“Are we there yet, how much more should we walk”. I guess the most used words by me as a kid, were those. I hated walking as a kid, it was a boring thing, which made no sense to me. Only good thing about walking, was the number of stores on the way, which exposed my mind to various cool and unwanted stuff, which I could demand from my parents. My dad still makes a comment that, with me walking along, taking an Auto would be far less expensive. [Oh, BTW it hasn’t changed much ;)]
Over the years “walk” as a means of transport has almost vanished. Not that people don’t walk, we wake up early in the morning to take a walk in the park, or stroll for hours in overcrowded malls, we even walk without getting anywhere on the super swanky treadmill. The idea of walking to a friend’s place, or to the nearby shop, may be still out there in few cases, however idea of walking distances to get to a place is almost forgotten.
I love the idea of walking to my destination, may be it’s what has got into me from my parents and close relations, who all love the idea of walking to the destination. Today at 70, my uncle prefers to walk to my house which is almost 3 km from her daughter’s place, My mom used to actually get off from her bus, couple of stops before ours, to be able to walk a bit everyday.
I remember one of our relative who used to arrange these long distance walking trips. We would start walking at like 4am and walk all day until noon to reach there, we would go as a group with many cousins, so we would not realize any sort of pain or boredom, In fact I remember walking faster than adults, so that we could play cricket enroute, when we have gone too far ahead, and elders were catching up. I miss those padayatra trips.
There are many advantages of city walking apart from the obvious one of being a healthy habit. Firstly each of us get that bit of much needed exercise which is gone with modern life. We also get to breathe fresh air, outside all the air-conditioned cages we live in. We get to look around, its surprising how much the neighborhood would have changed without our notice, new places would have come up, buildings would have been brought down, streets would have changed, with our horse track day to day life, walking can play a great hand in keeping us updated with OUR life.
If you have company for a walk, like your family, wife, or even a pal, there is no better way to have a conversation, than walking the talk. There is something about a walking, which adds a pace to the conversation, its unlike the still conversations over coffee.
If you do not have company, its even better, because it gives the much needed space to think. Some of the best ideas and solutions have come to me when I have taken walks alone.
I continue to walk from and to home in Bangalore. I usually don’t take an auto when I have time, at times walking upto 90 min to reach the destination. I have slowly grafted my wife into my habit. Recently on our trip to mysore, we walked to couple of attractions, like the two palaces. It was just 20 min walk from where we were staying, but it was nice to see some support from one person who would play a great role in me not losing my habit of walking.
There are many things which I have reluctantly picked up from my parents, and begun to love and enjoy them over the years, walking will be one such. I wish we can pass on these to our next generation.