A walker's diary

Each day brings interesting, intimidating and illuminating experiences.

As dusk falls and a cool wind blows, I step out of our gate for my evening walk. The world around me is literally racing against time. 

People are rushing, vehicles are speeding and I have to wait for over five minutes to cross the road. As I deftly weave my way through the vehicles waiting for the traffic signal to give them the go ahead, I notice an old beggar stretching a hand. The lady inside the car rolls up the window, turning a blind eye, not in the least inclined to offer a coin. The light turns green and the car zooms off. In today’s frenetic pace of life, it appears there’s no time for charity.

Dodging the traffic, I manage to steer clear of speeding vehicles and leap on to the pavement, bracing myself for a cool walk. A few paces down and two passengers are locked in a verbal duel with an auto driver. I hear something like daylight robbery and infer the driver is demanding extra money. This seems a daily battle where someone’s trying to make a quick buck.

A light drizzle begins. I quicken my pace. I can feel bigger drops coming down forcing me to take shelter at a bus stop. In front of me I see dust-laden workers running helter skelter, putting away their tools and winding up after a hard day’s slog. A lovely cottage is being torn down, ostensibly to give way to a high rise in a year or two. Another charming abode that stood in splendid isolation amidst apartment blocks is on the verge of extinction. What’s more? I notice even the stately trees in that compound have been felled creating some ugliness. Who cares about the environment? Big buildings mean big bucks, whatever happens.

I’m drawn back to reality by a loud cough. An old man who has probably made the bus shelter his home is scrimmaging through packets of what looks like leftovers picked up from somewhere. It’s his dinner time after which he is likely to curl up right there with a dog for company until dawn breaks to remind him that he has to fight another day against poverty.

The rain vanishes as unexpectedly as it came. I decide to cut short my walk and return home. It drizzles again and I begin to jog with youthful energy, getting splashes of water from passing vehicles. At the traffic intersection there’s chaos; the traffic signals are dysfunctional and clearly there’s no traffic cop on duty. There are no rules; motorists make their own rules and the rest follow blindly in their haste to get by.

A couple of us pedestrians are clinging for dear life as we watch the insane traffic, the honking and headlights flashing, the screams and grunts, the insults and insinuations. Finding a gap, I make a swift dash to the other side, heaving a sigh of relief. Another walk ends. Each day brings its own share of experiences; some interesting, some
intimidating and some illuminating.

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