The 3:1 battle


On a Friday evening, many aeons ago, my husband somehow managed to convince me to join him on his morning jog the next day. I agreed, but only in a moment of weakness, when my mind was not with me.

I put forth two conditions – the first was that we would walk and not jog, and the second was that we would not rise with the birds or beat the sun at his game. We would rise only when my eyes opened of their own volition. My dear husband agreed to both these conditions.

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear, and I was ready for this – walking shoes, cap and water bottle.

Courtesy-www.123rf.com

We set off at a normal pace, and reached the gate of our condo. Another couple, good friends of ours, were also leaving for their walk. We called out cheery good mornings to each other, and went our separate ways.

About 10 minutes into our walk, my husband was nearly a hundred metres ahead of me. I called and asked him to wait. And he stood there, as I walked quickly to join him.

Me: ‘I thought we were supposed to be walking together?’

Husband: ‘Hmm. Well we are supposed to be together, but you are strolling rather than walking.’

The irritation that wives reserve only for their husbands surfaced in me.

Me: ‘Look at my heart rate. My Fitbit shows that I am in the cardio range. Can’t help it if the ratio of our strides is 3:1, three steps for me and a giant leap for you!’

Husband: ‘So, do you want me to stroll with you? I will hardly burn any calories.’

Me: ‘Nope. You go ahead and run, and blaze a trail. I will go for my own morning stroll. Bye!’

Husband: ‘Ok, bye.’

He sounded relieved. And..that was that. My husband’s form took off in a jog, I was not going to follow him. I took the opposite road.

After an hour of walking, I got back to the condo, and the other friends that we had seen earlier were also returning from their walk.

We smiled at each other, and they asked, ‘Where’s your husband?’

‘We took different routes’, I said, and smiled.

A really polite smile.

A new friendship


The sun’s rays are not stinging yet, and there’s a gentle breeze, as I head out purposefully on my morning walk.

I mentally tick off my paraphernalia – pedometer, phone, water bottle, sunglasses and cap. I have recently started taking a new and scenic route for my walks; the trail is filled with beautiful trees, chirping birds, and huge homesteads that are tucked away behind winding paths.

I hear the call of many different birds. They are busy practicing their calls – tweeak, tweeak…sings one, another warbles. I can’t see most of them, but I hear them through the rustling of leaves, and the fluttering of their wings. The cicadas are performing their chorus, while squirrel-contortionists flit about – now here, now gone.

The first part of my walk is all uphill, and I huff and puff my way to the top – the view from the top is totally worth all that breathlessness.

The trail winds left. Just at the end of that winding lane is a huge, sprawling homestead, which is surrounded by a lot of grass, a few trees and a blue swimming pool. The side that faces my walking trail is the backyard and I see clothes merrily fluttering away on the clothesline. A tall fence runs all around the property.

And each time I cross the midway point on the lane, my ears perk up, for there is the cutest apricot poodle in the homestead. He senses the presence of a stranger and comes tearing up the green slope to the fence. He lets off a few sharp barks that tell me that he knows that I am not from his area.

I wave out to him, and his beautiful eyes melt my heart. And he barks, pauses and watches till I am out of sight.

And this happens each time I walk there.

Courtesy – http://www.123RF.com

So, today, just as always, my ears perk up in anticipation as I enter the lane. My apricot poodle does not disappoint. He tears up the green slope, but surprise, surprise, he doesn’t bark. He just watches me with his black-currant eyes. I wave at him and keep walking.

I smile. I have just made a cute friend. We have each become a part of the other’s landscape.

There is a spring in my step, as the trail takes me downhill.

Living in the moment


It’s been quite windy here for the last week or so. We are usually only used to dealing with various shades of tropical humidity, interspersed with thunderstorms that come and go at will.

The wind puts a spring in my step as I head out on my morning walk. The walkers’park is teeming with people -walking, jogging and cycling.

The sun is yet to unleash its burning heat. The day is cool, made cooler by this delicious breeze.

The target is a 10 km walk. I set off at a steady pace. About six kilometers into my walk, I stop to drink water. There are stone benches along the treelined walkway.

On one of these benches is a man, his hands stretched and placed under his head. His feet are stretched out. I wonder if he is asleep. There are many plastic bags near his bench. I slowly start walking past. I realize that he is awake and enjoying that moment. He is totally in the moment. He is oblivious to my presence.

I smile in wonder. It is peak hour in the morning. Every walker and jogger wants to rush back and get started with his or her busy day, and then there is this man, totally relaxed!

I smile and walk on. The wind continues to blow pretty flowers from the trees to the ground. The intoxicating smell of frangipani teases my nostrils. Yellow and pink flowers dance in glee before they fall to the ground, transforming the grass into a colourful carpet.

Bliss.

Pit Stops on my morning walk


I usually head out for my long, morning walk, after the kids have left for school.

I take a long walking route, about 6 to 7 kms. The sun is usually quite hot by then, and the sky a nice cornflower blue.

As I walk my first kilometer, the chaotic sounds of ‘morning madness’ at home, before everyone’s on their way,  slowly evaporate from my head.

The sounds are slowly replaced by the twittering of lots of birds – mynas, orioles, sparrows and pigeons.They flit about from bush to bush.

On my walk, there is a stretch of about 1 km, which is along a long canal that winds its way across town.  Here, there are lovely bushes and shrubs of small flowers.

I don’t know their names but enjoy stopping and looking at them. Small orange-red flowers, milky white ones, baby pink ones, bright orange ones. Such pretty and small flowers. The bees are busy collecting honey, and I usually stop to take pictures of these beauties.

I am truly amazed at their beauty, gently swaying in the breeze, sharing their beauty for all to see, expecting nothing in return!

These are my pit stops, where I recharge my batteries. My walkometer on the phone shows that on this stretch my pace is very slow. But the walkometer doesn’t know that on this stretch, I regain my energies and enthusiasm to meet my

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day.

The flowers make me smile and give me hope. They make me believe that all is well with world.  Sharing some pictures of these beauties. Hope you enjoy them.

So what’s your pit stop? What makes you recharge? Would love to know.

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Walk Woof Woof


I am working out on the treadmill. The gym trainer is instructing somebody on breathing techniques to adopt during cardio sessions.

I almost laugh out aloud as I remember a funny incident that happened about five years ago.

My two friends and I were filled with a sense of purpose that New Year. We decided to focus on getting fit by taking a brisk walk at 5 a.m., on all weekdays, in a sports stadium close to where we lived.

I am not a brisk walker, strolling is more my style, but peer pressure had me showing up and walking with resolve.

I was also taking aerobics classes at that time, and my trainer had taught us to keep breathing out in short puffy bursts during any cardio activity.

About a couple of days into our 5 am walk program, I decided to put this breathing technique into practice.

My friends had gone on ahead, as I struggled to choose the right song on my iPod to help me keep up a brisk pace.

That done, I started walking- walk -huffpuff, walk huffpuff…breathing out as instructed. I quite liked this…. I hastened my pace to catch up, but my friends seemed to walk even faster.

I broke into a jog…jog huffpuff, jog huffpuff. For some reason, my friends had also broken into a jog.

Finally, I stopped and called out. They turned, saw me and stopped. I huffpuffed as I jogged towards them and asked them why they were walking so fast.

They doubled up with laughter. One of them said, “I thought it was a dog behind us, and as I have been bitten by a dog once, we didn’t want to take any chances.”

They broke into peals of laughter. I joined in, as I imagined the scene. Two women walking in the stadium, darkness all around except for the stadium lights and an imaginary huffpuffing dog chasing them….!

These last five years I have polished my breathing technique. No one has mistaken me for a dog since then.