonder what exactly happens in a gymkhana and I’ll tell you all about it to the best of my knowledge.

My father was always keen about being a member of a Gymkhana, Khar gymkhana being his favorite where you get to meet new and elite people, there are drinks and functions which you get to attend. There are all sorts of meal meats, the tea meeting, lunch buffet, dinner buffet etc. He got a life membership for our family at the malad gymkhana around 16 years ago, and to be honest, I still hate that place because it hasn’t developed much in all these years.  The question is why do people want to do such a thing? The simple answer is the quote mentioned right at the beginning of this post.

The other reason is it is best to know new people for business prospects and suitable marriage proposals. When I say that these clubs are meant for the rich and elite of the society, there is definitely an exorbitant price to get an entry to this clubs. They have schemes for yearly membership as well as life memberships.

To explain the pricing more clearly, I will speak about the price rates for the Goregaon sports club which is a Gymkhana. Now GSC offers life membership for a couple with children (maximum 2) below 18 years for rupees 11 lakhs + 14.50% service tax. Yearly membership for the same is around rupees 1 lakh with service charge.

What is included in this price? Just the entry to the club, swimming pool , restaurants, sports bars. You can  avail indoor and outdoor activities for a discounted price( 50%) as compared to the Exorbitant, isnt it? Yes it is! A membership to a  gymnasium with a swimming pool and steam sauna facility is priced at 15k per year. You might even end up getting a discount for 2 people.

The Problem

Dad got the membership for our family at a ‘not so good’ gymkhana in Malad for rupees 33,000 around 16 years ago. I was under 18 at that time so even i was included. Back then only the card room of the gymkhana was fully functional, then came in the gymnasium with some basic equipment and the table tennis gear which i really liked.

In 2-3 years after getting the membership, the fad faded and we forgot that we were members of a gymkhana, no body amongst us went there because it was just a building with a restaurant, card room and a gym.

5 years ago, when I had just turned 18, we had inquired about the membership charges for me and they said that i had to pay just 15k for becoming a life member, which i felt too much at that time and we delayed the process ( usual business for us, and I wasnt interested.) What would I do there? I dont go to places where my friends cant join me and I have no interest in making new ones.

A couple of days ago, there was this extra-ordinary meeting held by the gymkhana where there was some music, drinks and dinner. Mom and dad were invited being the members and for the fact that dad had recently joined their gym. Also Dad was keen to know the price for getting me in as an adult. I was coming back home from an overnight party out-station and dad called me to get directly at the gymkhana for the party.

I went there, had a good time there (for different reasons which i cant discuss here.) We came back home an hour before midnight and at this time i learned that my membership is going to cost us rupees 75,000/-.

Here is the problem. Is it worth paying 75,000 rupees for myself and my upcoming family? Will I have an upcoming family? If I do I have, why would I require a club for social gatherings? I have my friends circle for the same and I have always imagined of us being together.There are many questions that are circling my head and even mom feels if its worth, but dad is headstrong about getting me in.

I had thought it this way, I could get a membership and hit the gymnasium with dad. All these years i wished for a swimming pool at the gymnasium since that an outdoor activity that I never get bored off and would help me get me back in shape.

My Dad feels that I should get a membership because the gymkhana is evolving, slowly but it is evolving. I remember as a kid, I had asked dad about the swimming pool, as to when would it be there at the gymkhana, to which he had wisely replied ” When you would have kids”! Damn.

I got time till march to think if I am going in or not, In two minds (or dirty mind as Nimesh would say). Let me know what do you think about it, It might help me make up my mind.

-Prabhu.A

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