The Swing


The sun scorches and causes rivulets of sweat to cascade down my back. I pray for a cooling breeze to relieve the thick humidity that weaves its way all around me.

I am a lone, brave warrior on this interminable walk, constantly tapping my Fitbit to see the number of steps. As is always the case, progress is inversely proportional to the number of times I tap my watch! “Why can’t fitness ever be easy?” I mutter to myself, vowing to only check the watch after I reach the top of the small hillock that lies-in-wait just ahead.

I start the climb, a usually gentle slope, but one which appears to be Mt.Everest today because of the heat (and I laugh at the irony of using heat and Mt. Everest in the same sentence).

But I manage to huff and puff and conquer the hillock. The going gets easier after that. There are many trees and some much-needed respite from the sun’s rays, which seem like never-ending tentacles that chase me.

I finally reach my first pit stop, a place on the walking trail, where a beautiful meadow beckons, verdant and glowing in the late afternoon sun. There are many big bungalows tucked into the meadow, surrounded by trees and bushes. One can only see a bit of white wall amongst the trees, or hear a distant bark or the laughter of kids playing.

I inhale huge gulps of air and watch the meadow. The only sounds today are from the constant chirping of birds. As my eyes take it all in, I smile in delight when I find that a lovely little swing has been affixed to one of the trees near the meadow.

A simple wooden plank with strong ropes on either side, tied securely to a thick branch.

The swing makes me smile. It brings back memories of similar swings from my childhood, especially the one that my friends and I had fixed on a neighbour’s peach tree. We would spend hours taking turns to swing, without a care in the world.

We were an impatient brood and could barely wait for the peaches to ripen. We would pluck them when they were still raw, feeling the fuzzy peach skin and enjoying its unripened flavours only because of the company of friends. Everything was an adventure.

The swing was where we gathered during summer holidays, spending time doing nothing, just as holidays were meant to be enjoyed. No summer classes or homework. Just pure unadulterated fun.

The swing perfectly captured our free and happy childhood, flying high into the air, placing your trust on loyal friends who sent you skyward with that perfect momentum, spending just a few seconds suspended under a cornflower blue sky, free as birds that roam the skies and coming back down to collapse into a bundle of exhilarated giggles. Truly precious times indeed!

I come back to the present and look at the swing. I imagine kids spending lazy hours on this swing, dreaming, flying and chattering away.

Memories that will come back to them when they are older – of halcyon afternoons spent on a wooden swing under a blue sky, of innocent friendships and silly secrets. Memories that will make them smile. Just as I am now.

What’s in a view? Everything…


One of the best ways to realize the passage of time is when you realize that suddenly, a huge building has popped up right next to your place of work or home, or on one of the roads you frequent.

One day, construction is still on, and the very next, the building is standing tall and proud, its shining facade gleaming in the sun and shimmering with bright lights at night.

That is when you realize that time has truly flown. You begin to forget what used to be in the place where this new building has dropped its roots.

Hmmm, but I am rambling a bit here. This post is neither about the passage of time nor about concrete jungles. 

It is about a new hotel cum mall that has popped-up very close to our home. There’s nothing special about that, you may say. ‘Tis probably happening all around the world!

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Courtesy – http://www.world-wallpaper.com

There is only one small issue that I have with this building. When I step out on my balcony or look out from my bedroom window, my eyes are level with the new hotel’s swanky gym.

I get up in the middle of the night for a drink of water, and there are people working out, on cross trainers and treadmills. I can see their silhouettes, burning hundreds of calories.

Then again, I wake up early sometimes, and look out, and there they are again, working out.

Who are these people, who are so motivated to work out late at night and early in the morning? They look like the people we read about in books, who have a busy life and are productive      24 × 7.

As I type this, I am walking towards my balcony to check. All treadmills are occupied! Wow.

I am glad for the bright light of day, because then I cannot see the inside of the gym, and what I can’t see doesn’t bother me, or make me feel guilty – especially the guilt that stems from all the sweets and savouries I have been wolfing down this Diwali season.

Come to think of it, this could be a great USP if our house were to be sold. House with a gym-view to inspire…round the clock!

Another Day Begins


I am on my morning walk.  I enjoy the cool air as it envelopes my face.  The Sun is still an orange tinge on the horizon.

I see other joggers and walkers.  Some are techie-joggers, they have devices strapped to their arms and their wrists, measuring various parameters.  They are on a mission, say their serious faces, burn, calorie, burn.

Cute little dogs are on their morning walks too, pausing here, sniffing there, enjoying the smells of dawn.  Their owners stretch themselves, sometimes walking, sometimes trotting with their pets.

The drone of vehicles has started on the main road, as I leave our building. Early morning office-goers, trim and proper, in their formal attire, well groomed and ready to take on the day, with their laptops and papers and smartphones.

School-going children waiting at the bus stops for their buses. Teens listening to music, the younger ones chattering away, some other ones still half-asleep, clinging to their moms.

The last-minute breakfast-munchers, quickly biting into a sandwich, as they get ready to take on their day.

One set of people going into the tube station, one set coming out, both sets in a hurry, smoking, eating, talking into their phones, but hurrying.

The newspaper vendor, doing brisk business, as everybody wants to know what’s happened in the world, while they slept on.

The caffeine-lovers, who sip large-size take-away coffees, as they walk.  I want my coffee too, but I have to finish my morning beat.

When I reach the stadium, all these thoughts vanish, as I watch people whizzing past, walking at alarming speeds, jogging and some even sprinting.  A few stretch, a few curl, a few twist, a few climb, a few hang….on the exercise bars.

I join the ‘serious‘ now. Meeting my fitness goals for the day. The Sun is up and about.  I finish. I guzzle water.

I head back home.  The frantic office-goers are now replaced by older folk, who are on their morning walk; men and women walk back, swinging their tennis or badminton rackets, after energetic games.

The vehicles are noisier, the Sun is warmer, the trees are greener, the wind is warm.  I reach home. I measure, I note.

I turn my attention to the rest of my day.