June 28, 2003


One of the sinful pleasures of going to walk or jog at a park in the morning is to observe the multitude of fellow joggers that gather there. Even more interesting is the vast range of shapes and sizes they comprise and their conversations (when you can steal snatches of them as they pass by) is like the icing on the cake. Generally, I do not like to walk in a group. I either slow down to let people behind me pass, if they are too fast for me or I try and break away from them with a burst of speed if they are too slow.

The best time for the walks are when the park is mostly empty and the very few people who are there are spread out over reasonable distances. But this does not happen often since I live in a predominantly residential area and unless it has rained earlier or it is going to rain again soon. The usual numbers are often large enough to make me feel that more than a good pair of running shoes, I would be better equipped to jog there if I had a horn and an indicator.

It is quite amusing to realise how you tend to miss people that you do not even know anything of. Of particular interest to me is a man over six feet tall and probably aged on the wrong side of sixty who pops in about the same time that I do. I do not know who he is, what his name is, where he stays etc, but I had not seen him for the past two days and strangely it made the morning walk sort of incomplete. Thankfully he was back yesterday and I happily went and thrust my head back into my own little cloud.

The key to persisting with jogging or similar things is an overdose of narcissism. You have to believe that the very vision of you in the park is sheer poetry in motion and that the rest of the world is totally awestruck and rendered immobile watching you move, shot from Oscar-winning camera angles. A work of art moving at 15 frames per-second, with the New York Philharmonic playing in the background and every muscle on your body, toned and firm, jarring with each step, set to the progression of the score. Staying fit is just a fringe benefit.

Of course, the truth is an entirely different matter as you might have guessed by now. And I do believe that it would be really horrible to have everyone watching you jog, be it for reasons good or bad. There is something so very peaceful about walking alone in rain drenched paths, with lots of fallen leaves littering the place and the odd delightfully cold drop of water falling on your face from the trees as a reminder of the just concluded rendition of rain.

But rain is not quite the same when you are in North India. The architecture in urban areas here do not have as many eaves or allow for open spaces where one can stand and watch the drops fall, make little pools and puddles and then the ripples that form in them. There is something about the muted sounds that border on silence that happens just after the rain stops, the creaking of the odd cricket, the faint chirp of a distant bird and the solitary walk with mind buried deep in a could of thoughts and hands firmly entrenched in the trouser pockets.

On a parting note, please welcome another newborn blogger - Preeti.