Given the burgeoning traffic in metros coupled with lack of space on pavements skirting almost all the roads these days, the number of people going for a round in parks swells day by day. The situation stems as well from the younger generation being given to jogging and doing yogas in parks to get relief from the stress and strain of long hours of work.
Of the folks walking in parks dotting residential areas, it is the senior citizens who outnumber the other classes. In most parks a sizeable number of able-bodied walkers, probably quadragenarians and quinquagenarians, walk briskly with their arms stretched forward, fanned out and closed together in a jiffy. Any hoary one walking beside or ahead of such a person has to duck his head or sidestep in a snap, failing which a smack from the fast walker might land on his snoot, washed of course with an unmeaning “sorry”. As one walks taking steady steps, some from behind overtake him too closely leaving him little space to keep up his speed; this compels the one before to pause or retard, a bit. More peevish than all this is the style of negotiating a corner in the walkway where the person following closely outsteps us and passes the curve, holding us up for a moment, caring not a rap for the disturbance we suffer as a result. I seldom give such insouciant interrupters a chance to cross me as I judge their pace when they walk past me and stir my stumps well before they turn around a corner and let them walk afar on the farther side.
Adding to this chafe is the annoyance caused by some, stretching their hands forward and clapping aloud, deafening all others around and drowning out every other noise in the park; over and above this is the disturbance caused by a handful in their middle age following us with their arms raised chest-high and folded inwards, fists touching their chest. They seldom finish their exercise without elbowing at least one or two fellow walkers.
A few elders perched every now and again on the solid benches beside the walkway, yodelling some tunes of Carnatic music particularly in the crepuscular hours is not by a long chalk any disturbance to others but youngsters walking in parks with their mobiles blaring jarring music.
In the trees, rooks or crows occasionally peck our noddle probably for fear of any harm from us to their chick that might have dropped from the nest and be lying somewhere on the ground. This attack, considered a bad omen, would entail us to bathe after we return home.
Boards fixed in parks displaying dos and don’ts to visitors should also incorporate a caution to walkers to forbear from hurting or perturbing their fellow walkers.