Life teaches us so many things at morning walks, which is a perfect slice of the organic world we live in with all its exciting variety men and women of all ages and shapes.
When you guys toss your care away and hit the bed at night my head would be booming with clip- clop, clip- clop, clip- clop…
Were there earthquakes, avalanches, volcano eruptions last night? No! Then it is sad. Then I must wake up to voices from the dark: “Time for our mo’u’rning walk, Manu chetta. Wake up!” I check the time: 4:30am! Clip-clop clip-clop…here we walk our walking, husband and wife, six laps around the Museum, a long stretch in Kanakakkunnu, its dales and mountains, its never-ending flights of steps and fancies clip-clop clip-clo…
Have you married a woman who is more wedded to walking than to her husband? No! Someday you should.
The compulsory walking syndrome
Those were salad days!
At six in the morning my wife’s internal alarm went off, her eyes peeled open, her legs started swinging back and forth mechanically. All I had to do was to plant her on the pavement in front of my home, feet first and see her chug away. Happy me! Once I saw her off I made a rush back to my cozy bed, leapt, and flopped on to the foam to finish the backlog of sleep.
Ah, such bliss couldn’t last. One day my wife got me under microscope and found with the help of a laboratory what the generic wife look out for in the generic husband – cholesterol. She gasped – CHOLESTEROL!
Now the doll would not walk alone. Tick-tock tick-tock… the alarm goes off, two dolls stride down the pavement; one walking the other clip- clop clip- clop….
I pointed at the street dog and cited rabbies. Clip-clop… I pointed at a vague itch in my heart and forecasted seizure, clip-clop…I pointed at a lone strand of cloud and said it would burgeon any minute into a vast storm clip- clop…
Clip-clop I was not the only husband being walked around by a wife in the morning and what relief it gave me clip-clop clip-clop.
The walker’s zone
Every morning hundreds turn up in the Museum compound for the walking ceremony.
I walk and watch as figures shamble on, huffing and puffing in the darkness, chests thrust out or hunched inward, heads tilted to the moon or drooped down towards their own crotches, huge tummies carried on cautiously like precious crystals or family heirlooms handed down through generations not to be wasted with hard work, without letting any walk get anywhere near them or sometimes flopping them about like worn out dog-tails; they all walk engrossed in their little worlds of dreams and disillusionment.
No one knows anyone else during workouts. Like cosmic bodies people move in their own orbits. What relief it gave me when last week I saw a man standing far away with folded arms, raised them above his head to catch my attention!
I stopped on the track and greeted him back, raising my folded arms in equal respect. How do I know him!
“How do you know him?” my wife asked. “I can’t say in this darkness. Maybe he’s my facebook friend or RRR fan,” I replied cockily. He was still standing there. I smiled and acknowledged. Suddenly he bent down from the hip. I half-responded to the gesture when my wife tugged me from behind and asked me to straighten my posture: “Manu chetta, cut it out! You’re embarrassing me! He is doing Soorya namaskar (Sun posture). Let us walk.”
I walked with a pride a lit’l hurt.
Faces hardly emerge in the 5 O’ Clock light.
Still whenever one of those solar lamps burning at regular intervals in the circular walkway catches a walker’s face, I try to gather its tattered features together to read the thoughts whirring behind.
Some men walk with grim, constipated faces; they throw cold stares at us as if we were the ones who’d plotted with their wives to get them down here for this walk. Such faces snarl without a noise, their shoulders twitch with suppressed anger, they fingers would be screwed shut, as they pound forward. But what did I do!
There are also men who tag along with their women, like z-category security, brushing away or stonewalling glances that stray into their wives’ airspace with cold stares from which you find it hard to twist your eyes away to get them merrily back on the bouncing women near them.
A few faces look serene; they have found their nirvana with walking. The soporific swings of their arms rock them deeper and deeper into slumber in every lap.
A few look like sleep in walking shape, they ebb on like zombies and whenever they pass me I suppress an evil urge to give them a good thump on their head – as if they are old television sets under repair – to see if picture flickers back into life at least one more time with that jolly little whack.
Don’t you know want to know more about the walker’s gait, the walker’s talk and the walker- woman in t-shirt? Read the second part of the story.