Confessions of a serial walker

Lets start this post on a tangent. Namely, the husband. View the man from any angle and one word comes to mind. Beefy. Yup. The sort with a neck like a treetrunk, and shoulders so broad that they were meant to carry kids on them, and hands like hammers. It also helps that in bare feet (given my obsession with stilletoes and such devious instruments of torture and feminine subjugation) I barely reach his shoulders and need to stand on them toes to peck the man on his cheek or lips. And he needs to bend to reach me. I liked that. I donot like having a pocket Hercules on my arm, and despite his to die for smile, Tom Cruise never would have worked for me given his penchant for his women to be at least a foot taller than he is.

Now to come back to beefy husband, he has always been a sportsperson. National level water polo player and swimmer. Played in the 1982 Asiads. Used to discipline and regime and fitness is part of his daily routine. He takes on gym memberships and spends his time trying to out compete the instructors. He will push himself to the point of exhaustion, and in the good old days when I was zoned out enough to want togetherness during workouts as well, push me to deathpoint too. Yup, am not complaining. The indent of the waist back then was a hairpin bend. Today it is undulating landscape. But thats not the point. The point is that the man thrives on high energy workouts, and looks forward to visiting the gym with a salivation I think is unseemly in a man, except when confronted with Pamela Anderson and her ilk with minimum coverage.

I on the other hand, am a gentle soul. The husband has a better word for it. Lazy. Easy going. Lacksdaisical. I would dread getting into the gym at the crack of dawn and be confronted by rows on rows of perfect glamazons, lipstick, eyeliner and contact lenses in place, each around ten feet tall, and one foot wide, dressed in the latest latest in gym wear, with spandex control. Wasted on them of course, they had nothing to control. I would slink to a corner treadmill and walk the hour away while the husband rushed from one circuit to another, did his cardio, his weights, his upper body, lower body, and then finally came smirking, where I languorously shambled along watching the news on the television above.

Then he set an instructor on me, who’s sole task was to whip me through the entire routine everyday. Me, being me, I tried every wile I knew in the book from batting them non existent lashes to pleading sick and bad mood, and implied PMS to beg off doing the entire routine to no avail. Then, of course, ,me, being me, I sobbed in the changing room and stopped going to the gym. Yup, yup, I’m the loser. I know. But I am so not a gym person.

The husband of course, snorted in disgust and let me be, to periodically bob up from seeming disconcern to pass barbed comment about how some people just let themselves go to flab. Me, being me, would let such remarks pass like they should, like so much wind in the cranium space between them ears.

And I got back to walking. I am a walking person. It clears my head out. I walk, and walk and walk and walk, and can walk for hours without feeling the strain in the body or any muscle ripping itself up in protest. I love to feel the tingling in my legs after a delicious hour or so of gentle walking. I love the breeze in my face, and the sky open to me, rather than sniffing recycled sweat in the confines of gym space, and bearing cretins flexing their muscles admiring in front of the mirror, and making obscene grunting sounds as they lift weights less than my five year old.

Walking is my kind of exercise. It allows me to decide my speed. Quick or slow. It gives me me time, sometime I sorely miss in the course of the entire day, given that the child is hanging off my collar for most of the day and the husband is in my hair for the rest. And yes, we live in what is optimistically termed in popular parlance as Hindu Undivided Family, where everyone has the licence to get in my hair for the entire day.

Not that there is much of that hair left intact anyway. But, digressions apart, walking can be quite a spiritual experience I believe. After a point, your body stops commanding your limbs to move, and you feel you cant walk another step, and then you push yourself to take that next step when you think none existed and realise you have broken some mind body threshold, and now have vast unlimited reserves of energy and your legs are moving at their own rhythm of their own accord and your mind is now freefloating somewhere where only illegal stuff packed in leaves could take you after a few puffs.

I would walk for hours before I had the child, walk endless rounds of the huge gymkhana we lived near, pacing myself by the ants in the pathway, by the clouds in the sky above. And somehow, with life taking over, walking had taken a backseat with my daily routine. I discovered walking again recently, when my second round of being a gym rat flopped miserably with the husband threatening death and dismemberment should I not pare down the butt to levels that could get intoΒ a room without needing to siddle in sideways. The membership taken, the shoes bought, the clothes bought, the gym bag bought and two days enough to convince me that I would die claustrophobic in the changing room. Anxiety attacks are no good for losing weight. So I started walking again.

I walk every evening these day. For a couple of hours. While the kid is raising hell with the rest of his gang in the park. It is liberating in a way to walk without a destination in mind. I talk to my friends, puctuated by the occasional yell to the child to quit playing boxing boxing or to be a good boy and share and such playground essentials. I plan out my tomorrow. I mentally tick off my to do lists. I think on what I need to get done. I do a bit of movement meditation. I let go whatever negativity has happened during the day. I look at the setting sun and the rising moon and marvel at the universe and our place in it, and wonder about why I am here and what is my purpose in the scheme of things, apart from being the main contributor to the bottomlines of some brands. When I get back home I am serene. And energised. And refreshed. And ready to forgive the world anything.

I dont know if its doing any good to the waistline yet. But I do know its doing a lot of good to me. And in the long run, I guess, that matters the most.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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12 Responses to Confessions of a serial walker

  1. Devaki says:

    Hey Kiran, glad to know you are enjoying your ‘workouts’ these days!

    I love walking (and hate the gym) too. (Kept nodding my head as I read your post, especially the me-time, thinking, planning and de-stressing parts, but I don’t think I could have put it so well.)

    Been doing a half hour during lunch time and an hour in the evenings for the past one month now, and was VERY surprised to see good results within the month. πŸ™‚ I guess when we truly enjoy something, we stick to it and THAT brings the results! πŸ˜‰


  2. Anamika says:

    Nice post. I am the complete opposite when it comes to walking. I need a companion else I get so bored. Pretty jealous of people who can walk their weight off. Gym with a friend is more my thing. Seeing others work out motivates me. Going to the local YMCA instead of the more fancy option also helps because all the women wear loose T-shirts like me and some are even bigger in size… πŸ˜€


  3. dipali says:

    Soul sistah, Kiran!
    Walking, especially walking alone, is the ultimate zenful experience for me. Longing to get back to it!


  4. Bravo re: the last line!

    I’m becoming a lazy lump. Used to love walking, these days all I want to do alone is sit in front of the pc on a blank page and just… read and write.

    Enjoy the walks, Lady K πŸ™‚


  5. suma says:

    walking is something i enjoy too…i’m quite lucky to have moved to singapore where walking is a pleasure…

    and i love what you said in teh last line…

    enjoy yourself!!! have a great walk


  6. Priyanka says:

    Oh do I envy you! You brought back memories when I used to walk for the fun of it. Now I don’t walk at all – fun or no fun. I have become so lazy that if I decide that I will take up walking, the next question would be, how do I get to the park without having to brave walking through the pot-holes and slush. πŸ™‚
    Keep it up, Kiran. And yes, as long as you love it, that is all that matters.


  7. Kiran Manral says:

    Devaki: Dont know about the results, but I did restart the walks because my BP had shot up to something obscene as a result of some stress. I didnt want to go in for medication, and figured walking would be a good way of calming self down. The weight can come off at its own time.

    Anamika: Different strokes for different folks. The gyms here where I live are filled with tv star model wannabes and that is self esteem harakiri if I go there.

    Dipali: Thats the word, zenful. Truly is zenful Unfortunately, people in my complex want to offer me their unwanted company all the time and keep coming up to join me thereby swelling up the number of walkers to three and four jabbering away…dont know how to deal with these pests and tell them am really not interested in what they cooked for breakfast and lunch and where they shopped.

    Suki: Thats what my take is on it. I feel good. Therefore will do it.

    Priyanka: I am sort of lucky. I now live in an area with wonderful wide roads, and no potholes. But my walking mainly happens in the park of my complex since brat supervision is essential.


  8. d says:

    Walking is really such a great stress buster – shows in the way it brings down the BP . I live in tropical island weather where it rains constantly and wet weather provides a ready excuse to not go walking. So invested in a tread mill just to keep up with the walks (no excuses!)Nice post.


  9. oooh man!! gyms are just not my thing.. i hv a membership that i use ..scarcely!!!at least u r a “walking person”.. im not even that!!


  10. Altoid says:

    I was nodding my head as I read this as well….I am a walk type of person. Gyms are claustrophobic to me, but I keep my membership just cos I cant walk here in winter. Which is another reason why I hate winters. Long walks are really refreshing, rejuvenating and healing. I love getting through my work day just to be able to go home, change, pick up my ipod and head out. The beautiful 45 mile trail just in my backyard is incentive enough. I sight quite a few birds as well, but am never motivated to take my bulky camera with me on my walks. Some day, maybe I will.

    The thrill of updating my ipod with all the songs I love to hear during the week is just something I cant explain. I feel like a teenager plotting to do something conspiratory.

    Sorry for the long comment πŸ™‚ but I could totally relate to what you said, hence! Perhaps I need to post my own take on my obsession with walking…


  11. 30in2005 says:

    I’m just not motiavted enough to walk every day. Left to my own devices I would sit down on the nearest park bench and read instead of walk. So its certainly not teh key to my weightloss. Only the motivation of a very expensive gym membership, the straining of clothes on a cylindrical body, the guilt of yesterday’s browniewithicecream and the yearning for good health make me go to the gym consistently!


  12. Samantha says:

    I am in total agreement with you! I ADORE walking and that is how I get my exercise. I walked while preggers and it was so wonderful to be able to walk with the wind, my baby, and calm. That is how i get my exercise now! I walk with the wind, my baby girl, and calm. It’s a great way to clean the old noggin.

    Keep truckin’ and have faith that you will see the results!!!! As long as you are enjoying your walks and it is uplifting your spirits, you seem to be accomplishing more than just walking weight off!


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