(Published Nov 23, 2021)
If you’re at the Mordoh Fitness Center in the morning, chances are you’ve run into Sekhar or Kris Chandra. “I come here around 8 am and don’t leave until 11:30 or 12,” Kris said. Part of that time is socializing with others: Members since 2005 after moving to Indianapolis from Connersville (about 60 miles east of Indy), the Chandras come to the J seven days a week when they’re in town, so they’ve gotten to know their fellow fitness center users (Case in point: when shooting the photos for this post, they got hugs and calls of “Movie stars!”).
Kris loves a Group Ex class – she’s done yoga and Pilates for years, has been known to get her groove on in Zumba and hops on a spin bike when cycling classes are offered. Sekhar joins her in those cycling classes or works out on his own, doing some cardio on a bike, treadmill or elliptical along with using the free weights. They participated in virtual classes when the J was closed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but “the day they opened, we were here. We missed it so much.”
The “second home” and “family” the Chandras refer to when talking about the J isn’t just other members but instructors as well. “Jim [Gould] is partly a family member at this point – we do teas, we go out to lunch,” said Kris, who also counts yoga and Pilates instructors Ashley Zeller and Susan Vinicor among some of her favorites.
“We Like to See This Place Thrive”
The Chandras also contribute to JCC fundraisers – in fact, for the 2020 Hand in Hand Campaign, JCC staff contacted Sekhar to ensure he’d meant to donate twice, and he assured that he had, he just wanted to make sure the JCC got the matching funds that had been promised. Their reasoning for participating is simple: “We like to see this place thrive. They do a lot of things here; we know membership alone [doesn’t] cover all the expenses, so when we can, we donate.”
“We’ve Always Been an Active Family”
If the Chandras are ever not at the J, it’s likely because they are physically not in Indianapolis. They love to travel, especially to visit their sons in London and Chicago or other family in India. Even when traveling, they’ll stay active – they may not be taking 50-mile bike rides anymore, but they still go on shorter hiking trips with friends.
The Chandras’ retirement is well-earned – while living in Connersville, Sekhar practiced as a cardiologist and Kris managed his office. With no time constraints anymore, they can come and go as they please, and the J is lucky they choose to pour so much of themselves into this facility.