One day, it was Friday, I happen to have got up early; early, by my hitherto routine. It was 7 am. There was nothing important I could make out to do. A few minutes later, I decided to go out for a walk.
Going out for a regular morning walk didn’t strike me out of the blue. It’s been on my mind since years, but somehow I had never made a determined effort. It had become a habit to get up around 8, make myself a cup of tea, grab the newspaper and be back to bed. Then I would lazily get up at 9 to switch on the TV and spend a quick 5 minutes to catch a glimpse of ‘Pre-Market Opening’. Lastly, I would carry the already gone through newspaper with me to spend some good time on the hot seat! Now action. A quick shower, a quick breakfast, and I am already running late to be in office at 10! God save India!
I won’t call it a walk, at best it was just a stroll. The well maintained neighborhood park, Tikona Park, is just 200 meters from home. I and my wife sometimes wander here for a breath of air late in the evenings. Park’s walking track is less than 300 meters for a round. Having done two, I persuaded myself for the third, and went on to do four! I came back happy and refreshed. At last, I could claim it to be a walk.
All through the day, I worked as much passionately as I do, but each break reminded me of the morning experience; wasn’t it worth an effort? I felt reassured. I told myself, I have to mend my ways of lifestyle. Am I really not living in a heavily cemented comfort zone? Fixing things is not easy. Many things have to be hammered to break. He, who is willing to cut loose the web around, will be set free. That courage has to emerge from within.
That very evening friends were in for coffee after dinner. Obviously it had to be en unending gossip session, with respected better halves making full toil of time. My mind summarily rejected the very first thought itself of going out for a morning walk in a few hours. During the day, this feeling came several times, ‘I could have done it, but I didn’t do’. I shared it with my assistant. He said, “suppose it’s raining heavily, would you still go far a walk? Alleast your conscience is clear that you intend to.” To my mind, it was not a consolation enough.
I didn’t want to pass my first day’s walk, as a one-of stray initiatives. As it is, status quoists lives are uneventful, and it’s really eventful and noticeable to usher in an out of lifestyle habit.
Saturday evening. It’s always a long week if no holiday comes in between. In our joint family with five grown up kids, demand of one becomes the running writ of unanimity. With lady of the house joining the mob, public opinion must prevail to uphold the great tradition of Indian democracy. Why deny, you also enjoy, when ‘Kudi Saturday Saturday Kar Di…!’ Late night show at DT is what settled.
Life had thrown an open challenge on me! When god made time, he had made the alarm too! Because it had to happen, it happened to be a Sunday. I knew I could go for a walk, come back and sleep again. And the trick worked.
My mobile lay right under my pillow. The moment it vibrated, my fingers muted the device, lest my adorable sleeping beauty gets disturbed. I quietly got up. It was almost dark in the room. I carefully walked to the washroom. I changed to a track pant and a T-Shirt which I had already kept there before sleeping. In the still of the early morning, I was out for a walk at five minutes past 5.
It was another forty minutes for the sunrise. As I walked past Tikona Park, which is too close to home, I could feel the breeze that would make one feel not being in Delhi. Continuous chirping of the birds on these green avenues is a wonderful company. But I found street dogs to be a menace. These canines are rouges and sometimes you need to negotiate your way. Early morning street dog behavior Is different from its day time behavior. Some of my oldie partners carry a club.
To my surprise, I was not the early one in the park. The W-Block Central Park is a place of pride for morning walkers. As I entered the well kept park, I could not miss the feeling, the lush green serenity on a hilly landscape, make it more inviting to its guest. As I take to the slightly under one kilometer peripheral walking track, I am pleased to be greeted by a stranger walker coming from the opposite direction. He just said, ‘Ram Ram Ji’ and went past me normally walking.
I could see, maximum walkers reach the park between 5:30 and 6:30. Many keep joining in thereafter too, but mostly people start leaving by 7. But I understand the last of the wild leave around nine.
What morning walk does to you is more to be experienced than to be described. Besides, I don’t want to preach on the benefits, but I am glad to share what I undergo. Despite a regular for a season, I have still not graduated to jogging. I know My body is left good only for walking. But I don’t mind. Walking is joy. Its like our selfless actions, done without any expectations. Walking is in harmony with nature sans aggression. While walking I can think. I can sing the glory of the lord and on each step, chant ‘Om’ with full ecstasy. In fact it happens automatically. The moment I set foot on track, I believe it is the most opportune time to chant Gayatri or Hare Krishna; and it starts in me naturally.
On that eventful Sunday, I did start with counting the steps. I knew four rounds of Tikona are equal to one kilometer. That should be just enough to begin, if I also take into account as much distance already done to reach this park from home. However as I moved uphill and exerted myself, I abandoned the futile counting and decided to rehearse a vedic rhyme which I had recently recomposed for myself. And I said to myself, two rounds is what I must do today!
Into my second cycle, many more walkers had joined in and I could make out some known faces of locality. Done two, it was still too early to go back home. I thought it prudent to relax for a while and seated myself on a bench. I could see two kids on jhoolas and a young girl, likely their caretaker, doing some aerobics and every now and then shouting at kids as if to keep them aware of her presence. Then there as a senior citizens group of gossipers who had occupied the benches in well developed rain shelter. I noticed, quite of few walkers wearing earphones, surely they were tuned to music.
In those fifteen minutes that I rested, I did some deep breathing. As I stood up, my feet instinctively took to the walking track. I did two more rounds before I called it quits. After all, transit to home was another kilometer! As I unlocked to enter, wall clock in the lobby showed quarter to seven.
My knees, my toes, my thighs, and even my shoulders and elbow who were being carried on my legs for free, were sort of worn out, though not exactly in pain. I had a couple of glasses of water, made myself a cup of tea and as I sipped through the divine beverage, I checked twice on the house gate, but newspaper had yet not arrived. Perhaps it was a few minutes away, and so was my sleep. Silently I went to our bedroom and glanced at my adorable sleeping beauty. Very quietly again, I slipped into the bed.
That Friday was a good Friday for me, worthy of a kept memory. Journey into a new routine, a new lifestyle had started.