The dangers of morning walks
Morning walks in parks are not safe anymore. Gone are the days when you could stroll around at your own pace in the early hours, clad in striped...
Morning walks in parks are not safe anymore. Gone are the days when you could stroll around at your own pace in the early hours, clad in striped pajamas, taking in some fresh air, greeting the early birds and enjoying the world’s pristine beauty. Now, let me warn you, things have changed drastically and parks are filled with all kinds of dangers to life and limb.
After a long hiatus, I decided in favour of a morning walk at our neighborhood park. I smiled indulgently at the trees and flowers when a screech of tires and some well-chosen expletives brought me back from my fantasy. I was almost run over by a speeding bike that was rushing in to get some prime parking space. What was I doing sauntering about mindlessly? I could see hundreds of cars and bikes parked haphazardly. What was going on? A rally?
Having survived a close shave with death I decided to be more watchful. But within a couple of minutes I was mobbed by some young men holding stethoscopes and BP apparatus. They were marketing a nearby hospital and wanted my blood samples, readings etc. By the time I extricated myself from the mob my BP was up, my blood gone and I hoped desperately that all my vital organs were intact.
At the ticket counter I noticed elaborate instructions that took me all of 10 minutes to read and understand. No camera, no gun, no walking on grass, no cricket, no games, no laughing, no fast walking, no crying, no political discussions, no movie discussions, no love stories etc. Suitable punishments were prescribed. I wondered if I should simply go back home and stay out of jail. But since I had come this far I bought my ticket and went in, praying softly.
The park was teeming with thousands of people clad in tracks, shorts, yoga pants and T-shirts two sizes small. It was like a fashion show at a railway station. I slid into the fast moving train of people and walked along as fast as I could. Young, old, thin, fat, all sorts walked furiously with their ear phones, smart phones, radios plugged in. What happened to the good old days when morning walks were a leisurely and pleasurable activity?
I decided to sit on a bench to reflect. I was instantly accosted by a tough gentleman who glared at me. He sat close to me while the rest of the bench was empty and scowled at me with keen, hostile eyes. I wondered if he mistook me for someone who had committed some grave crime against his family. But then I understood the reason for his anger when he called his friend and complained that I had occupied his favorite seat in the park. I peeled myself off his property and stood on the grass.
A loud explosion next to me jangled my nerves. It was the local laughter club, bursting out with explosive laughter. I was at the end of my tether by now when the last straw business happened. I spotted some people doing some weird exercises. I quickly checked to see if there were any young and impressionable children about since the said exercises would fall under the description of improper, unnatural and obscene – the person in question embraced a tree trunk tightly and was trying to shake it or uproot it or do something violent to it. I couldn’t take it anymore.
Battered physically, spiritually and emotionally, I limped out of the park. Next time, I will wear proper protective gear like the others and return. This morning walk is serious life and death business. It’s a good thing those chaps from the hospital are around!