The new-age woman

I have finally become a super woman. It happened in the early hours of one balmy Bangalore morning. The fair weather brought a spring in my steps as I stepped out for my regular constitutional without an inkling of what was to follow. God was in his heaven and everything seemed just right with the world. Nature was doing the right stuff, moon was still shining, the stars were at it too when I fell. It was no ordinary fall, lest you think what’s the big deal about falling in the city’s potholed roads. All in a day’s work you might say.

But the catch here is, I hit a downward spiral which seemed to go on till whatever was left of my nerves decided to put a stop to it. Years of morning jog must have steeled the nerves. I stumbled caught myself from rolling over and looked right into the perplexed face of a masticating cow. It’s a permanent member of a neighbouring park! Things promised to become more interesting for spectators watching me from the sidelines — 12 dogs, one cow, four ragpickers. Corporation workers did a splendid job of road repair. But they cannot make it walk worthy in a day. Mother Earth’s gaping wound showed and how! It was no perfect start to a very determined soul out to prove certain home truths about healthy living and lofty thinking.

With one foot neatly stuck between two neatly laid out concrete slabs as if to fit a jigsaw puzzle and the other dangling precariously over a bottomless pit, I set off on my new mission to a rather shaky start. Sore in the feet, weak in the knees, wobbly feet and teary-eyed I just about managed to tilt my chin up, about 65 degrees north-north east. After a few uncertain steps, I nearly recovered. You can say my steps looked jaunty from far on a dimly lit road. I should have seen it coming.

There is a tide in the affairs of men which if not countered can only lead to further chaos, never mind what Shakespeare said. He would nod in vigorous agreement. In the dimly lit road, there came a point sans any sign of civilisation. It was as dark as dark could be and the early morning calm was rudely interrupted by a loud yelp. A pitiful whine and angry barking later, I felt a sharp nip on my ankle. That was retaliation of the canine variety. I walked all over a sleeping dog and it reacted in the only way dogs are known to react! Pure self defence, ‘twas not even a territorial thing. It only refused to forego its right for a quiet snooze. And here a pest of a two-legged creature broke into its somnolent peace.

But the sharp stab of pain coursing through my ankle bone was cold comfort that the dog got justice. The horrifying vision of a particularly long, sharp and menacing looking needle of anti-rabies injection did nothing to soothe my nerves. Now all that I wanted to do was hit the safe confines of my home and nurse my wounds — both physical and meta-physical!

I nearly got there when out came a neighbour, looking every bit the man with a mission — the fitness mantra etched in every stride and swing of his arms. Here was a suave educated man in a branded jogger’s suit who never missed his early morning constitutional.

Then it happened. He spewed out a jet of spit with an almighty force so as keep no one in any doubt about the power of his innards. The offering nearly landed on my bitten ankle as if to offer itself a soggy balm on the affected part.

The next few hours I spent in philosophical rumination on the merits of letting off steam in public places. While the civil society may ponder on the very unique Indian psyche of keeping homes scrupulously clean and treating public places as a vast garbage vat, the ‘chalta hai’ public domain — I am working on an image makeover. Watch out! The new-age woman cometh!

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