Walking is my passion. I have been a keen walker always. This pays me a lot. This keeps me healthy and fit. It is not that I cannot drive or I do not want to drive. I do love these features of today’s life but why should I opt for them when God has sent me to this world as a healthy and satisfied man. Cars are for those who are looking for luxury. Some keep them as a status symbol. My status resides in my legs. I do not want people to see me sitting at one place and spending time.
On foot I can access those places which most people cannot. The world from those heights looks amazing. From a different angle and a different view, I admire the beauty of the creation of nature. This brings a soothing effect to my mind.
I am about to cross the fifth decade of my life and till now walking has kept me away from regular medicines. On foot I look around and find stories. An aura walks with me, surrounds me always and makes me lost in my thoughts. Sometime people see me walking on the road and lost in my thoughts, they call me and I do not listen to them.
I used to walk a lot even when I was in Delhi. Every evening, when I was jobless, I would walk to Fatehpuri that was a two kilometers distance way, to teach a young boy. He remained my good student for two years. Then I found a job with a travel company in South Delhi and stopped giving tuitions.
In the evening I would walk from my father’s railway quarter in Bari More Sarai, near Old Delhi Railway station, to Rajghat. I had no friends there so I would sit there for some time, miss the hills, curse myself for being in Delhi and then walk back. Sometimes I would walk past Shantivan, towards the fields and find peace, imagining that I was in the hills. When I worked in the Travel Agency, every evening after leaving my office, I would walk to Safdarjung Airport, two kilometers away, to catch bus to ChandniChowk.
‘Why don’t you take the bus from outside the office? Every bus halts here’, advised my colleagues many a time.
I always remained mute at this. They could not understand the concept of taking a bus from such a faraway place. One day they insisted on this and I said, ‘Every evening I have to get my legs repaired’. One day the bus stopped at India Gate due to some mechanical fault and I walked to Chandni Chowk. The other fellow passengers waited for the next bus but I was helpless as my legs wanted to move, so I moved.
And now I’m back to my beloved town, and hills where I can walk to those places too where the cars cannot reach. I can walk through the forests, on the trails, up to the snow peaks, down to a stream, to the library, to the bazaar and of course to the toilet and back to my study table.
One day I walked to the university to meet Him Chaterjee, the famous artist. When I reached his office he was not there. His subordinate informed me that Mr. Chaterjee had gone to the Gaiety Theatre to inaugurate some painting exhibition. He was invited there as a chief guest. Later he met me at the Mall road and said that he saw me walking towards the university in the morning. He had stopped his car and had waved at me. I did not look at him so he shouted my name. But I was busy looking at a monkey and noticing his activities to me be mentioned in my another story. Him was getting late to his inauguration function so he moved on.
Another day I walked to the Railway Station to meet Sanjay Gera, the Station Master. Sanjay had called me to join him in a meeting that was to welcome and interact with the Railway Divisional Manager. Some suggestions were required to improve the facilities for the tourists traveling by the Toy Train to Shimla. As a writer and as a tourism professional it was a good chance for me to him. When I reached Sanjay asked me to wait for some time. I agreed and to pass time I moved around to look for the old steam engine to click its photos. Then I moved to the lower side of the railway station to look for the railway quarter allotted to my father in sixties and seventies when he was the Train Examiner of Shimla railway station. I moved on and then walked down to Nabha Estate where I, as a child, used to go to play with my friends. I spent good four hours moving around there, looking at the old buildings and reminding those good old days of my childhood and forgot about the meeting with the Divisional Manager. After that the station master never called me again to attend his meetings.
My mother tells me that I had started walking late in my life. I was nearly three years when I put my first step. But then I never stopped. This applies to my lifestyle. I take long time to make any decision to do some work but when I have made up my mind then no one can stop me from achieving my goals. It may take long time to reach my targets but I do not stop until I have reached.