Being a Woman
My daughters leave for school at around 7 in the morning. Usually, that’s the time I metamorphoses from a hare on steroids into a somnolent sloth and curl up on the couch. But of late, I’ve been resisting the call of the couch, pulling on my sneakers and dragging myself out for a walk. It’s not that I’m a big fan of exercise. In fact I have a strong suspicion that I’m allergic to it, since each time I exercise, I break out in a sweat and feel that I’m going to expire on the spot ! Unfortunately, due to a slightly high value in an extremely annoying index called the BMI (Body Mass Index), I have been advised to work off some BM.
Walking is my preferred form of exercise. I’ve tried a lot of stuff, from Yoga to Zumba and I’ve had to discontinue everything ; some due to my unwilling mind and a few because of my unhealthy back. The neighbourhood I live in is ideal for walking, with its broad leafy avenues and sparse traffic in the mornings. There’re also a dedicated swarm of walkers who start while the sun is still making up its mind whether to peep out or not. Thankfully most of these determined walkers reach their respective abodes by the time I slowly amble out of my building. My co-walkers include a huge number of senior citizens and a sprinkling of determined souls. I’ve noticed that whenever I pass a focused walker, I unknowingly speed up my steps and then gradually slow down to my normal crawl.
Once I’m out of my apartment, I start enjoying my walk. The dappled sunlight, beautiful fresh breeze and the general sense of a new day seeps in and makes me content. There’re some parts of my route which have fast become my favourite spots. There’s a quiet stretch where the sunlight falling through the leaves creates an exquisite latticed pattern on the road; yet another where a rusty hulking transformer is made endearing by the bright yellow wild flowers climbing all over it. I usually stop for a second under a banyan tree whose leaves all seem to be asleep. I wait to see whether they’ll wake up and nod at me. There’re are mannequins in store windows who set me thinking whether they’ve been partying hard while the store was empty. Would they be nursing hang overs ?
Then there’re the people all around who are so interesting to observe. School going children abound, waiting for school buses, all eager eyed and freshly bathed. It’s amusing to see the marked decrease in the eagerness quotient as the age increases. The lil ones are restless and chatty, while the older ones are almost like statues with their lack of movement and distinct lack of enthusiasm. I hide a smile when I see them since I too have gone through similar stages as a student. People on their way to work are easily identifiable due to the hurry in their gait and focused expression. I get whiffs of soap and powder when I pass some of them and it’s so refreshing. I eagerly wait to see elderly couples on their morning jaunt. Most of them look so tuned to each other, with their easy smiles and quiet conversations. The term ‘golden years’ gains a new meaning when I see the joy they get from each other’s presence.
There aren’t any places of worship any where on my route, so a couple of days back I was intrigued when I saw a middle-aged gentleman with folded hands, closed eyes and complete devotion on his face. He was facing a school gate; with an amused look I went closer to see what he was doing. I was struck dumb when I saw a church steeple rising above the trees in the distance. He prayed for some time and then walked away. I really felt humbled by the depth of faith I had witnessed, which did not depend on expensive rituals or huge grandiose edifices.
All these sights ensure that I’m never bored during my morning amble. My head is constantly swivelling from one side to the other in order to drink in all the sights. I feel slightly guilty when I see serious walkers working off the BM (body mass) which actually is the entire purpose of the walk. Thankfully for me the guilt doesn’t get time to settle in cos my mind has already slipped to the next wondrous image on the streets. My favourite music on my headphones also add to my joy. I must be one of the very few people who listen to classical music while walking. Mr.A and my teen are ardent supporters of the fast numbers and I guess it’s because they walk at a fast pace. Slow music is the perfect accompaniment for my crawl !
In spite of all these attractions while walking, I still end up making excuses not to go. If I go continuously for a week it makes me feel that I’ve accomplished quite a lot, and so I relax for the next three weeks. But I shall not give up walking; after all I have to reduce my BM 🙂