Make that walked, and that’s why I am on this blog after an incredibly long time. So I walked today, from office to home, a long walk that took close to 50 minutes. Call it stubbornness, or even a false sense of bravado, but somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I’m glad I walked today.
I was in office an hour past the usual closing time, so I missed the regular driving pool. Not that no one in office offered to drop me home. Well, my boss was even willing to stop writing the edit mid-way to do the task (I must tell you, my colleagues are too good to be true!) but I felt I needed to walk. I hadn’t in a long, long time and well, despite the terrible fitness levels, I was stubborn to decline and walk out with a, “Thank you, but I need to clear my head today!”
There have been many times in life when I have gone on walks to get out of situations and control the seething anger I felt for the world in general. They made me calmer and think of other things… and made me more observant. On these walks, I sometimes learned to find happiness in the smallest things.
Today, there was no anger. Only a sort of resignation towards things that have happened in the past year. Slipping into depression, bad news from all quarters, illnesses… not quite what I had wanted to face. Also, the realisation that sometimes, the cleverly built facade can slip and what remained was a very vulnerable me.
I got out of the office lift with all these morbid thoughts straight into the chilly evening air. I was snug in a thick denim jacket and jeans. By the time I left CBD, I had messaged my boss on some press release I had forgotten to carry in the magazine. So I was literally ‘walking’ my work home. Was it only yesterday that my kid brother had reminded me, “It is your mind playing games.” I had to remind myself that I was walking to get away from it.
Sometimes, the mind does listen. At the first signal, where there was no pedestrian light, I waited for some fifty cars to pass before I crossed. I smiled at myself. I looked at the night sky. There was no moon or stars. Perhaps they were playing hide and seek with the clouds. I remembered my Omani colleague pointing out to the dark clouds in the morning and saying,”It’s going to be very cold, the clouds are big and dark!”
She was right and as I picked up pace, I could feel the wintry air penetrating my jacket and cooling my bones. The chilly wind made my eyes water. At the next signal, I made a dash, straight into a tree full of thorns. There was no anger, but just an ‘Ouch’. I reached Rex Road and walked on, oblivious to all the eateries – Kamat, the chaat corner at Dawat, Pizza Hut, Golden Oryx – I could have made a food-stop at any of these places. But my mind was on the walk; not even on the intimidating cars zipping past by on the busy road… and definitely not on the food.
As I crossed over into the Al Falaj area, I had crossed many signals without panicking and the familiar sights almost came gushing in, as pleasant as this unusual winter in Muscat. I walked past the BFF’s apartment chuckling to myself as to what she would think if I told her I was walking home from office. And then came the driving school, the bakery where warm bread was cackling in the tandoor and the barber shop teeming with people. I climbed up the small hill and then I was home! Yes, just like that!
There was no sense of fulfillment nor did I thump my fists into the air. More than the physical accomplishment of walking after a long time, I had managed to focus on the walking as well as on the ‘existential questions’ that I was so fond of asking myself.
Yes, sometimes you need to have your way by simply walking the talk.