A few days ago, when Pari’s school reopened to summer time schedule, I was left with no choice but to skip my morning walk. Though the school bus arrives at 8 am, getting my 5-year-old up, fed, bathed, dressed and more can surprisingly take more than 60 minutes. Often 90 minutes, as in our case.
Not going for the morning walk on the day school reopened, didn’t bother me much. The second day, though I felt a strong urge to go for a quick run if not the hour-long walk. But couldn’t. Another day passed with me contemplating if it really mattered if I didn’t go for the morning walk, if I somehow squeezed in the exercise at other times of the day, in another form.
That was when my mind and body had had enough. The following day, I got my answers in a way I had least expected. My morning was rushed like any other school morning but the day was crazy busy with unexpected guests, a dust storm to add to the cleaning and my mind all over the place because I had the pile of unfinished work.
On any other day, I might be agitated for a few minutes but would regain my calm with some positive thinking or deep breathing. This was not one of those days. I could feel negativity take control of my being. The impending, sinking feeling was making my neck and shoulders sore. I couldn’t help but feel, I was stuck in a rut. This was just the tip of the iceberg that poked me while kneading the dough in preparation to roll out 60+ rotis.
Tears disobediently rolled down my cheeks. My frayed nerves were dancing to their tunes. In a failing effort to regain my composure, I rushed to the washroom and splashed water on my face.
Later, my mom too tried to help me calm down with her ‘I know you can do it’ talk. As expected it only added fuel to fire. The rest of the day I was too busy to slow down my pace, but the time bomb ticking in my head refused to go on snooze. I spent a disturbed night, waking many times. Finally at 4:30 am, I got up, took out my gratitude journal hoping to make sense by reading what I had to say.
Strangely though, I couldn’t scribble more than ten words. Neither the morning chill nor the sleep deprivation could succeed in calming me down. At 5:10 I peeked out of the window. It’s was pitch dark, not a soul in sight, only an occasional bark rang in the background with the street lamps glowing at full voltage.
I wanted to go out, run as fast as I could, till I was breathless, till the pounding thoughts in my mind had no more oxygen to feed them. A quick time math told me, if I stepped out at this early hour, I should be back in time to wake Pari for school. But the dark scared me. Suddenly safety concerns replaced the depressive thoughts looming large in my mind for over 24 hours.
I also considered investing the cool, quiet, morning hours in getting my pending work done.
Finally, at 5:14, I got up, changed into my track suit, fastened my shoe laces and stepped out of the house. The bang of the main gate brought back the incapacitating fear in a flash. I could feel my steps get unsteady, I wanted to take the safest route, but wasn’t too sure if I felt safe anywhere outside my house.
Since I was already 200 meters away from home, I decided to keep going. As I tread along, I spotted a middle-aged man jogging. Never before had I felt so relieved to see another human being jog, albeit at a considerable distance from me. Destiny read my thoughts and chose to play another prank, just then the street lights went off. I kept moving at the same pace, though my mind was constantly telling me to turn and run homewards.
My train of thoughts was interrupted by a blaring horn of the state roadways bus that stopped 50 meters ahead of me and delivered a flock of hustling souls, who injected me with hope for I was no longer the only girl under the fading stars in the cerulean sky.
I’m confident; my heart rate was at an all-time high, not cause of exertion but fear. I glanced at my wrist watch. It was 5:35 am and I was almost halfway. Just when a speeding car raced by disturbing the still air.
Never before had I wished for dawn with such earnestness, I looked up at the lightening sky to be knocked by a familiar scent. I looked around desperately. Just when I spotted bunches of blooming, green, brush flowers.
Memories of my childhood days when I’d go for walks with my father and pet dogs in the dark summer mornings came flooding, with the reassuring warmth that I’d taken this route, all my life. I’d be okay. This consolation charged me enough to be back home in 40 minutes as compared to the usual 55 minutes I usually take.
The rest of the morning and the day went past like the local trains race on the same, dictated pace, every day. However, I was strangely calmer, poised, brimming with optimism and best of all, couldn’t feel any heaviness or pain in my neck and shoulders.
There has been no stopping me since. Winning over my fear of the dark, armed with the confidence that I can achieve what I set my heart to, I spring out of my bed every morning, hoping to meet my childhood self in the memories that the fragrance of the brush flowers replay as I tread along the path of my well-being.
I’m determined to never again question the importance of my morning walk routine or to dare to alter it on the pretext of allotting this time to any other seemingly important task.
The Song on my mind: Iktara ~ Wake Up Sid
Picture Credit: Flickr