Mumbai-based standup comedian Aditi Mittal wants to debunk the cliche and tediously repetitive tropes in popular culture of demonising the 30s. At a time with the longest life expectancy, Mittal says, we, as a generation, have lost contact with our body and the popular media does little to help the situation. When Mittal turned 30, she wanted to challenge that notion and instead, started to become curious about her body, its marvels and what it does and is capable of doing.
Before she set out on her journey to re-discover her body, Mittal talks about how important the process of elimination is. “In your 20s, you jump off every cliff. If your friend goes to jump in a well, you follow. You do everything stupid with your body in your 20s because you feel invincible. But in your 30s, you start to create boundaries, so much so that you don’t really know what you want in life, but at least you know what you don’t want. The elimination process is magical,” says Mittal.
When it comes to exercise, Mittal likes to mix things up. Two days of functional training, aerial yoga twice a week or a walk sometimes. “Even walking in Mumbai feels like doing parkour,” jokes Mittal.
“When I do aerial yoga, I feel like being cradled by someone, is such a wonderful feeling,” says Mittal. Our bodies are going to age but Mittal wanted to know what her body could do — if she could hang upside down, punch something, walk ten miles or do the butterfly stroke. Her approach to exercise is to be curious about what our bodies can do. “Do what you are inclined to do. If you feel like going for a walk one day, do that. Or if you want to follow along with a YouTube video of a blonde white woman teaching you tantric yoga, do that! That time is yours and nobody is going to take it from you. And the kind of self-esteem boost that you get from doing something for yourself gives the same, if not more, rush as buying something” she says.
“How’re you feeling” is another mantra that Mittal swears by. “Earlier, I would dial down my emotion according to other people, be it friends, family or a group, to solve a situation. However, now I check in with myself and see how I am feeling and give it validity, says Mittal, who adds that one also starts to forgive oneself in one’s 30s.
Food is a love language in India, says Mittal, and jokes, “Marathi couples don’t say I love you but jevlis kha (did you eat)?” Sharing her experience as a boarding school student, Mittal says that she would eat like it was the last meal. Her relationship with food changed when she realised that there was no need to hurry and stuff herself and “more food will present itself when you’re hungry.”
Though Mittal stays away from being over-calculative about what she eats, she does believe that we are what we eat. “It is definitely difficult to keep track of what you eat and our lives are so stressful that we might end up eating not-so-healthy things at times. But eating gatte ki sabzi with makke di rotti, which is laden with ghee, every day, will make you like those things,” she says.
“If you’re not extremely wealthy, try and be healthy. People with money can afford a new organ or some transplant. But if you become healthy, you reduce your medical costs. In that sense, health is wealth. We have only one body and we need to love it,” says Mittal.