Who could have imagined that the humble morning walk would acquire global notoriety as an essential mantra in our times? Even as late as the middle of the previous century, ‘morning walk’ did not figure in any doctor’s lexicon. Who would have ever thought that the aim of maintaining good health would be served by walking aimlessly as a discipline. Our forefathers used walking purely as a means of necessity — for going from place to place. Any time was walking time for them, since hiring a bullock cart was not a viable proposition for short distances. Walking being an unavoidable exertion, it didn’t have to be thrust down people’s throats (or legs). Commuting by a cycle was even more effective for exercising the body and exorcising excess fat.
Sadly, rapid advances in technology have imperilled our health by divorcing modern lifestyle from rudimentary physical activity. The simple way, according to the medical fraternity, to get back to this is the ‘morning walk’. It’s a ready remedy for most bodily ills. As a result, not only has today’s populace turned into walking freaks, but it has also spooned a huge market for walking needs like the treadmill, with which one can go for a ‘morning walk’ even at dead of night.
While some people have been converted into avid morning walkers, there are those who try to trump up any excuse to escape exposure to invigorating dewdrops at daybreak. My wife belongs to the latter category. Though she complains of numerous ailments, she flouts her doctor’s counsel to walk to keep fit. Every time something like her blood pressure or thyroid acts up, every time the doctor advises her to resume morning walks, and every time she defaults after posting a few days of ‘false dawn’ in the park.
Nevertheless, I get a feel good sensation from knowing that she holds me in awe my rigorous walking regimen. However, that last vestige was punctured recently. We were waiting for the lift when the tenants of the flat above us came down and we started conversing. “You must be enjoying your morning walk,” I remarked on seeing the man in his shorts. My subtle aim was to take a dig at my wife as well. “Oh, no,” he promptly retorted, “morning walk is a job I don’t much care for. Something forced on you becomes a chore devoid of any pleasure. Frankly, I don’t like being dragged out of my bed. How can walking be good for my health unless it’s pleasant? Morning walk should not be laboured; it has to be a labour of love!”
My face lost whatever colour it had gained from months of assiduous walking. While beating a hasty retreat with a smirking wife in tow, I realised that my love’s labour had been lost.