My fitness regime involves getting up at 6.30 am, having a quick wash, and going out for a walk by 7.00 am. I walk from home up to a point, and on my way back, I jog. The next day I sleep, without guilt content with my previous day’s regime. It takes me about 3 months to take another morning walk. I call this my Quarterly Fitness Regime.
Today, I went for a walk. Here’s what I saw…
I saw that the mornings are grey. I first came across the expression – grey morning – in JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. And I always used to wonder, what he meant. Mornings in my mind are always orange. It shocked me a bit hen I noticed it first in Nasik almost a year ago. Well, to this day ‘grey morning’ never fails to surprise me.
I saw an aged woman and a child begging on the road. The child was smiling for some reason. The old woman had a plastic bowl. She raised it as I passed. I think the bowl was brown. But I didn’t look; I went past them briskly with only a tinge of shame – not at anything in particular… or perhaps at my own well-being.
I saw people working out in a gym – men and women sweating it out on the treadmill. I always scoff at them. If you want to walk why not walk under the shades of the tree, or by the beach? If you want to cycle why not do it with an actual bicycle – feeling the cold wind on your face? I would never join a gym. You see, there’s no scheme that would fit my quarterly fitness regime.
I saw a kacha road sloping down into a thicket. The area I live in is built on what was once a hill. There are trees on wither side of the road, which slopes up and down; and there are S-bends now and then; there are mini bungalows too. In the early morning (when the sky is grey) my area looks like a quaint hill-station.
I saw a girl at the bus-stop. She was staring at me. I was immediately conscious of the hole in my shorts. But she probably didn’t know that. She was staring at my hair – I had forgotten to comb them before leaving.
I saw the Shanti Ashram bus-depot. It is a small depot. Bright red buses stand out starkly against the smooth grey concrete flooring. It’s a charming bus depot… one which will inspire you to take the bus.
I saw ladies selling juices that were green in colour – neem, karela, tulsi, or spinach, I don’t know. There was a motley group around the stall. I moved on.
I saw, on my way back, a group of ladies dressed in colourful salwar kameez walking, panting, and talking loudly. Muave, pink, orange and lime green – they added a splash of colour in that grey morning.
I saw, on my way back, rickshaw drivers trying their best to block the biting cold – wearing a shawl, pulling down their monkey caps, and, of course, driving slowly. Though I didn’t see them, I know that there are daredevils who will drive at jet speed without a thought for the shivering passenger.
I saw, on my way back, many not-so-well-to-do people taking a walk. I wondered why. I have met rickshaw drivers who have acidity problems and take Digene just like me. A taxi driver once instructed me about high blood pressure and also recommended a tablet he takes whenever he feels the BP is rising. Were the people who were walking also on a therapy? Isn’t having enough money a problem in itself?
I saw, on my way back, a rickshaw overcrowded with tiny tots on their way to school. Some were shivering, others had covered their head and years with a cloth (smart mummies!). They were wearing the typical school-blue coloured uniform – I have always felt that school-blue is too blue to be blue.
I saw, on my way back, an orange hue piercing the grey sky – the grey army seemed to be on a retreat. The sun was rising, and a new day was beginning… yet again.