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I walk fast, fast enough to call it a brisk walk, enough to remind me this is not just a stroll around the block but an exercise too. The main reason for this brisk walk is to lose weight, remain fit and healthy. But walking is not the only thing I do; I talk and discuss and have a very invigorating discussion to exercise my mind as well as my body.
It is early in the morning, not too early but just the right time when the dawn is promising a bright fresh day ahead, assuring me of the endless possibilities that each day brings for us. The time is perfect to reflect upon the countless things that will occupy me during the hectic day ahead but I don’t reflect; I don’t immerse my mind in the beauty of the nature or the freshness of the day. All this is just a part of the magical hour that I spend on this walk, the splendour of the day, the clean fresh images that are lost during the ugly rush of getting through our day, the hustle and bustle that swallow the serenity of the misty mornings and change these roads to death traps with mindless traffic all through the day.
He walks beside me – no, I walk beside him, following him, matching his pace, dodging the stones and debris the previous day has left behind. These things, the footpaths, speed breakers and other walkers enjoying their walk are all impediments in my path. They spoil my momentum, distract me from my pace and interrupt my conversation.
We go across a few blocks or to the nearest park as we desire, the time of the year decides our walking path. We sit in the park very rarely as it holds little interest for us, it is the movement that keeps us going. Sit we can any time and the morning is for getting the blood rushing, the mind tingling and the body awake, receptive to the challenges of the day.
Walk we must, nonstop and we like it that way; I get breathless because I don’t just walk but I have to share my mind, my thoughts and learn the secrets of the yet unknown world that I am soon venturing into.
I walk beside him, behind him and rarely, ahead of him but the chatter continues unabated. I always start the conversations, if you can call them that as he only supplements the dialogue with monosyllabic replies, unless it really requires a discussion. Even then, he encourages me to see all viewpoints by asking amazingly simple but leading questions. He is well aware of the turmoil my age brings; adult by age but child by mind. The flesh is ready but the brain is still trying to comprehend that one day makes all the difference between being the responsibility of someone and being responsible for oneself.
He is a man of few words, at least that’s what I have been told – ask only what is very important and talk only about the most significant issues. But I have so much to tell, ask, and discuss. I can barely hold myself.
I think sometimes he quickens the pace just to shut me up. Does the nonstop chatter bother him or spoil his pleasant mornings?
Does it distract him from his own planning for the day?
All these self doubts soon vanish as we continue our walks, occasionally even going for a late night walk.
He solved my problem of a career choice by highlighting the importance of one which I can continue without having to choose sides.
He made me aware of why educating and grooming the girls in a family is crucial long before it became the mantra of all feminists.
He made me realize how important emotions are and how to use them to guide our mind to be stronger. Yes, love is truly a very powerful emotion and not just in the youth!
The fast paced walks and the energetic discussions allayed all my fears of the big, bad world waiting to swallow me up, of colleagues who would undermine my abilities and achievements, of goals I thought were unachievable and of agendas I was never aware of.
The simple action of walking made the difficult task of expressing my inner self so easy and effortless. The unenthusiastic replies prodded my mind to discover the endless possibilities of the human spirit. The strict and authoritarian nature became a bridge with which I crossed the turbulent nature of the human mind.
We take a break from the fast pace of our morning sojourn and pick mushrooms growing in the wild but he knew the right ones to pick. Rarely we sat and enjoyed the activities of park regulars with fresh coconut water.
Do the walks still continue? Yes, occasionally when we meet but at a slower pace. The topics have changed to mundane newsworthy items or simple everyday stuff. We still enjoy the walks now we frequent the large park cum botanical garden next to his new residence and the roads are just a means to getting there.
A man of few words, yet he speaks volumes to me. The simple words are powerful enough to convey the strong, unconditional love and faith of a father in his daughter. Yes, fathers often speak less but they speak from the heart – cherish them and their words of wisdom.
Pic credit: Nisha (Used under a Creative Commons license)