When some men march past, you can hear medals clanging about on their chests. Their eyes would be planted on the moon, their tummies would be drawn in to the point of implosion, their hands would be swinging to measured height and distance vigorously as if they are on an everlasting passing out parade, desperate to impress the higher-ups left-right-left-right left…
You must have noted that the guy who walks over there is too short for his ambitious hands. But shortness doesn’t mean he is any humbler. You must see how violently his arms beat about achieving new heights and records with every swing until he seems to me to have sunken far below; a drowned man throwing up his hands at the last minute in a desperate attempt to grab attention. Oh, you don’t know how much I resist myself from the temptation to drag him up by his arms to the shore whenever I pass him on the walkway.
Plump men are content with their plumpness; they stroll with their arms thrust away from their body as if they have got unseen bags tucked in their armpits.
Arms moving back and forth in a walk is fine spectacle.
The trawlers threaten to demolish all life forms in the path. The moment I see them heading my way, I feel myself as threatened as a puny little victim who hasn’t yet found his first bottle of green potion in a computer game. I must either duck or edge my way along the wall or dare to leap over the enemy or press the escape button and wake up from my bed to start it all over. I grope around for a red button.
A few men are so excited in walking that they lurch forward, leaving their shaggy limbs behind, taking only their upper torso to the finishing line impatiently. So hurriedly they shoot forward until they look like funny men (perpetually) tripping over imaginary cats on the path every minute and throwing a quick foot forward at the last minute to keep them from falling.
Sometimes I match my stride to catch up with a few of them to pick snatches of their conversations.
What do WALKERS talk about?
Most of them walk in a cloud of last night’s cholesterol curry and porotta. “Oh, have you tasted the mutton biriyany of the new Azad hotel? You should, it is manna!” They wistfully talk about food, hotels and the dinners past. Some serious dieting going on, I guess.
Ask me what the most famous spectacle in Kanakakkunnu in early morning is.
I would say it is a woman who dedicated-ly turns up for jogging. Don’t believe me. Ask anyone else. Be it the 80-year old man who turns up punctually since the morning she has turned her sprightly walk into a jog or the 20 something dude you’d find here (I think, the day she stops jogging a few of the old men would drop dead suddenly recalling they’ve overstayed or by losing an urge to wake up) in garish suits in the morning. If you conduct a quiz on the graffiti printed on her t-shirts (however skewed the writing is because of immense pressure from behind) you should have to give away a lot of consolation prizes.
This is the equation: The woman holds plump bosom. She wears tight t-shirts. She jogs.
She jogs around unaware of a caring world growing around her.
I see men double her age – chugging lethargically until half-a second ago like snails – suddenly jolt forward like a Metro train finding new spin under their wheels the moment they see her turning around a corner towards them. Here they puff out their chests, suck in their tummies , and stretch their eyes saucer-width, so that nothing, no alphabet on her t-shirt, no part of even those subtle ripples in it would be missed.
I think about my father, so respectable a man, teacher, writer; I throw my mind back to my family so famous among us the members and finally to my noble profession as a teacher, in order to reproach my eyes from straying out of decorum, decency and dignity as the comet jogs my way.
This should help an ascetic like me.
When she finally jogs in with her t-shirt, wet and taut and 3-dimensional, that they would burst into tiny shreds in the air any minute, I would be fuming in indignation. Finally when she passes us leaving a trail of her vapoury sweat behind her I turn towards my annoyed wife:
“It is bad that she doesn’t wear anything inside.” “No, Manu chetta, she is wearing it.”
I take another look.