Since the start of this month, K has joined Sage and me on our morning walks. We wake up, dress for a little warmth as it still is a little cold in Hyderabad in the mornings, and trot off. The thing about K coming along is that he has changed the rules. With sage and me, we walked for 30 to 45 mins each day, in a colony near by and spent a lot of time playing with stray dogs, he would run about, I would sit with a couple of them in my lap and we would have a nice time.
K has come now and changed the rules. For one, we walk longer, in terms of time and distance. So now we walk just over an hour, and about 3.5 kms.
Ofcourse we stop at the end of the walk for some overly sweet chai and onion samosas brought in fresh by a man on a moped!
This we repeat after dinner, but cut the distance by at least a kilometre due to the heavy traffic even in colony lanes at night time.
We talk on our walks. About life, work, us, sage, the houses and trees and balcony gardens. We talk about other things that we don't usually talk about. Like thinking of a holiday home. Or how we would spend our older days. What dreams we have been dreaming lately. What makes us sad, annoyed and even afraid. We hold hands, because the walk is a leisurely one and not about getting somewhere. And we are exploring lanes and bylanes in the 5 kilometre radius of our house that we never knew existed.
It is tough to see the myriad houses packed closely together in semi slum-ish areas when you drive past in a car. The ones that have seen a sudden spurt of growth, come up and are now housing dozens of single men and women working in the city. The ones that proclaim who lives in the rooms by the clothes that hang out to dry. It is amazing how for over 9 years that I have lived here, I have not once noticed just how many hostels there are around where I live!
The many little lanes, some come up with surprising little gems. Like a street I was barely cognizant of, turned out to be well laid, canopied with eucalyptus and other trees and was so quiet you could hear the birds chirp.
or the impossibly beautiful and seasonal flowers on really dusty trees
Or the gate that you never noticed, housing about 300 construction workers in makeshift tin shed tenements. The hustle and bustle at 6 AM as they get ready for the day. The women, with bright red vermilion drawn broadly between the parting of their hair, which is oiled and tied firmly back. I was pleasantly surprised to see many of the women dressed to the nines at 6.30 AM, including bright lipstick. No fear of "am i looking good in this?" I wish I had some of their confidence.
or bottles lined up on a wall of a booze shop that has not yet opened from the day, so small and cute that I picked them up to make vases out of them
The many many many dogs on the street. One can make out a family of dogs from their features. Some of them with long tall perky ears and blackened snouts. Some with a stubby nose but so handsome I want to take all of them home. Some with fluffy thick fur that I am itching to bathe and brush. Many of them use only three of their four legs because they are recovering from a fracture. The perils of living on the street and being hit by a vehicle or a ruthless human and a stone. Some of them recover well enough to walk on four, but run only on three. Some of them have permanently damaged the limb and make do with three. Feisty and spirited tho, also curious about the overindulged fat little golden retriever who is not intimidated by their barks. They come a few feet closer, and wag their tails suspiciously when a hand is put out to stroke them. They are unsure because most of them do not know human touch.
The days we miss our walks (both K and I have had a bout of the seasonal flu) all three of us seem listless and crave that alone time with each other.
I think this is the beginning of a very good thing. I love what it will do to us healthwise physically, mentally and spiritually.