December 30, 2005 7:10 Mumbai time:
The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is open the curtain and observe The Morning Walk. My bedroom window looks out over the wall of the society, below are parked cars, being wiped down. Most are small- Maruti, Honda, Hyundai, and most, interestingly, silver. Over the wall is a park.
It consists of some dry grass and dirt patches where boys play football in the evenings, some large trees covered in the dust of India that covers everything except during the Monsoon, and new, tiny trees protected by metal cages. On my far left, near the entrance is a playground, painted yellow. The one time I entered the park, I saw a blanket there, tied under the slide like a hammock. Curious, I peered inside. A baby, wiggled about, and entertained itself. The baby's mother was sweeping the pathway, at the other end. I stopped, watching a moment. A feeling came over me, like I had walked into someone's house, intruding on their daily routine. I quietly slipped out the gate. The woman continued to sweep.
Around the periphery lies a pink pathway made out of pavers, with another path bisecting the rectangular/oval path. Padding along this small oval are the Morning Walkers. Old men with pot bellies under their shirts, thick glasses, capri pants, striped socks and sneakers are walking. Middle-aged women in sari and sweater, with sneakers are walking, some with sari-end pinned over their head. Women who remind me of my mom- dressed in a 'nice' shirt, capris, and sneakers. Young people, in jeans, shirt, with headphones attached to their Mp3 players.
Around, and around, and around, each one passing by my window ever couple of minutes. No one notices me, peering down. So every morning, I open my curtain, and laughter escapes, involuntarily. The joy of the Morning Walk.