It all began with my futile attempt at getting my driving license ratified for two wheelers. Futile because after three hours in a tout-infested government office, I realised I was up against forces that Hercules dare fight . Luckily, sooner than later, I found a contact in the department, and he promised me that if all goes well, I’ll surely have my right to the road in a couple of months. Much obliged that I was, I decided to explore another avenue to peace.

Walking. I have never cared much to ambulate along the crowded lanes of the city of mini-buses and hawkers! For starters, the footpath no longer belongs to the pedestrians. Secondly, walking is something I have always associated with a certain alpine hobby of mine. I was not ready to compromise on the experience.

So when I put on my sneakers one fine dawn, I realised it was not my doings, but certain powers beyond human realms that was goading me on. Amen. Day one was much like the first date: uncomfortable, tiring and seemingly boring. Day two discovers new alleys, throws in a few nonagenarian for company, and the boredom being replaced by a certain stoic acceptance. The next few days progressively makes the birds sing, the leaves rustle and the morning dew soothe my wandering soul. After the first week I discovered my natural pace, learnt to keep my Walkman at home, and not to read the morning newspaper on the way back.

Walking means recollection of memories that have been besmirched by the passage of time. Thoughts that otherwise get bogged down by apparently more important preoccupations of the day would surface like bubbles in a rivulet. Needless to say, the obvious temptation being the connection with nature: all that is green and fresh. You get a chance to meet her in all her unadulterated glory, if only as a mirage, nevertheless. Of course, the well-nourished can shed those extra pounds.

However the best walks are those that are inwards: the sojourn within. When you don’t run away, but walk on to find yourself, far from the maddening crowd!