I went for a walk today.
Don’t ask me why, I hadn’t done it in the entire year of living in this neighborhood. But today being a Sunday, and me being spectacularly unfit, and there being nothing on TV, and nothing amusing on the net, and the protagonist in the novel I’m reading having just finished her third suicide attempt (all of them unnecessarily complicated and painful…she should’ve just thrown herself off the roof and left the municipal authorities to clean things up, what did she care?) I was getting a little bit stir crazy. To stop myself from getting into a fistfight with those people who consider bell ringing a fascinating hobby (ooooh! What does THIS pretty button do…?), I decided to take my sneakers out of retirement and hit the road.
Blue, blue Bangalore sky; cooling breeze; new secret paths to discover on a Sunday afternoon. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? In this new spirit of adventure, I struck off on a kuccha road I’d never been through before. Two minutes into my walk a couple of two-feet high children attached themselves to me and proceeded to imitate my walk behind my back. They tired of that soon enough and ran ahead of me screaming ‘akka, akka’. (Note to myself: Does ‘akka’ mean ‘Beautiful stranger’ or ‘Grandma’: look it up.) They were very sweet and I would’ve squeezed their cheeks but for all the snot.
But soon the way they dogged my steps in the empty streets seemed most sinister and I wondered if these miniature thugs concealed any weapons on their pint-sized persons. I accelerated--just a brisk trot, I don’t run away from three year olds-- and decided to stick to the more familiar roads.
Past a pack of belligerent looking dogs lying in the dust of a side alley and I was on the big highway I knew. Much better. I strode purposefully on for a few minutes straight into a thicket of men standing around, scratching their crotches.
“Poor woman” I could hear them think, “she obviously has nothing better to do and no man to be with, look at her wandering around on a Sunday afternoon. Ah well, nothing a quick squeeze to the tushy can’t fix! Let’s see if this Kannada song doesn’t cheer her right up!”
I headed on towards my goal (the bus stop) after doing some nifty footwork to avoid my newfound admirers. Once there, I turned around and headed back for home. “Aah there she is! I KNEW she liked this song!”
By the time I got home the toes on my right foot had curled into a tight ball to stop the chafing against my shoes. (Note to myself: Can one’s right foot grow after its 28th birthday: google it.)
But I was feeling great. My mind was clear, the cabin fever was gone, my blood was circulating, and it was GRRRREAT to be home.