roads i want to take

A dietitian advised a friend to walk 6 kms. a day. Most health experts advise a minimum of 7000 walking steps a day.

Walking 6 kms. would take about 2 hours. Teja says I could do it on the walker at the gym in 2 cycles of 45 minutes each. I don’t think that would be good for my knees.

The walk around the 4 towers in my apartment complex is 690 steps. Yes, I’ve counted. I need to do at least 10 rounds to fulfill my daily requirement. I’m bored out of my wits by the end of the 4th round, and can just about drag out the 5th.

The walk around the mud track in the nice garden across our complex is 300 steps. I ought to be doing 25 rounds but 10 just about does it for me.

There’s something very, very boring about going round and round in circles. I like to walk to somewhere, and could easily do 6 kms. if I had a road handy.

I’ve done it for the few days I spent in Paris. The thing I remember and love best about my time there is the amount I could walk, and the sheer pleasure of it. While growing up in Poona, we cycled across the city or walked.

Walking to a friend’s house in the evening was fraught with the uncertainty of whether the person would be in or not. Very few of us had phones at home, and thought nothing of dropping in to meet a friend, unannounced. If the person was not at home, one could go looking for him or her, or walk back, lost in one’s own thoughts.

If one did find one’s friend, we’d set off for a walk in the quiet lanes around the locality, talking, talking, talking. How many steps have I logged up on Cahun Road, Race Course Road, East Street, Main Street, Salisbury Park, Poona University, Kirkee, Chatursinghi, Model Colony. Most of the roads were quiet and cool with the shade of trees and one wasn’t jumping around trying to escape vehicles, or trembling at the sound of the horns.

What I missed most when I shifted to Bombay was the fact that I couldn’t walk anywhere much. I still walk around South Mumbai a lot. From Churchgate to VT, VT to Crawford Market or Fountain, to Colaba, Nariman Point, Marine Drive. All of it seems do-able, as there are footpaths, zebra crossings, and the big maidans to cross.

If one is shooting in Dharavi, one has to walk, from Mahim bridge to Mahim station, to 90 ft. road to 60 ft. road, to Kumbharwada, to Koliwada, to the Dharavi market, towards Sion station or Tulsi Pipe Road. I love it, even as I drop with exhaustion.

In Bumm-Bumm-Bhole-Land, more and more of the roads have been taken over by pandals, hawkers, double parked cars. The footpaths have been completely co-opted by the shopkeepers with their extensions. The bits of road that remain are riddled with potholes and dog poo, so that one needs to walk at all times with one’s neck down, dodging traffic at the same time.

Now I leave the house for work appointments in my walking shoes. Anyway, I have to walk for 20 minutes or so, before I can get a rickshaw. But I have now decided that if I leave half an hour earlier than I need to, I can get off on a road that I think is walkable.

I tried it yesterday. I got down at the 7 Bungalows turn, and walked down Fisheries University road. Along the University, there is a clean footpath but it disappears into the usual trash and parked vehicles soon after. But the road is shaded almost all the way through with trees on both sides. The houses are mainly bungalows or shacks. Actor types hang around outside a cosmetic surgery place. A physical fitness center, where same to same. There is a school and some small stalls, selling tea and general provisions, a bicycle repair stall. Few vehicles pass by, especially as it’s 3 in the afternoon.

Unfortunately, I arrived at the end of the lane in only 9 minutes. I was a little hotter and sweatier when I reached the meeting place, than I would have been otherwise, but nothing that a few minutes under a fan, and a glass of water could not cure.

I’m going to look for more roads to walk on.


  1. Somehow, I don’t find walking round and round boring. That is, it’s not ideal, but if that was the only option, I’d do it. Also, I’d rather walk round an apt complex and get a good workout than on crappy pavements and sprain an ankle. (Not that I’m doing any of the above. Soon I’ll be like one of those creatures in Wall-E. Plus, never visit doctors. They only tell you things like Walk! Eat Healthy! Take more Blood Tests!)

    • 🙂 No, if there’s no option, then walking around is better. Specially if you can get someone to talk to while you do it. Teja is around sometimes, but not some. And then, it gets particularly boring. I’m afraid I don’t have any walking friends amongst my neighbors.

      I avoid doctors too. I’d rather pine away on a sick-bed than get a blood test.

  2. I am doing so much of waling on trwadmill nowadays that i do find it much more boring that the usual walking. But alas i think i have time for the treadmill but not for the leisurely garden walk….so should i say the gardens are no more…sad urban concrete jungles!!!

    • Sharmi, the best kind of walking is one that happens as a matter of course, no? For which the urban jungles are definitely not right, at least in Indian cities with the bad roads, the crowds, the stalls, the traffic and all of it.😦

  3. I’m with you on this one for sure…cannot stand treadmills or walking aimlessly in circles. Come visit me and we can walk for hours! It frustrates me a lot in Bombay, not to be able to walk.

    • I’d love that, Memsaab. Can’t think of a better way to ‘know’ a place than by walking around it, and if there’s a friend in tow, toh kya baat hai!

  4. I miss that in India too and one of the things I like about here. In my hometown as a child, we too could walk to places, the famous-famous samosa shop, whcih Sahir L was addicted too, the stationers for our school needs, and as a teen, to the various colleges and sportsground.
    It has now become next to impossible, for the same reasons as yours. There used to be pavements, with lawn grass on them, no-one seems to have seen any in the last 20years. Progress & development.
    In London i learnt that the fastest way to get yhe uni was walk. Really anywhere was walkable, and I did it. Then walked along old canal paths and one of the great walks divided into 12 mile+- slots sunday.
    Here in the Basque country, watch out. Someone says, lets go for a Sunday walk before lunch: usually means, lets hike up to the top of this or that mountain- just for a bit of appetite- and one is ashamed at how 60-70 year olds overtake full-speed you while busily gossiping.
    An elderly relative of mine in the uk, who is very conscious about health and takes long walks is apt to complain: “Indians, esp ladies, once they reach a certain age, do only 2 things in the uk- pray or watch soap operas”. With all that lovely countryside and well-posted footpaths everywhere, that is a crime.

    • If I had a lovely countryside, or even a peaceful town, and clean footpaths, I’d walk everywhere. My friend in Paris often says that to me too, he says Indians are so reluctant to walk anywhere. He was surprised that I was willing to walk all day, every day.

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