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A jog through the park

My mobile alarm goes off with a rooster call sharp at 7 a.m. Yes, its loud and raucous, and my sleepy self rebels against being woken up so rudely, even though it is a self-imposed punishment. But my determination to lose some flab wins. I wake up tottering and wear my track pants, T-shirt, and my brand new running shoes on which I spent a bomb, out of my sheer enthusiasm to get fit.

I run out with a spring in my step and reach the nearby park in a minute or two. There is a motley group of people. There are young girls who give me a complex with their slim bodies-- they don’t need to run, I think to myself. There are middle-aged women in track shoes and men who look like they are as serious about getting fit as they are about making it big in their careers.

One of my biggest motivations is to listen to some uplifting music as I jog along the pathway. So I fish out my headphones, place them firmly over my ears, turn on my ipod and proceed to jog. Heaven knows why in my over optimistic mind I didn’t expect obstacles along the way. Obstacles in the form of other runners, some who are alert and gracefully give way, and others who don’t care who is in front of them, they see an imaginary finish line and run like expert marathoners. Then there are brisk walkers, some with their heads bowed low, concentrating on some spot on their shoes, oblivious to their surroundings. I have to be careful as I dodge each of them.

I am tempted to hop over to the manicured lawn. But then I spot a sign board that screams a warning: ‘Do not use the lawn!’ So I continue jogging on the walking trail, taking in the natural surroundings -- the fresh morning air, laughter of children, and the sight of happy dogs being taken for a walk -- all uplift my spirit. I jog for about 15 minutes and observe that despite the music, my stamina is far from satisfactory. I huff and pant after a while decide to take a break by sitting on a bench. After a while, I observe that the children’s play area is the most inviting part of the park. The colourful see-saws, jungle jims and swings are extremely attractive. The child in me takes over, and I hop over and promptly seat myself on the swing. Immediately, a park attendant strides towards me and rebukes me with: “Not for adults. For children only!” I walk away embarrassed, offering apologies under my breath. I jog some more and then I get a brain wave. After all I woke up early and took the trouble to exercise. Never mind if it is good for me in the long run. At least I tried. So I deserve a treat. My mouth waters at the thought of eating some hot vadas and cups of coffee at the nearby Darshini. I brought some money with me, just in case... Clever! So I ease my conscience and go over to grab a quick bite. As I do, I notice that the super enthusiastic runner into whom I was about to collide, looks blissful as he too dips in pieces of vada into chutney and gulps it down. So much for being fit. Effort and gain go hand-in-hand.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 9:32:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/A-jog-through-the-park/article14640034.ece

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