Foot and Feet

[044] ... [General]

There are many who like to take a walk no matter what the distance is, in comparison some can't do without their vehicles even for the shortest of places. It's probably a different matter in countries where the sidewalks are broad, the air is clean and not much traffic to bother about coming in the way of pedestrians making it a delight. In most other places it's different, trees on the sidewalks that bulge it out, parked vehicles, frequent dips in level where a house needs an entry from the road and so many hindrances that deters the purpose. Half the time you are forced to be on the edge of the road, carefully watching the vehicles, with extra caution at the junctions to cross over amid wreckless drivers who hardly give a damn to those on foot.

I am used to walking since school days, taking the long route effortlessly with my brother under the tree lined broad roads that never tired you out despite the heavy schoolbag on the back. The habit has continued. Sitting in front of the PC through the day calls for some loosening up in the evening, and the very first few strides freshen you up. Combining with a bit of shopping, an hour and a half or more passes away quickly. A bit of change in scene and passing crowd no doubt clears your mind if stuck with a problem, bringing fresh thoughts. Since two years a friend put up nearby is joining, but he finds the process of navigating through all the hassles cumbersome, but can't avoid and slowly catching up, preferring to take less crowded crossroads. He went abroad for a few months and was surprised how he could make three kilometers each way easily when doing half of it takes longer down here.

Some prefer to walk in public parks, but we get bored taking the same circuitous route methodically, more concerned about counting the number of rounds. No doubt the ambience is cleaner, walking on the roads is more our way, to observe, discover a new outlet which you had missed, bump into someone unexpectedly, wondering what stood on an empty site when the building suddenly got demolished to make way for new, taking new routes, trying coffee midway at different hotels and so on that adds to the charm.

Long ago when travelling by bus was common, people who walked were referred to as taking "Route No. 11" indicating the two legs. Sidewalks is perhaps an American expression, down here it's still footpaths for those on their feet. A friend has a favorite joke whenever we walk on a commercial street, pointing to a location where the footpath is exactly a foot wide, from whatever is left out after encroachment by the building next, conveying it literally. In a way the feet on a foot is more nearer to life...

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