Thursday, July 1, 2010


I had been raised in a very small town in eastern India. My mum worked as a teacher in the same school we studied. Hence my dad, had hired a rickshaw for all of us to be dropped to school. The company he worked had provided him a car and driver. The driver would take us around if we had to go to a restaurant, a movie theatre etc. My dad also had couple of guys under him who would do all household errands. On weekends my dad would ride us on his Yezdi motorbike. So we two sisters were thoroughly pampered in our childhood.

However, all these pampering changed in my twenty third year when I got married. I had an arranged marriage as is the norm in India and hence did not knew anything about the guy. I was in store for the biggest surprise of my life. He did not even learn how to drive a two-wheeler or car as walking is his passion. The sweltering heat, dust nothing could prevent him from his long walks. He just loved it. The place where we lived had a beautiful beach.

So one evening, he suggested that we visit the beach. I excitedly got ready and joined him. We had an auto stand few yards away from our house. I was very confidently walking towards towards the auto stand, when I observed my husband walking past it. Since I had just been married, I was too hesitant to ask for anything and joined him. The next thought that stuck me was that the beach might be very near. So I walked along. We were sweating as the place is very humid. But he was happily explaining with pride the lanes and by lanes. He had spent most part of his life there and just loved the place.

We walked and walked. I had started feeling that this walk would never ever end. I was seething with anger from within, displaying an artificial smile on my lips. I had never even walked a kilometre. After an hour of walking, I finally saw the waves. I was thrilled to bits. My husband mistook it for my love for the sea and the beautiful beach. But I was desperate to plonk myself somewhere. My legs were hurting, my clothes were drenched in sweat. I was thirsty. The cool drink he bought just vanished down my throat. We sat there for quite some time appreciating the beautiful sunset. Though the sweat had cooled off, my feet were still hurting.

My husband told that the beach is approximately four kilometres from our house. I wondered if I heard something wrong. Four kilometres. I had never even walked a kilometre. My legs had for the first time in my life had done their job walking a full four kilometres.

It was slowly getting darker. We lived with my in-laws. My mother-in-law loves cooking and I was dying to get back home. I was ravenous. I was desperate to hop into the nearest auto and rush home. But I had the most unpleasant surprise awaiting for me. He was walking past all empty autos. We were going back home 'walking'. I just could not digest my husband's walking enthusiasm. I felt he was crossing all limits. Still I tagged along dragging myself the return journey.

I was feeling too embarrassed to tell that I had never utilised my legs. He was merrily explaining the joys of walking, exploring surroundings. I did not want to dampen his enthusiasm and walked along. I was maintaining a calm composure, but I was completely exhausted. So we walked four kilometres back again and finally reached home. My clothes, my hair were stuck to me like a glue. The weather was so damp and sticky. My legs had developed cramps. I was so exhausted that the moment I entered my room and saw the bed, I just knocked off.

Next day morning, when I woke up, I was all sore. I was surprised that he wasn't even a bit tired. But this became our daily routine later. Since walking was his passion, we would always walk. If we had to pay bills, we walked, if we had to visit someone we walked. Slowly, my limbs got accustomed to walking. In fact over the years, I started looking forward to go for long walks. I started appreciating him more for developing this habit in me.

Eighteen years have passed by, since my first memorable beach walk and my legs have walked a long way since then.

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