Getting up early in the morning is a Herculean task for most people. But thanks to my teaching job and my husband’s strict morning walk routine, I have had to get up at 5 in the morning for years, irrespective of weather conditions and also whether I liked it or not.
Life was so busy, managing the house and the job, that there was no time for any extra activity. Being an army officer’s wife made things a little more difficult because most of the time we were entertaining some guests or were being entertained as guests at somebody’s place, sometimes by choice and sometimes, by compulsion. Though I was realizing that my once slender, slim and trim body was slowly progressing towards becoming a barrel, I really thought I didn’t have ‘that extra time’ for a brisk walk or any other type of exercise. But then, I remembered a lady telling me jinko karna hota hai wo time nikal lete hai aur bahanebaaz bahane banate rehjate hai. How true she was!
So, this year when I thought of quitting my job I decided to make the most of it since I would have a lot of free time. Everyday, sitting in the school bus I used to see people walking, jogging and exercising in several parks that we crossed by, on our way. I really envied them and thought that I would also go for morning walks when I quit my job. So when I did quit, I made a time table for myself as to how I would spend my day. [the teacher in me was refusing to quit] NO need to say Brisk Walk topped the list at 5.30 in the morning. After I made the time table I thought I’ll not go according to it immediately because enjoying the new found freedom [more sleeping time] was also very important. After all everybody yearns for a break and deserves it without a doubt. So, the first few days I would get up at 5 by habit and then go back to sleep for another hour or so. ‘Walk’ would never ever configure in my thoughts or dream at that happy time. Later in the day I would feel immensely guilty and promise myself not to repeat it the next day, tomorrow. But when tomorrow came history repeated itself.
Sitting on my bed I can see the so called ‘Rock Garden’ where hundreds of people come for morning walk, a place even I wanted to be, first thing in the morning. After my failed attempts to get up and go for an early morning walk, I would get up at 6.30 and sit on my bed and watch through the balcony mesh door [we live on the fifth floor next to the garden ]all the ‘blessed and active’ people and feel even more guilty. To add to my misery my dear husband and my daughter made fun of me sitting on the bed and watching people walking in the garden. “Do you benefit by watching them also?” was how they tried to irritate me.
This way more than a month passed and I was yet to set out for that ‘walk’. I was crushing under the ever increasing feeling of guilt. And watching that very disciplined husband of mine entering the room sweating profusely after his hour and half long walk while I would be curled up in my bed added to my already troubled state of mind. So with great determination and three alarms set to go at 5 in the morning, I was up and out at 5.30 braving the early morning chill. At that time there were not too many people but by 6 the crowd increased. As I started taking rounds like everybody else I felt so very proud of myself like I had just won a Noble prize. But within no time my enthusiasm started going down as my calf muscles started paining [may be because I was trying walk vary fast] and I just wanted to sit down somewhere. I somehow continued and dragged myself for another half an hour and went home. Though I felt good about my achievement I just couldn’t ignore the fact that my whole body was twitching with pain as though I was down with viral fever. My good husband consoled me saying it happens to everybody for the first few days and then one gets used to it . He also said if you don’t go tomorrow may be you will never do it. I wondered what kind of consolation was that? It sounded more like a threat [at that time].
Next morning, though I had difficulty in getting up I managed to push myself out of the bed and reached the garden on time. It was mainly owing to thoughts like ‘what will my husband and daughter say if I don’t go or what will my colony people, who had seen me yesterday, say? Won’t they laugh at me? [Are kya hua? Ek hi din me josh khatam hogaya?] Anyway, once I reached the park I felt rejuvenated and true to my husband’s words, my walk was not as painful as the previous day.
Now after six months of regular walking I can do the ‘walk talk’ for hours like most dog owners and people with new born babies do because there’s so much to tell. If I don’t go for walk one day I feel miserable because that early morning outing of one hour keeps me fresh throughout the day. Also there’s something that gives joy to me [or to the child in me?]. Taking rounds in the park becomes monotonous after a few rounds specially if you are doing it for an hour. So I’ve discovered my own way to beat this monotony. I make a person walking some distance ahead of me as my target and increase my speed to overtake that person. It makes the whole walking business so very exciting because nobody likes to be overtaken and as soon as that person comes to know that she is going to be overtaken, automatically and involuntarily their speed also increases. In the end whoever gets tired, lets it be. All my competition is with ladies only because it’s really difficult to match men in this aspect. But some men can be beaten in this and one can see that they just don’t like it. After a few minutes they make sure it doesn’t happen again. All this means some fun and some good exercise, that’s it. What’s life without motivation? All my park mates whom I’ve never spoken to, are people because of whom I enjoy my early morning walk. My daughter laughs at me and reminds me that my behavior doesn’t match with my age. But I’ve no problem in that because as somebody said every human being is a child at heart. I’m happy to let that child in me out every morning for an hour. It does me good and I’m sure, in the process it’s doing good to many others too 🙂