The van pulls in in front of our building on the dot at 7: 30 am. I help my younger one get in, wave her good-bye, watch as the van goes away and run back into the lobby to put on my sneakers which I had brought down with me in a bag. I finger-comb my hair and am out in the open, happy as a lark.
I started walking in the mornings about six months back. Initially I found it a chore–it was a little boring to walk briskly when you knew you weren’t really going anywhere. I gradually got more than used to it, though. It is now a precious bit of me-time that I look forward to. It’s when I am in tune with my body, feeling the freshness of the morning air as I breathe in , the warmth of it as I breathe out. It is the time of the day when I am happiest.
I hit the walking track around our building. It is about 250 m if you don’t cut corners. I begin by doing four rounds of it. It takes me ten to twelve minutes. The sun is up but is still a red ball in the hazy pink sky in the east. The rays on my face do not yet feel warm. I hear faint notes of a Marathi bhajan playing on a loudspeaker somewhere–I do not understand the words but it is evidently devotional music . It adds to the feeling of peace that pervades the air.
My four rounds of my building are done–now I must take a round of the entire society. I have come to love the sights and sounds that come my way–that is why I prefer not to hear music on my mobile during my walks!
The most welcome sight–and sound –is that of flocks of sparrows chirping and hopping away to glory. I had heard that sparrows were becoming endangered due to the high levels of pesticides in grains . In my three years at Chandigarh, I used to spot bulbuls, parrots, sunbirds and even peacocks regularly, apart from many other birds whose names I did not know–but I never saw sparrows. I worried that these cute little birds that used to nest regularly in my childhood house may indeed be facing extinction. It is heartening indeed to see so many of them in Mumbai 🙂
I now come to the last ‘part’ of my walk–to take four rounds of the park in the centre of the society. I meet many other walkers here–several ‘hi’s and nods and smiles are exchanged .
I catch sight of a man in his sixties playing cricket with a young kid about three years old. Over my rounds, I notice that the man is not only bowling continuously, he also has a tiffin box with him and is feeding the child morsels of food every couple of minutes. Such a heart-melting sight!
In another corner of the park, a largish group of elderly men is resting after their walk–this is where I find them every single day, talking loudly, joking and laughing uproariously. I cannot help overhearing bits of their conversation–I, of course, don’t want them to know I heard anything, but then it is really difficult to keep a straight face in their vicinity 🙂 I suppose they don’t mind, though.
I consult my watch– it is 8:10. The sun now feels warm. I feel pleasantly exhausted. I head back to my building, take the steps up to the second floor and then take the elevator to my eleventh floor apartment. Morning walks are therapeutic– and I am so glad to have discovered that for myself.