September 26, 2021
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On waking late and walking slow

Article By

Sujit Chandra Kumar

I am not one of those ‘early morning people’ who become hyperactive as soon as they wake up. A few minutes is all they need to wash their faces or be done with their ablutions before they can be on their way, walking or jogging hurriedly. It is as though they are racing against the sun mainly and want to be back in their homes before he shows up. I, on the other hand, take my own time to enjoy my bed tea, read the newspaper from cover to cover and change into something comfortable before I can venture out of my home. This means that it is at least 8 am and the town is all agog as one starts walking.

The destination is usually a tea shop, a kilometre or two away. Why a second tea? Because, otherwise, there is no motivation to last at least that much distance. I have realised that the dedicated walker chooses the dark early morning hours for another reason: the doctors advise them to swing their arms wildly and walk briskly and this doesn’t always present a pretty sight in broad daylight. Admittedly, I walk at a rather leisurely pace and if the self-proclaimed health experts point out that this is but a waste of time from the health point of view, I would disagree violently. My answer to their criticism is that the walk is as much for the mind as it is for the body.

Sure, the slow walker can’t expect to experience the ‘runner’s high’ – the brief state of euphoria experienced by runners as a result of endorphins being released into the blood – but there are other benefits. The greatest is that the mind takes its own independent journey, thanks to the much-need ‘me time’. Sometimes, you get ideas or creative flashes that may help you in your chosen profession or generally reach wise conclusions with regard to life situations. Besides, you get to meet people on the way or at the end of the journey. And, you can buy fish still dripping with blood or freshly-uprooted spinach from the wayside vendor.

But some who you meet on the way can be naggingly troublesome. I recently had to change my route because of one shopkeeper who greets me every day with, “You got late today?” These days when one is on work-from-home-or-not-work-at-all mode, there is no particular need to hit the road at nine or reach the office at 10 but these are difficult concepts to explain while you are walking. So, initially I agreed with him that I got delayed and when confronted every day, chose to avoid that stretch. There are others who simply ask if one is not ‘doing’ anything these days. Is walking not considered part of ‘doing something’?

Needless to point out that it can be pesky to walk our roads in the rainy season. The roads are full of potholes and the risk of getting splashed all over is very real. There is, of course, the bigger risk of getting run over by vehicles, so it is always better to walk on the right side of the road so that vehicles do not catch you off guard from behind. Perhaps it is time someone came up with an innovative, easy-to-carry rear-view mirror for pedestrians who can also then ‘keep left’ like everyone else.

Pic Courtesy: google/ images are subject to copyright

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